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The Untold Truth Of Knuckles From Sonic

Fans of the blue blur rejoiced on Valentine's Day 2020 when the "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie finally hit theaters. Indeed, it was a triumphant moment for anyone who grew up on Team Sega. 

Of course, while the film was a hit with fans, it's impossible to please everyone. One question that was likely on more than a few minds is why Knuckles wasn't in the "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie. Fortunately, the beloved echidna couldn't be kept out of the fun forever. When fans got their first look at Knuckles in "Sonic the Hedgehog 2," the internet freaked out. Things would only get better from there. In August 2021, news broke that "The Suicide Squad" star Idris Elba landed the role of Knuckles in "Sonic 2." 

Knuckles was a bit of a latecomer in the "Sonic the Hedgehog" timeline, but he's been a major player in the franchise ever since. Sure, you know that his rivalry with Sonic didn't last long, but what else do you know about this famous echidna? This is the untold truth of Knuckles.

Knuckles wasn't supposed to leave a lasting impression

In an interview with Sonic creator Yuji Naka — preserved courtesy of Wayback Machine — he revealed that Knuckles was actually intended to be Sonic's rival from the very beginning. While the echidna definitely filled that role well in the early going, he wasn't created to be much more beyond that. It would take a bit before he was fully fleshed out.

Years later, Knuckles designer Takashi Yuda sat down with GameSpy to discuss "Sonic Riders," and in the process, he offered some interesting details about the rival character. Not only did Yuda reveal that he saw Knuckles as "a partner or teammate for Sonic" (a contrast to Naka's vision that explains their friendly rivalry dynamic), but he didn't originally design the character with much of a future in mind.

Yuda never imagined that his creation would take off the way he did. He only "created him to be a supporting character," but clearly Knuckles stood out. He's since become a staple in the "Sonic the Hedgehog" franchise, spinning off into his own popular comic series and making regular appearances in several of the video games.

Knuckles died in the comics

It's not often that a character from a kid-friendly video game franchise bites the dust. After all, just look at all those lives Mario burns through, and yet he's still around. If you only play the games, you'd assume all was well with Sonic and his friends, but if you read the comic, you'd know that things once took a dark turn for Knuckles.

In "Sonic the Hedgehog" issue #118, Knuckles has a run-in with Mammoth Mogul. The villain has imprisoned a weakened echidna named Dimitri, and in an attempt to free him, Knuckles over-exerts his abilities to the point where it kills him. Following his tragic death, a funeral is held in issue #121. Not to worry though, because the beloved hero doesn't stay dead for long.

For several issues, Knuckles is involved in the "Afterlife" saga, which ultimately leads to issue #125, in which he learns that he actually has the option of returning to a living state. This will cost him his chance to ascend to a higher form of existence, but his friends are in trouble, so he decides to sacrifice his spiritual awakening and return to earth to help his pals.

The shoe brand that Knuckles could have represented

A rumor has been floating around that the iconic white stripe on Knuckles' chest was originally a Nike logo. For the most part, this lost fact has been unsubstantiated — so where did it start?

As it turns out, there very well could be some truth to this theory. Thanks to the Wayback Machine, a Japanese interview from 2006 with Takashi Yuda still exists today that may offer some insight into where this rumor began. In a conversation with Sega of Japan (translation courtesy of Google Translate), Yuda spoke about the white marking on Knuckles, referring to it as "a mark like a black bear under the neck." He then revealed that he "was thinking of collaborating with a certain shoemaker," and "That mark is a remnant of that."

This may be the only tangible evidence to confirm that a Nike deal was at least on the designer's mind. Considering the shape and color of the marking, it's pretty hard to imagine it would have been any other shoe company.

Green is an alternate color for Knuckles

Like Sonic's signature blue quills, Knuckles is known to embody another of the primary colors: red. Most who play the games only know him for this look. However, you can find him representing a completely different color in the comics.

Known as "Chaos Knuckles," the powerful echidna first turns took this emerald-colored form in "Sonic the Hedgehog" issue #90. This was the result of a power that had laid dormant within him since he was born. When Knuckles was still inside his egg, he absorbed the energy of a Chaos Emerald that would eventually manifest into the super-charged green Knuckles.

According to the Sega of Japan interview from 2006, though, this color holds a little more significance in Knuckle's real-world origins. In the interview, Takashi Yuda revealed that Knuckles was originally going to be green, so it makes sense that Knuckles's powered-up form would be portrayed as such. Perhaps if the original design had made it into the game, the comics would have had Knuckles become red after he evolved.

The comics gave Knuckles a significant other

If you do a deep dive into Knuckles' history, you may unearth a profile on the beloved echidna, taken from the game "Sonic Jam." According to this mini-bio, Knuckles is the shy type and not too confident when it comes to romance. However, the character didn't remain a loner forever.

In the fourth issue of the comic series "Knuckles the Echidna," a mysterious robed figure attempts to assault the titular protagonist. When he pulls off the hood, he sees that his attacker is a female echidna named Julie-Su. The two continue to have an antagonistic relationship, though she does save him from falling off of a cliff. It's not until issue #16 that the first real signs of romance emerge.

Against his wishes, Julie-Su joins Knuckles at the edge of a dock and plants a kiss right on his cheek. He asks her to never do it again and she says she won't, though both of their inner monologues say otherwise. Their relationship would only grow from there. Eventually, the two would have a child named Lara-Su, who made her first appearance in "Sonic the Hedgehog" issue #131.