Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

We May Finally Have Confirmation On Sonic's Appropriate New Design

We were promised a non-terrifying hedgehog, and by gosh, it looks like we'll get one.

A Twitter user has posted a picture of a standee for the upcoming film Sonic the Hedgehog that appears to confirm that recently leaked images of the title character's redesigned look were genuine. (via ComicBookMovie)

We reported on the leak a couple of weeks ago, and — assuming that the new photo of the standee isn't doctored — it sure looks like somebody really did have a friend at Paramount who managed to smuggle out artwork featuring Sonic's new design. In contrast to the version of the speedy blue hedgehog featured in the movie's first trailer, Sonic now looks much, much more video game-y, and much less like the result of some terrifyingly unethical genetics experiment.

As you can see, the look is classic Sonic, from the shape of the eyes to the gloved hands to the non-humanlike body proportions. This lines right up with the two images that were previously leaked, one of which appears to actually be the same image used on the standee, the other of which shows the character from the front, and — once again — neither of which are likely to give you nightmares for the rest of your life.

The flick's director, Jeff Fowler, and his VFX team going back to the drawing board on their movie's main character deep into production marks the only time we can think of that massive fan outcry in response to a film's promotional materials was acknowledged, and the issue corrected. Fowler and his crew even pushed back the movie's initial release date of November 8 by several months to allow them time to properly dial in Sonic's look. 

It's a pretty unprecedented situation in the history of mainstream film — so, just what the heck was the big deal about Sonic's original design?

Why did Sonic need a redesign?

If we may call your attention to the above picture, it should give you an idea of why fans were so up in arms when Sonic the Hedgehog's first trailer was released back in April. We'll now apologize for calling your attention to the above picture. Let's move on.

Basically, the team responsible for Sonic's design got just about everything wrong that they possibly could have gotten wrong the first time around. Those weird-looking, almost human eyes look nothing like what we're used to from Sonic, but they're totally spot-on when compared to the teeth, which simply appear to be a set of actual human teeth that some terrible god crammed into the mouth of that monstrosity.

The design of Sonic's body wasn't any better; once again, the animators leaned into giving the fuzzy little guy oddly human proportions, including hands and feet that were much smaller than Sonic's video game look, and legs that could only be described as "disturbingly buff." While the trailer made the movie itself look like an absolute blast — and promised an amazing, gonzo return to comic form by Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik — fans simply couldn't get past the fact that their beloved hedgehog appeared to have come racing straight out of the Uncanny Valley, and they took to Twitter in droves to let Fowler and company know about it.

To his credit, Fowler responded almost immediately, and what he had to say went a long way toward soothing fans' ire. In a tweet, the director wrote, "Thank you for the support. And the criticism. The message is loud and clear... you aren't happy with the design & you want changes. It's going to happen. Everyone at Paramount & Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be."

A few weeks later, Fowler announced via Twitter that the flick had been pushed back in order to allow him and his team "a little more time to make Sonic just right." That was pretty much the last we'd heard of the whole thing until those leaked images hit the web, and it's pretty obvious that the flick's VFX artists have been busting their butts making sure that Sonic looks as video game-accurate as possible.

Fans across Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief in response to Sonic's new look, and it's likely just a matter of time before we get a new trailer featuring the rejiggered design (and probably a winking in-joke or two about the initial design's reception). That original trailer will live on in infamy until the heat death of the internet, though, and will serve as a timeless example of how not to render iconic video game characters so that they look like something your child is convinced hides under their bed every night.

The film will mark Fowler's directorial debut; it was written by the team of Josh Miller as Patrick Casey (who collaborated on the Hulu Into the Dark episode "School Spirit") with an assist by Oren Uziel (22 Jump Street). In addition to Carrey, the movie stars Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, BoJack Horseman) as the voice of the title character, James Marsden (Westworld) as Sonic's human buddy Tom Wachowski, and Neal McDonough (who portrays Dum Dum Dugan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) as Major Bennington.

Sonic the Hedgehog comes sprinting into theaters on February 14, 2020.