In the aftermath of Dr. Robotnik’s latest live-action defeat, more and more fans have begun to speculate on what elements from the blue blur’s video game canon could be adapted for a third Sonic the Hedgehog film.
Most of this speculation has, unsurprisingly, centered around the fan-favorite Sonic Adventure 2.
This is because, in a Marvel-esque mid-credits scene, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ended its run time with the reveal that the blue blur’s inverted clone, Shadow, is on deck for a future adventure.
Recently, Patrick Casey and Josh Miller, who wrote the first two Sonic the Hedgehog films and are set to write the third, held a Q&A with students at Klamath Community College.
There, the two both gave their insights into the production of the first two films and offered a few tantalizing tid-bits regarding their plans for the next film.
Alongside their admitting that they could not speak towards a possible appearance by Amy Rose thanks to an NDA, Casey and Miller shared their hopes that despite his talks of retiring, they hoped Jim Carrey would return to reprise his role as Robotnik.
Further, the pair noted that Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is only currently in the ‘blue sky’ phase of script writing, where ideas are still being thrown around think and fast.
To that end, speaking specifically to Shadow’s future appearance, Miller told attendees that the third film would indeed utilize elements from Sonic Adventure 2.
In light of this confirmation, I’d like to throw some of my fan insights and hopes into the golden ring, tempered by realistic expectations though they may be.
So, please join me as we escape from the many years of terrible video game adaptations – which, as seen in Halo, for the most part continues until this day – and look at how the third Sonic the Hedgehog film may go about incorporating Sonic Adventure 2 into the live-action trilogy’s canon.
Originally released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2001, Sonic Adventure 2 opened with Robotnik’s discovery of Shadow, the so-called ‘ultimate lifeform’ as created by his grandfather Gerald.
In exchange for releasing him from a lengthy stay in cryostorage, Shadow offers to collect the seven Chaos Emeralds for Robotnik, who seeks to use them to power another creation of his grandfather’s, the ARK orbital laser cannon, and subsequently hold the Earth hostage.
As Shadow begins his rampage across Earth in search of the Chaos Emeralds, the authorities mistakenly arrest Sonic for his doppelganger’s crimes.
One prison break later, Sonic, with the assistance of Tails and Knuckles, set out to stop Shadow, Robotnik, and their jewel thief ally Rouge the Bat, from terrorizing humanity.
Eventually, Robotnik successfully turns on his grandfather’s abandoned creation, only for both sides discover that not only had Gerald instructed the ARK to eradicate humanity if it were ever used for bloodshed, a pained response to what he saw as GUN’s responsibility for the death of his granddaughter Maria ,but that Shadow had been preprogrammed by the late scientist to help carry out this goal.
In light of this revelation, the heroes and villains proceed to put aside their differences and team-up to save the Earth, with both Sonic and Shadow going super to defeat a giant lizard whose body is melded with the ARK cannon (trust me, it’s an even longer story).
Robotnik Could Make or Break The Film
Right off the bat, it’s clear that Sonic Adventure 2 features some pretty heavy emphasis on Robotnik’s backstory, particularly in relation to his grandfather Gerald.
While Jim Carrey’s Robotnik mentions he was an orphan, small retcons about being briefly raised by Gerald or even being on ARK for a time could certainly go a long way in explaining his character.
It’s not hard to imagine how one scientist, driven mad by a self-serving human race, could inspire Robotnik to favor intellect over humanity and develop an ego thanks to his position as one of the smartest men on the planet.
It could also be revealed that the government had secretly nurtured Robotnik’s intellect, putting him in evermore influential and challenging roles, in the hopes of either preventing him from developing into a second Gerald or instilling within him a sense of loyalty to them
Of course, Robotnik learning of his “heritage” along with the audience would be just as acceptable.
In interviews, Carrey has spoken about how the character of Robotnik, which many viewed as merely a stock mad scientist, had a surprising amount of depth, particularly in his jealousy towards Sonic over his furry rival having had the childhood he was denied.
While Carrey has expressed an interest in retiring, it’s hard to imagine dealing with Shadow, Gerald, and ARK without his involvement in some capacity.
How Did That Damn Shadow Get Here?
Despite the fan service appeal of Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s mid-credits scene, the sudden appearance of a creature who looks exactly like Sonic despite the blue blur’s only fairly recent arrival on Earth has left audiences scratching their heads.
Somehow, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 will have to answer the question of Shadow’s origin.
Did he travel as a baby like Sonic did, only to be experimented upon by ARK scientists? Did they somehow get in contact with other worlds, and obtain a sample of “Alien Hedgehog” DNA (in what would be an unlikely reference to the version of his origin recounted in his self-titled game)?
In all seriousness, the former could be likely, as it would introduce more parallels between Shadow and Sonic.
