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Easter eggs you missed in Sonic the Hedgehog

The main character might be the same, but Sonic the Hedgehog isn't a story you've seen before. There are no Chaos Emeralds. No Super Sonic. No Knuckles, or Princess Sally, or Amy Rose, or any of Sonic's extended supporting cast. Most of Sonic the Hedgehog's action takes place on our Earth. Outside of the brief prologue, there's nary a loop-de-loop, corkscrew, or jump spring to be found.

But don't be disappointed, oh Sonic faithful. Despite the all-too-familiar setting, director Jeff Fowler managed to cram Sonic's big-screen debut full of nods to the video games you grew up on. From the music to the visuals to the post-credits scene — you know the one we're talking about — Sonic the Hedgehog is absolutely drenched in old-school Sonic lore.

Some of the references are obvious, like the ending credits rendered in the style of Sonic's 16-bit adventures. Others are more subtle. If you've been following the Blue Blur since his debut in the early '90s, you probably caught most of the movie's Easter eggs. If you're a newer or casual fan, though, there are bound to be one or two you missed. Just like Sonic himself, they go by pretty fast.

Meet the Knuckles Clan

Before Sonic arrives on Earth, he lives in a lush green paradise modeled after the first level of his debut video game (more on that in a moment). Unfortunately, young Sonic's blissful existence doesn't last long. It turns out that everybody wants Sonic's super-speed, including a tribe of animals that chase Sonic from his home planet to ours.

Those aren't just any critters chasing Sonic during the prologue, though. They're members of the Knuckles Clan, a tribe of echidnas that, according to comics lore, is an ancient clan of warriors who left the echidna capital, Albion, to establish a colony in far-off Soumerca. 

Eventually, the Knuckles Clan ran into trouble with both the Soumerca natives and a tribe of rival echidnas, and it was ultimately wiped out by the entity known as Chaos. However, the warriors' legacies live on through Sonic's ally Knuckles, who was named after the tribe. Clearly, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie's take on the Knuckles Clan is a little different — they're not extinct, for one — but it's still cool to see them pop up. If they lead to an appearance by Knuckles himself in the sequel? Even better.

When is a zone not a zone? When it's Green Hills, Montana

Most of Sonic the Hedgehog takes place in a sleepy Montana town called Green Hills, which was established in 1981, just a couple of years before Sega released its very first video game console. Nothing much happens there, at least not until the little blue alien who calls Green Hills home gets angry and attracts the government's attention.

Green Hills is an appropriate place for Sonic's adventure to start, given that it's named after the first level in the inaugural Sonic the Hedgehog video game. When Genesis owners booted up Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991, Green Hill Zone was the first location that players visited. Since then, Green Hill Zone's grassy slopes, angular palm trees, and unstable cliffs have gone on to become some of the franchise's most recognizable sights.

Since Sonic the Hedgehog, the Green Hill Zone has reappeared in Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Forces, Sonic Mania, Sonic Generations, Super Smash Bros., and plenty of other games. You can even build a papercraft version of the Green Hill Zone, if you want. The Green Hill Zone is one of the most famous levels in all of gaming, and it's a good thing it's in the movie. It just wouldn't be Sonic without it.

From fan art to film icons

Sonic the Hedgehog has a large and extremely dedicated fanbase that loves to express itself. Unfortunately, fans' abilities don't always live up to their passion. Spend a few minutes browsing DeviantArt, and you'll see what we mean. There's an upside, though: As terrible as some Sonic fan art is, though, it's a great source of memes, some of which have become just as famous as Sonic himself.

Even the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account has gotten in on the fun, and naturally the movie does as well. Early in the film, Green Hills' resident kook, Crazy Carl, shows off a crude rendering of the "Blue Devil," a not-so-mythical creature that only Carl knows exists. Well, if you've spent any time on the internet, you'll recognize Carl's drawing immediately. It's a very close recreation of the infamous "Sanic Hedgehog," the star of a surreal YouTube video who started as a nightmarish picture of Sonic and has become a character all of his own.

Later, when Sonic wakes up from a Robotnik-induced stupor, he exclaims "Gotta go fast!" before racing all over a suburban San Francisco home. That's also a meme. In 2008, an endearingly awful drawing of Sonic adorned with the phrase "Gotta go fast!", which originated in Sonic X's title theme, appeared on the fan site Sonic Central. Ever since, "Gotta go fast!" has been a rallying cry for fans of bad fan art, and often appears on parodies mimicking the original drawing's weird, blobby "hedgehog."

Time (and Sonic) stands still

Back in the days when Genesis did what Nintendon't, every kid knew that Sonic was way cooler than Mario. Just look at the evidence. Sonic could move much faster than Nintendo's fat, lazy plumber, thanks to the Genesis' much-hyped (and mostly bogus) "blast processing" capabilities. Not only that, but Sonic had '90s-style attitude to spare. When you booted up Sonic the Hedgehog, the title character greeted you with a cocky grin. If you left him standing in one place for too long, he'd tap his foot, shoot you a dirty look, and — in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and later titles — impatiently check his watch.

