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The Ending Of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Explained

At the end of the first "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie, there were inevitable set-ups for a sequel. Jim Carrey's Dr. Robotnik (or Eggman if you prefer) took the entire movie to take on the video game character's iconic appearance. Balding and with a mustache, the villain vows revenge on Sonic. We also see that the blue hedgehog has a friend coming to join him for the next journey. Tails makes his first appearance in this post-credits scene, and winds up being a principle character in "Sonic the Hedgehog 2." 

"Sonic 2" sees Sonic struggling to become a hero in Green Hills. While Tom (James Marsden) is on a vacation to a destination wedding, Sonic is found by Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey) who informs him that he is being hunted. The deadly duo of a returning Robotnik and fan favorite Knuckles the Echidna (Idris Elba) are intent on taking down Sonic before they find the all powerful Master Emerald. 

Throughout "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" there are lore explorations and explanations of why Knuckles is sworn to eliminate Sonic. This all culminates in an action-packed climactic sequence that ties threads from the rest of the movie together. And at the end, it even teases some exciting news for "Sonic 3." 

Why does Knuckles hate Sonic?

The motivations of the angry red echidna Knuckles actually tie into the opening of the first "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie. In these moments we see how Sonic ended up on Earth, in our human world. Sonic was raised by the owl Longclaw on a mystical island that was peaceful ... for the most part. When the owls were invaded by echidnas, Longclaw gives her powerful rings to Sonic and sent him far away to safety. 

In "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" we get more perspective on these events from an echidna. Following Sonic's departure, a battle ensued that wiped out a majority of the fighting echidnas. Knuckles was one of the young survivors, and the events of that day radically changed him, sending him on a revenge fueled quest. Knowing that Sonic was raised by Longclaw, Knuckles makes the hedgehog his sworn enemy and vows to find him and take him down. When he learns of the echidna's existence, Robotnik tracks down and manipulates Knuckles into helping him find one of the world's largest sources of power: the Master Emerald. 

Why was Knuckles seeking the Master Emerald?

While the main thrust of Knuckles's motivation is in wiping out Sonic as revenge for the owl's slaughter of his people, there is also the important element of the Master Emerald. Knuckles feels it is his destiny to seek out the all-powerful stone, and he plans on using it as a tool to stop Sonic once and for all. While the movie gives a brief lore dump, it doesn't get into why the Master Emerald is so important to this character. To know that, you'll need to look to the video games. 

In the game lore, Knuckles also began as a villain who worked with Robotnik, although eventually we learn he was tricked by the Eggman. The movie follows the games in this way, creating a similar character dynamic to "Sonic the Hedgehog 3" and "Sonic & Knuckles" for the Sega Genesis. As his backstory in the games gets fleshed out, we learn Knuckles is the last living echidna of his tribe and a sworn protector of the Master Emerald.

In the movie, he dabbles with the possibility of using the Emerald's power for his own selfish good. By the end of the movie, the character has undergone a change and becomes the great protector Knuckles that fans know and love. This reflects the arc the character had in his first handful of game appearances. 

Robotnik betrays Knuckles in the end

Any adult paying attention could see that Robotnik was destined to betray Knuckles by the end of the movie. The evil genius used the echidna's blinding rage to manipulate Knuckles into steering him right to the Master Emerald. The moment the precious all powerful stone is in sight, Robotnik realizes Knuckles is a threat that must be eliminated. Robotnik takes the Master Emerald for himself and makes an attempt to get rid of Sonic and Knuckles for good. Sonic rescues Knuckles, which leads the echidna to re-evaluate his relationship with the hedgehog and his fox companion. This change of heart leads to a team-up that will end up taking down Robotnik for good. 

This story arc follows the basics laid down by some of the early "Sonic the Hedgehog" games. In "Sonic & Knuckles" on Genesis, Sonic fights Knuckles, only for both of them to find it was a staged distraction for Robotnik to steal the Master Emerald. The plot of the movie follows these beats pretty faithfully, although other elements of the "Sonic the Hedgehog 3"/"Sonic & Knuckles" story are omitted from the film universe. At least, so far.

