A horrifying first look at the live action Sonic the Hedgehog

Posted on March 5, 2019

Some characters really weren’t meant to be realistically designed. Last year a live action film based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise was announced. Unlike the announced Illumination animated Super Mario Bros movie, the Sonic the Hedgehog film would blend CGI and live action elements. Some posters, which gave a look at Sonic’s silhouette and his legs, have been released since, but we didn’t know exactly how Sonic would be re-designed for the film. Now, a leaked style guide has given us a look at what the Blue Blur probably will look like in the movie, and he looks pretty weird.

The leaked style guide for Sonic the Hedgehog

Now, broadly, the character design hasn’t changed much. He still has his red sneakers and white gloves, and he doesn’t feel overdesigned, like when they covered him in sports tape for Sonic Boom. However, some concessions to more realistic proportions have been made; for instance, he now has two distinct eyes, instead of the two pupils in one continuous eye that he has in the games. His limbs also  are less noodly, and more muscular, than in the games.

There is still something weirdly unsettling about Sonic’s realistic fur textures, when his fur has almost always been portrayed as a flat blue texture. The efforts to update his design to make him more humanlike only dive into the uncanny valley and highlight how bizarre Sonic looks. The best that can be said is that he looks about as good as a realistic humanoid hedgehog can look, which isn’t really saying much.

The original reveal of Sonic the Hedgehog

It is hard to say how the design will look in motion, or when contrasted against live action human actors. It’s possible it will look less weird, or possible even weirder, when we get a proper look at one of the film’s trailers. According to the style guide, Sonic will be “irreverent and sarcastic”, and “mischievous but not malicious”, hearkening back to his 90s origins where his attitude was a main point of differentiation between him and his rival, Mario.

The Sonic the Hedgehog movie is set to release November of this year. It will be directed by Jeff Fowler, and star Ben Schwartz as Sonic and James Marsden as Tom Watchowski, a newly appointed human sheriff who aids Sonic in fighting Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey.