If you travelled back to around the time the first trailers for Sonic The Hedgehog dropped onto the internet, and told someone that not only would the design be changed, but the film would go on to become a box office record breaker, you’d probably get a lot of laughs from the room. But with the film’s success is on the books, despite losing out on even greater success, now’s as good a time as any to dig into some behind the scenes facts about how this film became what it is today. So let's not waste any time, and jump into the things you might not have known about Sonic The Hedgehog.
Sonic The Hedgehog Took A Long Time To Get Into Theaters
When the film was originally announced in 2014, Sonic The Hedgehog was going to be a 2016 release through the auspices of Sony Pictures. However, we wouldn’t see the famous blue blur on the big screen until almost four years after his initial target date.
On top of the various delays and a change of studio to Paramount Pictures, Sonic The Hedgehog also found itself at the center of some piping hot backlash against the initial design of the character. Six years isn’t the longest wait people have had to endure for a film, but it’s still pretty long
The Redesigned Sonic The Hedgehog Was Closer To What Ben Schwartz Had Always Imagined
The subject of that infamous designing crisis wasn’t going to avoid mention in our behind the scenes roundup for Sonic The Hedgehog facts. However, it’s a more positive context that sees us discussing how, thanks to the internet outrage pertaining to that controversial design, the new result was something people could get behind.
Perhaps the biggest fan of the revamp to Sonic’s look was the man who gave him his voice, actor Ben Schwartz. In fact, as he discussed the particulars with our ReelBlend podcast, Schwartz told the hosts that the final design was basically the character he’d imagined while recording the voice over.
A Lot Of Talent From The Sonic The Hedgehog Games Worked On The Movie
From step one, Sonic The Hedgehog was being shepherded by some top tier talent that had given Sonic and his friends their looks for some time. Animation studio Marza Animation Planet, who have worked on several Sonic games since has worked on several Sonic games, and came in as the animation studio for Sonic The Hedgehog.
Funny enough, director Jeff Fowler mentioned on his director’s commentary that he had some background in the past eras of Sonic The Hedgehog game history as well. As a visual effects artist, Fowler actually worked on the cinematics for the game Shadow The Hedgehog, giving the director his first brush with Sonic style controversy, and a good line of communication with Sega throughout the film’s process.
Three Different MCU Stars Were Being Considered As Sonic The Hedgehog’s Tom
Casting processes for a film like Sonic The Hedgehog are almost always the best place for behind the scenes details. Nowhere is this more true than the run up to the finalized casting of James Marsden as Sheriff Tom Wachowski, a role that almost went to not one, but three different MCU vets.
In the late stages of casting, right before Marsden was announced as the winner, Ant-Man’s Paul Rudd was tipped as being considered for sheriff’s duty in Green Hills, Montana. But even earlier than that, there was concept art mocked up for not only Captain America’s Chris Evans, but also Guardians of the Galaxy’s Chris Pratt filling the role. That last possibility is rather funny, as Chris Pratt could have been the Star Lord as well as the Donut Lord.
Sonic Could Have Also Been Voiced By Some Marvel Studios Stars As Well
The powers that be must have really been into Paul Rudd, as the casting list for both Tom and Sonic had Rudd listed as a prospect on the short list. But in another surprising move, Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Tom Holland was actually tipped as the potential voice to Sonic The Hedgehog’s lead as well.
Other non-MCU actors that were being considered for the role were Adam Devine, Bill Hader, Josh Gad, and Jim Parsons; among others. But, as history shook out, Ben Schwartz won the role, which in and of itself was a moment that happened thanks to Schwartz being at the right place, at the right time.
A Meeting For Another Project With Tim Miller Landed Ben Schwartz The Sonic Lead
Another gem on the seriously impressive commentary track to Sonic The Hedgehog came from Ben Schwartz and Jeff Fowler remembering how the actor landed the role in the long run. It all happened thanks to a meeting with Deadpool and Terminator: Dark Fate director Tim Miller, who was meeting with the Parks and Recreation actor for another project.
