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The Untold Truth Of Dr. Robotnik

Fans of the "Blue Devil" don't have to travel too far into the past to discover that Sonic was once solely a video game franchise. However, with the inaugural live-action film hitting theaters in 2020 –– and the sequel film arriving in 2022 –– the franchise has been opened up to the new world of cinema. With the introduction of this freshly minted movie franchise, characters outside of Sonic have gotten the opportunity to shine, such as series arch-villain Dr. Robotnik, who's played with charismatic energy and love by Jim Carrey.

The first "Sonic the Hedgehog" puts Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) in the limelight. The blue hedgehog arrives in fictional Green Hills, Montana –– and then inadvertently knocks out the power grid in the Pacific Northwest, which gets the attention of the military. Sonic eventually teams up with local sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) to defeat Robotnik. Though Sonic's name is in the title, Carrey's Robotnik is a scene-stealing madman. Here's the untold truth of Dr. Robotnik, within the "Sonic" film franchise.

Robotnik's past

Though the movie glosses over Robotnik's backstory, the film does map out exactly who he is and where he came from in "Sonic the Hedgehog." Robotnik is an orphan who was bullied at school, but got his revenge when he used technology that left a bully eating through a straw for a year. Robotnik eventually achieved five PhDs and his IQ is off the charts.

Robotnik was employed by the United States government, because his drone technology is revolutionary. He even, allegedly, helped with several incidents, including a coup in Pakistan and an uprising in Azerbaijanistan. All this is to say, Robotnik is a brilliant individual, yet the fact that he was bullied at a young age has left him with a something-to-prove personality, and he routinely compares himself to others. He has morphed from a victim to a know-it-all tyrant. He calls out people for their supposed incompetence and throws his intelligence in their faces for good measure.

A rare villainous role for Jim Carrey

Younger audience members may or may not be witnessing Jim Carrey's hilarious antics for the first time when he plays Robotnik. He doesn't typically play the antagonist, though there have been exceptions to the rule. Case in point: In "The Cable Guy," Carry portrays Chip Douglas, an outlandish cable person who, let's say, goes above and beyond his cable person duties –– to the point of coming off as a stalker. This is in contrast to other Carrey roles, such as his Ace Ventura character in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," where he solves crimes revolving around animals.

Though Carrey isn't a stranger to playing a villain, he has, according to IMDb, 68 acting credits to his name –– and he's arguably most famous for playing a kind-hearted character (albeit goofy) who always wears a smile. But alas, Carrey manages to channel his goofy side and pump it into the Robotnik villain persona with brilliance.

It's evident Carrey channeled his mid-90s energy for the role

Jim Carrey injects his characters with a silly edge while providing full-body comedic elements. His humor might not be for everyone, but his methods shot him into the spotlight in the mid-90s. After all, his full-body, zany humor appeared in movies such as "Ave Ventura: Pet Detective," "The Mask," and "Dumb and Dumber" –– which were all released in 1994 –– and his same acting methods were unleashed in "Sonic the Hedgehog." Look no further than Robotnik's dance scene to figure that out.

Not to mention, in a 2020 interview with Collider, Carrey explained that the Robotnik role allowed him to harness the same "childlike discovery energy" that made him a star in his earlier films. It's clear the evil scientist is the perfect role for Carrey as it allows him to incorporate some of the same techniques he used in previous standout roles. This role is seemingly ideal for younger and more seasoned audience members alike as kids can get a laugh at his goofy nature and adults can be taken back to the '90s when Carrey's style and energy were first pumped into his characters.

The film inspired Carrey to play the video game with his grandson

There are a plethora of reasons to join the cast of the first live-action "Sonic" movie, from the paycheck to nostalgia to taking on a role in which you can leave your mark with a beloved character. However, fans might be surprised to learn that Jim Carrey gained something so much greater than money, fame, or success as a result of starring in "Sonic the Hedgehog." And it is, to say the least, endearing.

In an interview on Good Morning America, Carrey detailed that his new role in "Sonic the Hedgehog" inspired him to play the video game with his grandson. "We've been gaming together," Carrey said on "Good Morning America" (via E!). "But I'm not motivated to win, that's the trouble. He can beat me because I'm Robotnik and whenever I get the controls, I just throw that character down on the spikes immediately. I have no motivation to win whatsoever."

Whether or not he wants to win in the game, Carrey plays Robotnik to perfection in real life — and despite being the main villain, Carrey's Robotnik is a fan favorite.

Carrey improvised Robotnik

Jim Carrey has proven over the years that he's a master of improvisation. He is, after all, part of one of the best improvised moments in movie history. Flashback to "Dumb and Dumber," when Harry and Lloyd were scripted to get on the hitman's nerves. The comically gifted Carrey then walked up to the plate, swung for the fences, and created "the most annoying sound in the world."