For example, instead of starting lonely and finding a family, Shadow could have either lost his own after the raid on ARK and what happened to Maria, or been created by the only man he could consider ‘family’ to be nothing more than an experiment to be poked and prodded at.
I hope we don’t get a scientist stealing a quill or blood sample from baby Sonic in a flashback, but it’s a distinct possibility.
Likewise, using the Master or Chaos Emeralds to bring him in would require some level of retcon, as such an avenue would open a number of further questions.
How would Gerald know to use the Chaos Emeralds to power the Eclipse Cannon if he never got his hands on them? And if he did, why was the Master Emerald back in the temple seen in Sonic the Hedgehog 2?
However, the one thing that is for certain is that while the one ‘hog army is going to be delightfully edgy, his penchant for firearms is sure to be dropped from the film.
Though such an element was almost certainly never going to make it to screen, most of all because most fans continue to roll their eyes at the concept to this day, that doesn’t mean it has to be ignored outright.
I could easily see Shadow briefly picking up a gun from a downed GUN soldier, then disassembling or breaking it before some pithy line about it being “weaker” than his own two hands.
Paramount Won’t Go To Bat For Rouge
Not all characters are created equal, and while she does steal the Chaos Emeralds for the villains, the plot of Sonic Adventure 2 could technically proceed without Rouge the Bat.
In fact, there even be incentive for Paramount to test that theory out.
Boasting a very ‘ample’ figure emphasized by a heart-shaped breastplate and jiggle physics, Rogue’s design puts the film’s creators in a tricky position.
From Jessica Rabbit to actual rabbit Lola Bunny, recent years have seen the toning down of animated female characters’ sexuality, even if they showed nothing worse than what you’d see in a classic Looney Tunes or Tex Avery cartoon.
Though often done in a misguided attempt at being more inclusive towards female audiences, these prudish actions towards the femme fatale design trope are almost given validity thanks to actual horn-dogs.
Rumors of a certain pink-haired insurance mascot being dropped from ad campaigns due to an influx of pornographic fan art aside, the sheer infamy of the furry community’s ‘artistic tastes’ are sure to tempt producers into dropping Rouge all together, especially as her role could reasonably be filled by others.
Shadow or Eggman could steal the Master and/or Chaos Emeralds, Knuckles the Echidna doesn’t necessarily need a will-they-won’t-they subplot, and Rouge’s sneakiness could easily be replaced by some sort of Robotnik invention- using brute force or otherwise.
Ultimately, if Rouge does appear, let’s just say producers will be working very hard to make sure things don’t go tits up.
Have No Fear, Amy Rose Is Here?
Though Casey and Miller have asserted that mum’s the word when it comes to a possible Amy Rose introduction, the likelihood of such a development relies on just how much of Sonic Adventure 2’s plot they wish to adapt.
On one hand the pink hedgehog is more likely to appear if the pair wish to stick to the game’s original script, which sees her give Shadow the heartfelt speech that rouses his memories and convinces him to fight alongside Sonic to stop the ARK.
If the eventual end product goes this route, I struggle to think of anyone else who would both have so unmoving faith in good and have a reason to be on the weapon’s station at the story’s climax.
Sure, Tom and Maddie could do it, but the plot-gymnastics needed to explain the presence of two regular humans on a space station with super-powered aliens and robots, as well as explaining their reasoning for connecting with Shadow despite, provide yet another potential avenue for the film to lose focus.
However, if they wish to give her a new origin based in the live-action universe, such a decision would render her role superfluous.
Lacking Sonic’s instruction from Longclaw or Tails’ know how, it’s unsure how Amy would know to come to Earth, much less gain easy access to the Rings.
It’s also difficult to think of how the film could tell a story that truly distinguishes such a version of Amy as her own unique character. If she was somehow already in hiding on Earth, her arc would lend itself to a retreading of Sonic’s own story.
If she develops a crush on Sonic, she runs the risk of running aground of Tails’ idolization of the hero. She could potentially act as a third parallel to Sonic and Shadow with her own experiences on Earth, but that route risks muddying the plot’s focus.
Her attitude was also created in the image of what could, at least in the 90s when she was first introduced in Sonic CD, be deemed a typical teenage girl, boasting crushes on boys, a love of fashion, a taste for sweets, and -though admittedly mentioned only in instruction manuals – fad interests such as tarot reading or fortune telling as definitive parts of her personality.
While the confusing discrepancy of how someone flung onto an alien world would struggle to find the time to enjoy these interests could easily be explained with a personality change, creating an entirely new personality for her still bears the risk of her character ending up too similar to others, regardless of how she’s played.
So while fans may be clamoring for her live-action debut, the fact that her role could be filled by practically any character doesn’t bode well for Sonic’s number one Piko-Piko hammer wielding fan girl – especially as, like Rouge, she’d have to be crowbar’d into the plot.
