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Sonic The Hedgehog Release Date, Trailer, Cast And Story

Believe it or not, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie is actually on the way. Despite a massive internet outcry when the first trailer was released — which we will certainly get to — the film has been reworked and is headed to theaters in 2020.

Overall, video games have not gotten a great shake of things when they are transformed into big movies. We've come a long way since Super Mario Bros., but even more recent adaptations like Warcraft, Assassin's Creed, and Tomb Raider have received mediocre to poor reactions from audiences and critics alike.

Sonic the Hedgehog looks to change that. The filmmakers are hoping that the overwhelming negative response to the film's initial announcement will translate to getting butts in seats to see how they've reworked the final product. If you want to know more details about the film, then you've come to the right place. Here is everything we know about the Blue Blur's big screen debut, and why you should be looking forward to it.

What's Sonic the Hedgehog's release date?

Sonic the Hedgehog was already supposed to be upon us. The film has been in development since 2013, but the production really ramped up in 2017 and 2018. The original release was scheduled for November 8, 2019, but the first trailer in April of 2019 caused such a negative reaction — particularly to the title character's design — that the studio pulled the film back to work on some alterations.

However, it appears the redesign film is finally up to snuff, as the new release date of February 14, 2020 seems like it is set in stone. If your idea of a romantic Valentine's Day date is with a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog wearing sneakers, then you are in luck in 2020.

Sonic has appeared in an animated series before, but this is his first feature film. According to Business Wire, the movie is being co-produced by Paramount and SEGA, and is part of a push to take Sonic out of the realm of "video game character" into one of "entertainment franchise."

Sonic the Hedgehog's trailer

After the controversy that swirled around the original trailer, the reworked version released in November of 2019 has received much more praise for being faithful to the tone of the franchise.

It does a decent job of setting the stage — Sonic is a lonely alien who lives on Earth and is bored out of his mind. After he causes a huge power surge, several forces start converging to try to capture Sonic and harness his powers, which he tells us could let them "conquer the universe." One of those forces is Jim Carrey's Dr. Robotnik, who appears to be doing his darndest to be as Jim Carrey as possible.

Otherwise, the trailer shows a lot of references to Sonic video games, showcases the film's sense of humor, and focuses on two central things: Robotnik's weapons and the friendship between Sonic and Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). It seems like a pretty strong showcase of the movie's tone, so you'll have a good idea what you're getting into before you decide if you want to see Sonic the Hedgehog.

Ben Schwartz is the voice of Sonic

For the most part, the actors appearing in Sonic the Hedgehog are of the non-CGI variety. However, as you would expect, the title character is a blue blur of animation. If you listen close, you've probably heard the voice of Sonic before, and you may have even seen him. After all, Ben Schwartz is a prolific actor who has appeared in dozens of roles, both as a traditional actor and a voice actor.

Schwartz started as a writer for late night television, working with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live. He has also worked with several sketch comedy groups. Two recurring television roles stand out for Schwartz: he played Clyde Oberholt on House of Lies and Jean-Ralphio on Parks and Recreation.

If you haven't seen him in the flesh, there are also several animated characters in Schwartz's arsenal. He plays Dewey in the Ducktales reboot, Leo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Rutabaga Rabitowitz in BoJack Horseman. Essentially, if you're interested in Sonic the Hedgehog, you're probably familiar with Schwartz's work.

Jim Carrey plays Sonic's nemesis

An iconic video game hero needs an iconic villain — Mario has Bowser, Link has Ganon, and Sonic has Dr. Robotnik (or Eggman, depending on how long you've been a fan of the series). In the Sonic the Hedgehog film, the evil doctor goes by Robotnik, and he's played by none other than Jim Carrey.

Judging by his look on the posters and in the trailer, Carrey seems to be channeling the type of manic energy that made him a star in films like The Mask and Ace Ventura. He's all over the place, filling Robotnik with a silly but menacing air that makes him a very fitting villain for a video game property like Sonic.

Carrey has often jumped between broad comedy and dramatic acting, usually with varied success. His most recent project has been as the lead character in the Showtime series Kidding — his character, Jeff Pickles, is essentially a broken Mr. Rogers. Carrey can sometimes be grating but, with the right material, can show impressive range. Hopefully Dr. Robotnik gives him that type of material.

Who else is in the Sonic the Hedgehog cast?

Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey are the two leads for Sonic the Hedgehog, but the trailer gives us a good look at one more role — that of James Marsden.

Sonic the Hedgehog appears to be a buddy comedy, with Marsden playing Sonic's buddy Tom Wachowski. Marsden has shown impressive range over the course of his career — he has been in goofy, family-friendly roles (Enchanted), big action films (X-Men), and heady, dramatic works (Westworld). He's charming and appropriately silly, and should make a good match for an alien hedgehog with super speed.

There are a few other actors in the cast of Sonic who might look familiar. Tika Sumpter (Ride Along) and Neal McDonough (Minority Report) also make an appearance. Judging by the trailer, however, this film looks to mostly be Carrey, Schwartz, and Marsden's three-man show. Well, two men and one blue alien hedgehog.

A first time director is at the helm

The director of Sonic the Hedgehog, Jeff Fowler, has an interesting pedigree. He's been nominated for an Oscar, albeit in the category for "Best Animated Short." That nomination (shared with Deadpool and Terminator: Dark Fate director Tim Miller) comes courtesy of his time in the director's chair for the 2004 film Gopher Broke. Otherwise... that's it.