Sonic's irreverent idle animation has become suitably iconic, and while Ben Schwartz's big-screen version of the character isn't as cocky as his 16-bit iteration, he's just as impatient. Near the end of the movie, when Sonic is facing down Jim Carrey's Dr. Robotnik, the manic scientist launches a flurry of rockets at the furry hero.

Except, to someone who moves as fast as Sonic, an attack like that is no problem. As he waits for the rockets to hit, Sonic taps his foot and checks his watch, exactly like he does in the game, before leaping into action.

That's *Doctor* Eggman to you, thank you very much

You might know him best as Dr. Ivo Robotnik, but in Japan, Sonic's archnemesis was originally called Eggman. In fact, as Takashi Iizuka, the head of Sega's Sonic Team, tells Game Informer, that's what the people behind Sonic's video games still call him.

As Iizuka tells the story, Sega of America changed the character's name while localizing Sonic the Hedgehog without consulting the character's creators first. Unfortunately, when Sonic became popular, the name Robotnik stuck. Eventually, frustrated by having to deal with the villain's dual identity, Sonic Team decided to make Ivo Robotnik the villain's canonical name, and Eggman his nickname. The mad scientist has been known by both monikers ever since.

Sonic the Hedgehog also pays tribute to Eggman's dual identity. As the movie nears its climax, Sonic mocks Jim Carrey's Robotnik by nicknaming him Eggman, although he comes by the name a little differently than the developers did. In the games, Robotnik is impossibly round, giving him an egg-like appearance. In the film, Sonic has a habit of giving people food-based nicknames — just ask Tom "Donut Lord" Wachowski if you don't believe us — so when he realizes that some of Robotnik's drones look like eggs, well, he really has no other choice.

For good or Badnik

In the video games, the main soldiers in Dr. Robotnik's mechanical army are cyborg creatures known as Badniks. Powered by live animals, which they use like batteries, the Badniks roam Sonic's homeworld searching for Chaos Emeralds, building superweapons like the Death Egg, and doing everything they can to stop Sonic and his friends.

Like the name Robotnik, the name Badnik is the result of the video game's western localization. In Japan, Sonic's rank-and-file enemies were simply known as Eggman's robots. Sega of America decided that wasn't cool enough, though, and called the evildoers Badniks instead. The name has been around ever since.

Unfortunately, while Robotnik uses a number of technological terrors to wage war on Sonic and Tom, the Badniks don't appear in the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. However, they could've. Apparently, Robotnik has already made them. Later in the movie, when he's trying to harness the power from Sonic's supercharged quill, Robotnik accidentally shorts out his mobile headquarters. When he opens the fusebox to restart the device, we see a few different switches, each of which are labelled with pieces of masking tape. What does one of them say? Why, "Badniks," of course.

The Green Hills are alive with the sound of Sonic

Say what you will about the original Sonic video games, but there's no denying that their soundtracks are legendary. The Green Hill Zone theme from Sonic 1 is considered one of the best pieces of video game music ever written. Sonic the Hedgehog 3's soundtrack features songs written by none other than the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, although he wasn't credited due to some contractual obligations.

A few of those classic tunes snuck their way into the big-screen Sonic the Hedgehog, too. A fancy, orchestrated version of the Sega Genesis start-up music can be heard briefly during the opening credits. More notably, a slow, jazzy version of the Green Hill Zone theme plays over the movie's closing moments while Tom and Maddie repair their wrecked dining room.

But it gets better. Sonic the Hedgehog's reimagined Green Hill Zone theme is actually performed by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader and Stay Human frontman Jon Batiste. It's not the first time that Batiste has played a video game tune, either. The musician taught himself how to play piano by transcribing tunes from Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, and Sonic, and occasionally covers The Legend of Zelda songs and pieces from other game soundtracks on The Late Show. 

If you want to hear Batiste's take on Sonic again, check out his album Hollywood Africans — the Green Hill Zone cover is track number seven.

I can see for Miles and Miles and Miles

Okay, okay. There's only one way you missed this Easter egg: You walked out of the theater as soon as Sonic the Hedgehog's end credits started. If so, shame on you. You missed the most crowd-pleasing moment in the entire movie, not to mention the appearance of one of the most popular Sonic characters of all time.

Yes, that's right. After Sonic the Hedgehog's pixel art credits sequence ends, none other than Sonic's number one sidekick and best friend (non-Tom edition), Miles "Tails" Prower, makes his theatrical debut. With a gust of wind, Tails appears out of what seems to be another interplanetary portal. 

It turns out that Tails is searching for Sonic, and while he's happy that the hedgehog is nearby, he's also worried. As he soars off into the distance, Tails mutters to himself. Has he found Sonic too late? Too late for what? Sadly, we don't know — not yet, anyway. If Sonic the Hedgehog is a box office success, the sequel should answer that question — and put Tails front and center. Here's hoping.