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Commentary TV and Movies

First Sonic the Hedgehog movie poster inspires nightmares

Commentary: The silhouette of Sega’s mascot is running through the uncanny valley

sonic
Paramount Pictures

Next to Mickey Mouse, and Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog is easily one of the most recognizable mascots in popular media. He's been in countless video games, the star of one of the longest-running American comic books and has even cameoed in two Disney films: Wreck it Ralph and Ralph Breaks the Internet. After all that, you might think you know what to expect from Paramount Picture's Sonic The Hedgehog feature film.

You'd think that, but you'd be wrong. Paramount Pictures has recently revealed a teaser post for the new film -- and Sonic The Hedgehog doesn't look exactly like you remember him.

The image is draped in shadow, but the feature film's vision of Sonic is clearly a different version of the blue hedgehog than we're used to. Sega's version of the character is famously said to be inspired by classic cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat -- but Paramount's interpretation looks a bit more... human.

Sonic's iconic spiny head is still there, but everything else about Sonic's body seems a little off. He's now covered in a thin layer of fluffy fur, seems to have lost his white gloves and now has strangely realistic looking muscles. Considering how well established Sonic the Hedgehog's classic design is, the design changes are startling -- but the film's creators say they were essential. Traditionally, Sonic is a cartoon character, but his new movie takes place in the real world.

In an interview with IGN, Sonic the Hedgehog executive producer Tim Miller explained that the changes were made to help the character feel like he belongs in a live action setting. "He's not going to feel like a Pixar character would because I don't think that's the right aesthetic to make it feel like part of our world," he said. That's why Sonic has visible fur and wears realistic looking shoes. The interview warns that there are other changes coming that we haven't seen yet, too.

"I don't think Sega was entirely happy with the eye decision, but these sorts of things you go, 'It's going to look weird if we don't do this.'" Here Miller brings up an interesting point. In a cartoon world, Sonic's single, connected eye somehow makes sense, but in the real world? It'd be a little unsettling. "But everything is a discussion, and that's kind of the goal, which is to only change what's necessary and stay true to the rest of it,"

Either way, the reaction online has been visceral and hilarious.

Twitter even built a moment around the response, claiming that the new character design "divides fans." Fans themselves respectfully disagree.

Sonic the Hedgehog is set to hit theaters on Nov. 8th, 2019.

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