Sonic goes Super Sonic to save the day

Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails work together to thwart Dr. Robotnik and his Egg Smasher mech. As Knuckles punches the robot hard enough to break the emerald out of it, we see the Master Emerald break into smaller shards. For a second there, it seems like all hope is lost for Knuckles and his quest to find and protect the emerald. But then a miracle happens. 

Sonic absorbs shards of the Master Emerald and they power him up, transforming the blue hedgehog we've come to know into a glowing yellow Super Sonic. With this enhanced power (and Super Saiyan hair to boot), Sonic is able to defeat Robotnik and his Egg Smasher for good. After his purpose is completed, Super Sonic reverts back to normal and the emeralds exit his body to once more form one whole Master Emerald.

In what's possibly a coincidence, Super Sonic made its debut in the Genesis game "Sonic the Hedgehog 2." Since then, Super Sonic has appeared in dozens of "Sonic" games, often as an unlockable character. In the story of the games, he is the evolution of Sonic after he collects all seven Chaos Emeralds, which is often the main objective of any given "Sonic" game.

Sonic, Knuckles and Tails start a new order of heroes

More so than the first movie's teaser featuring Tails, "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" is confident that there is a future full of sequels for the film franchise. Even before the box office receipts for opening weekend come in, its franchise ambitions are communicated even before we reach the mind-blowing post-credits scene.

After Robotnik is defeated and the power of the Master Emerald is restored, our three heroes have a moment of respite. Sonic and Knuckles agree to put their issues behind them and start anew. Together with Tails, the three of them promise to dedicate themselves to making a new order of heroes, helping Sonic finally find his purpose in the world. This ending is an invitation to bring even more of the roster of characters in the "Sonic the Hedgehog" games to the burgeoning cinematic universe.

With one especially big addition confirmed at the end of "Sonic the Hedgehog 2," we are sure to see a handful of the favorites from the Dreamcast and GameCube eras of "Sonic" show up soon enough.

A major new character is revealed in a post-credits scene

In the post-credits scene of "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" we see agents of GUN (Guardian Units of Nations) stumble upon a top secret project from over 50 years ago. The name is revealed to be "Project Shadow," and we are shown an extremely brief glimpse of a large tube with a figure inside. The last shot of the movie is a black figure inside opening his red eyes. 

Fans that grew up on the late Dreamcast and GameCube era of "Sonic" games will recognize this as Shadow the Hedgehog. This edgy foil to Sonic is so extreme that he even used a gun in the spin-off game that was actually released and wasn't just a fever dream, "Shadow the Hedgehog." Shadow first appeared in "Sonic Adventure 2" and he was a staple character for that generation of "Sonic," even making his way to become a character on the Cartoon Network show "Sonic Boom." 

This tease suggests Shadow will play a role in the next "Sonic" movie, possibly as the villain. This isn't the most shocking move, but it is one fans have been waiting to see for quite a long time.

But there are still other heroes we are dying to see in Sonic 3

It makes complete sense for Shadow to join the cinematic universe on the next "Sonic" adventure. It also gives us a chance to reminisce about of one of the seminal Sonic games, "Sonic Adventure." First released for the Dreamcast, "Sonic Adventure" brought Sonic, Tails and a whole new roster of foes and friends into 3D for the first time ever. It also introduced new heroes, like Big the Cat, and helped give new life to older characters, like Amy Rose.

Introduced in the Sega CD platformer "Sonic CD," Amy is a bouncy female hedgehog who eventually develops a huge crush on Sonic. That would be a fun dynamic to see on screen. 

Also introduced in "Sonic CD" is Metal Sonic, a robot recreation of the hedgehog engineered by Robotnik. This is one of the most iconic enemy designs in the game franchise and it has yet to appear in the movies.

And what about Rouge the Bat? Do the producers at Paramount dare let her exist in this? Only time will tell.