Yes, Fowler only has one directorial credit to his name, and it's an animated short film from over a decade ago. That's potentially a bit disheartening. Of course, Fowler has worked on a few different films in different departments, including a stint on the visual effects team for Where the Wild Things Are, and he's teamed up with some regular contributors.

Sonic's screenplay credit is shared among Josh Miller, Patrick Casey, and Oren Uziel. The first two worked together writing films like 12 Deadly Days, Transylmania, and Dorm Daze. Uziel's portfolio includes contributions to 22 Jump Street and The Cloverfield Paradox. Essentially, it's an eclectic combination of writing experience and untested directorial talent that will hopefully come together to make something fun with Sonic the Hedgehog.

Tom Holkenborg, a.k.a. Junkie XL, is behind Sonic the Hedgehog's music

One thing we're very excited about regarding Sonic the Hedgehog is the soundtrack. Composing the movie's score is Tom Holkenborg, better known as Junkie XL. You may not know the name, but you are definitely familiar with his work — Holkenborg has been a part of some seriously impressive soundtracks over the last couple decades.

The former DJ has lent his unique sound to films like Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Terminator: Dark Fate. With each project, Holkenborg has been working to establish his own identity as a film composer, a process he discussed with us when he sat down for a Looper interview about taking the musical reigns of the Terminator franchise.

During that same chat, we asked if the composer could tease anything about Sonic the Hedgehog. "The only thing I can say is that it turned out to be a really, really great film, and it's so much fun to work on it," he said. "Really great characters. Really lovely, really cute at the same time. So I'm looking forward for that to finish."

What's the plot of the Sonic movie, anyway?

There aren't a ton of details about the actual plot of the Sonic the Hedgehog film, but here's what we know. The official synopsis reads: "Sonic tries to navigate the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound best friend — a human named Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). They must soon join forces to prevent the evil Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) from capturing Sonic and using his powers for world domination."

So, we know Sonic is an alien who teams up with James Marsden's character. He can apparently use the golden rings as teleportation portals, as the film's trailer shows him doing this a few times. And we know Dr. Robotnik wants to capture Sonic to harness his powers and use them for his own personal gain.

The tone and general plot beats we've seen in the trailer showcase the film as being a bit of an oddball buddy film with some slapstick action thrown in. It will be interesting to see how much explanation the film offers of Sonic and his abilities. Maybe it will just say something to the effect of, "Well, he's a super powerful alien. What more do you need?"

Sonic went through a massive redesign

Let's talk about the hedgehog in the room: the reaction to the first Sonic the Hedgehog trailer was loud and angry. Our hero was originally made to look considerably more... realistic than the version we're getting. Well, as realistic as a humanoid cartoon hedgehog can look.

Sonic had creepy hands, weirdly muscular legs, and (dear lord) those teeth. Freaky human teeth that absolutely did not fit inside his mouth (the above image was Sonic's original look). The off-putting design, coupled with the "trying too hard" punchlines, caused a massive outcry from fans. Sonic was mocked relentlessly, and the studio actually listened.

Director Jeff Fowler took to Twitter to reassure fans that Sega and Paramount got the message "loud and clear," punctuating the promise with the hashtag "#gottafixfast." And fix it fast they did. The film was delayed as the team went back to the drawing board with Sonic's design, reportedly costing the production an extra $5 million.

It actually seemed to work. Upon release of the official "redesigned" trailer, fan reaction was almost the complete opposite of the first time around. The redesigned Sonic actually resembled the character that fans loved, and the response to the trailer was extremely positive. You see? Fans on the internet sometimes can bring about good change!

The studio that redesigned Sonic was reportedly shut down immediately after their work was complete

Of course, in the movie business, a happy ending sometimes hides a grim story. Despite some skepticism, it seems like the crew of the Sonic movie pulled off the mighty task of redesigning their main character and starting over from scratch on no small number of completed visual effects sequences. MPC Vancouver, the studio that redesigned the character, was promptly rewarded for their efforts by, reportedly, being shut down.

Cartoon Brew posted a story about several Reddit posts reportedly authored by employees of the studio. These anonymous anecdotes describe an unhealthy crunch culture, with employees sometimes working "17+ hour days" during which "very rarely were people doing less than 10 hours in a day. If you wanted to leave after your eight hours, you had to ask permission to go home." Finally, the implication was that if employees did not fall in line, they would be replaced by those who would.

After all that, the studio was still shut down, giving almost zero warning to its employees. That's a pretty steep price to pay for Sonic's teeth to not induce nightmares.

Cuteness overload: Baby Sonic is a thing

We don't know if Baby Sonic was planned before The Mandalorian brought a bounty of cuteness to a galaxy far, far away, but the comparison was inevitable. Thanks to a new Japanese trailer for Sonic the Hedgehog, we've now glimpsed Baby Sonic in all his glory. The trailer itself comes from Sega Japan's official Twitter account, and you can watch it right here.

The trailer itself doesn't offer a lot of new footage — even the beginning bit that shows off Baby Sonic is mostly identical to stuff we've already seen in the full trailer. It seems... unlikely that Baby Sonic will play a large role in the grand scheme of things, but we'll have to wait and see.

Baby Sonic is also holding a Little Planet flower in his appearance in the trailer. Considering some of the liberties that Sonic the Hedgehog is taking with the (frankly bizarre) backstory of the source material, it will be interesting to see how, if at all, these powerful items factor into the film's story.