To that end, it's no surprise that Carrey improvised much of his role in "Sonic the Hedgehog." Carrey discussed his improv chops with ComicBook.com. "I'm a big proponent of working it and working it and working it, and coming in with 20 ideas," Carrey said, "and the director will go, 'Just throw them out, see what happens.'" Though some actors are trained to stick to the script, at all costs, Carrey seemingly does his best work when he adds a dash of spontaneity to his lines.

In an interview with The Illuminerdi, "Sonic the Hedgehog" writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller talked about how the Robotnik character was defined by Carrey. "That's why it's difficult to imagine anyone else doing it, because we definitely had [conversations while writing the script] was how funny versus how intimidating do we make him," Miller said. "But Jim really perfectly straddled that. He's like, an intense guy so he's got that good crazy villain focus. But then he's the funniest guy in the world."

Casey also recalled Carrey's ability to make the character uniquely his own. "There was a thing, where people at the studio would ask 'do we make him funny, does that take away from him being intimidating?' It's not one-versus-the-other, it's possible to be both at once if you have a performer that can do that." Casey also said that Carrey had the ability to reason with Robotnik, a villain through and through, and understand why the vulnerable character acted the way he did.

If you had someone as talented, charismatic, and hilarious as Carrey in your film, you'd be wise to let him run with the role and allow him to do his magic.

Comapring The Riddler to Dr. Robotnik

Jim Carrey graced audiences with The Riddler character in 1995's "Batman Forever." Similar to Robotnik and Sonic, The Riddler is one of Batman's greatest enemies. Though Sonic and Batman are completely different franchises (one is, to say the least, darker than the other), Carrey has compared his two cherished personas.

"Well, I think I think they're both basically spinning," Carrey explained to ComicBook.com. "They're both spinning in the tree of knowledge. They're leaping from branch to branch and falling occasionally. I wouldn't put one against the other. I think they'd be a great team. But you know, it's like Robotnik and every super villain basically comes from a place of neglect with a feeling of absolute worthlessness that manifests itself in magnificent creations that are designed to control the world, put their brand on everybody, and maybe even get inside your bloodstream with some nanotechnology occasionally."

That's an interesting way to compare the two characters. And to Carrey's credit, "Sonic the Hedgehog" claims Robotnik is an orphan and was even bullied as a child. That said, his drones, firepower, and otherworldly technology would make great assets to any villain who desires to team up with him — including The Riddler.

The writers struggled with Dr. Robotnik's character

Robotnik usually plays the role of the bad buy in the video games, and his persona most often amounts to "being an antagonist." Therefore, the creators of "Sonic the Hedgehog" struggled to bring Robotnik to life.

"With Robotnik, there wasn't quite so much to pull from with the source material, because he is very moustache-twirly, and for the purposes of the film, we were trying to keep him a little bit more grounded," director Jeff Fowler said in a 2020 interview with Digital Spy.

Luckily, Jim Carrey was cast as Robotnik and the rest was history. Fowler continued: "I mean, we still obviously had a lot of fun with the character. The development that went into him, and all of that, was made so great, just by the casting of Jim Carrey, and all the ideas that he brought to it."

So much goes into making a movie. Though Tom and Sonic are the main protagonists, even villains need to be fully fleshed out if a movie is going to tell a noteworthy story.

Robotnik hasn't reached his apotheosis yet

Sonic video game aficionados will likely be the first ones to notice that Robotnik looked different at the beginning of the film than he did in the video games. For one thing, the character didn't encompass his trademark egg shape, which is why he was originally named Dr. Eggman. There's also the mustache of it all ...

"That mustache was the beginning of, you know, the first manifestation of evil," Carrey said in a 2020 IGN interview. "An outward manifestation. With the curled up edges and stuff. It goes back to Dudley Do-Right and the old cartoon villains. The old movies and stuff. That little waxed edge of the mustache that just says 'I've just tied some girl to a railroad track. For no apparent reason.'"

Going back to the differences in Carrey and the original Eggman's frame, the actor talked about the character being an evolution. "He ended up on the mushroom planet," Carrey said, "and you never know what can happen on a mushroom planet."

Perhaps most vital to the conversation is that Carrey said "Robotnik has not reached his apotheosis." If audience members stuck around until the very end, then they witnessed Robotnik finishing the movie with a different appearance. Most notably, he was bald and his mustache grew out of control. Whether this is the evolution Carrey was referring to or not, we're here for Robotnik's transformation –– and we can't wait to see his final stage.