During this meeting, Fowler was also present, and a Sonic The Hedgehog toy that just happened to be in the office got Ben Schwartz’s geek muscles flexing. Miller suggested that he speak with Jeff Fowler, as he felt he could be perfect for Sonic, and the rest was speedy history. With Schwartz on board for the film’s pitch reel, the project would be then be shopped around.
A Totally Different Villain Was Drawn Up, But Never Used, In Sonic The Hedgehog
Here’s another interesting piece of Sonic The Hedgehog history: from the looks of some further concept art that was unearthed, it seems like another antagonist was drawn up for potential use in the film.
Much as that Chris Evans art was dug up on Twitter, another intriguing piece of concept art unveiled a reptilian baddie found its way to that very same platform. More intriguing is the fact that, based on the designs present, it looks like this unnamed villain has a staff with a Chaos Emerald embedded in the head. Oh, what could have been.
Sonic The Hedgehog’s Opening Chase Has A Very Sneaky Reference To Sega History
Easter eggs are like life: if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you’ll miss them totally. Thankfully, the pause button and big Twitter watch parties with Sonic The Hedgehog talent help highlight some of the secrets that aren’t so clear in the blurred action a blockbuster such as this one provides.
During a recent watch party, director Jeff Fowler pointed out that, among the streets Sonic blazes past in the opening, the street sign for one Mega Drive is present. The name for the Sega Genesis console in international markets, it’s only another sign as to how deep in the paint the Sonic The Hedgehog team was about their fandom.
Longclaw, Sonic’s Caretaker, Is More Than Likely Dead
We have some bad news for those of who that thought young Sonic’s caretaker, the wise owl Longclaw, might be lingering on the idyllic home planet we saw at the beginning of Sonic The Hedgehog. There’s a very good chance that she succumbed to her injuries at the hands of some vicious Echidnas at the beginning of the film; and in the absence of a visible death, a deleted scene helps flesh out that point.
Alternatively, Longclaw actually made it to Earth alongside Baby Sonic, which would have changed the story about Sonic’s loneliness to a certain extent. Though, as seen in the alternate scene included with Sonic The Hedgehog’s home video release, Longclaw actually died of old age by time that decade passes between those events and the present day. So unless something different is said in Sonic The Hedgehog 2, there’s a good chance we’ve seen the last of this kindly guardian.
The MPA Had An Interesting, If Not Inconsistent Note For Sonic The Hedgehog’s Script
Here’s a fun fact: apparently, you can’t say ‘Badass’ in a PG movie. At least, that’s what the MPA decided on the matter, according to Sonic The Hedgehog co-writer Pat Casey. With Sonic naming himself and Sheriff Tom Wachowski “a couple of badasses” in a previous draft, this scene was altered at the behest of the infamous ratings board.
However, as pointed out in a subtweet to Casey’s watch party commentary, the PG rated film Paul Blart: Mall Cop totally used the word “badass” in its finished product. Something that surprised even Casey himself, as that fact was news to him during the recent group viewing of Sonic The Hedgehog.
Jim Carrey’s Classic Brand Of Comedy Was A Huge Influence To The Film
There’s a lot of Jim Carrey magic on display in Sonic The Hedgehog, and for the most part, that’s thanks to the man himself playing the evil Dr. Robotnik. Between classic line reads that invoke Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and the rubber bodied shenanigans the comedian got into with his antagonistic role, you could feel the freedom granted to Carrey to bring his special magic to the table.
However, even Ben Schwartz invoked some of that magic, as his line reading for “There’s a fish on my head!” was inspired by Jim Carrey’s Dumb and Dumber line, “Our pet’s heads are falling off!” Sometimes, all it takes is the right casting and the best movie memories to tie everything together in the right way.
We hope that whether you knew these behind the scenes facts about Sonic The Hedgehog or not, you enjoy the film regardless. As it’s currently available on Digital HD, with the 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD release coming on May 19th, it’s easier than ever to enjoy the Sonic magic for yourself, in the comfort of your own home.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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