Speaking of which…
Live & Learn
Given the opportunity, we fans can sit here and argue on and on about which characters will or won’t appear or who does or doesn’t serve any potential plot, but at the end of the day, what most of us are sure to be rabid over is whether or not the film will feature any tracks from Crush 40.
A little hard rock, a little glam rock, and all ridiculously funky bass lines, the J-rock band provided the vocal tracks for both Sonic Adventure games, including their respective themes.
The Sonic films haven’t really touched on the video game’s soundtracks. Even in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where the production team had the perfect opportunity to use the series’ recognizable drowning jingle, team members have stated in interviews that they instead opted for the sounds of a typical movie soundtrack in order to better convey the weight of the scene.
Depending on just how much the third Sonic film takes from Sonic Adventure 2, the replacement of such iconic tracks as Escape from the City and Live & Learn with the typical orchestral swells of Hollywood would be a bitter pill for fans to swallow.
Thankfully, Casey and Miller have stated that they are fully aware of fans’ hopes for a Sonic the Hedgehog 3 soundtrack appearance from Crush 40.
To this end, the pair opined that as the film was early in production, they couldn’t rule out the possibility that some fans’ dreams may come true.
Though the in-your-face and energetic feel of songs such as Live & Learn have regularly been proven to be well-received amongst audiences, as seen particularly in anime and tokusatsu productions, if the Sonic 3 production team is too afraid to fully commit to the hedgehog’s early stages of overt anime influence, the least they could do is offer a concession.
The Sonic Adventure 2 soundtrack is no stranger to music-only renditions of its vocal tracks. As such, I’d argue that the film could at least make use of the popular and officially produced rockestral version of Live & Learn regularly used by Sega across their various productions.
For example, it was used as the concluding track to the Sonic 30th Anniversary Symphony performance, as the theme of Sonic’s reveal trailer for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in a cameo appearance in the original Japanese cut of Sonic X’s adaption of the Sonic Adventure 2 story, and even as Shadow’s boss battle theme in Sonic Generations.
While it’s far more likely we’ll get one of Crush 40’s iconic tunes over the film’s assumed-to-be-animated credits, given the overwhelmingly positive reception to the various edits fans have made replacing the actual music featured in Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s finale with boss music from his video game outings, the filmmakers may need to bite the bullet and endure some quizzical mainstream reactions to the blaring energy of a full Live & Learn-backed finale.
The Tail End of the Chili Dog
Obviously, not everything from Sonic Adventure 2 is going to be seen in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, especially in light of the series’ thus far consistently lean runtime.
If I had to place my bets, I’d say things like the visually nonsensical Pumpkin Hill (by Earth’s standards), Robotnik hiding out in a giant pyramid, or enemies like King Boom Boo or the Egg Golem won’t be required.
I’d also guess that the ‘walkers’ used by Tails and Robotnik in the game may also be dropped, possibly in favor of a less CGI intensive laser weapon for the former and simpler mech-suit for the latter.
On the other hand, with GUN’s implied importance to the plot of the next film, Prison Island – where stages such as Metal Harbor, Iron Gate, and Security Hall take place – may appear as a central location. Even more so if Sonic is captured.
Further, if GUN get their hands on Sonic or the Emerald, or both, their rescue would provide the perfect excuse for Shadow and co. to raid the island and blow it up, just as they did in the game.
Their capture of an Emerald would also go a long way in justifying a potential Rouge appearance.
In fact, the plot could easily progress through Green Hills, through the streets of San Francisco (City Escape’s inspiration), and across Prison Island, before ending aboard the ARK.
It might be a little hard to argue GUN using a giant truck to chase down Sonic without reprimand from their superiors, but sometimes the rule of cool can let you get away with things.
The use of the Chaos Emeralds as a power source for the ARK cannon would require the Master Emerald to be shattered once again, so I doubt we’ll retread this ground.
However, we may still get the ‘fake Emerald’ bluff and double bluff, which in turn would make Sonic’s subsequent attempt to use Chaos Control for himself – setting up his climactic team-up moment with Shadow at the game’s finale – all but guaranteed.
If Robotnik were to threaten the world with the ARK cannon, we’re sure to see the mass panic and riots that follow. It would even give the human characters something to do. A rousing speech from Tom would be sure to get the people to have faith in his adoptive blue son. (He’ll probably punch someone again as well.)
We’re also sure to get plenty of sly references and Easter eggs scattered throughout. Maybe even a certain real-time adlibbed fan dub that received 14 million views and became a meme? The first work-safe line, at least.
“In each new Sonic movie, as long as the people got the appetite for them, we’ll keep adding yet another person from the game universe,” Miller told the Klamath Community College students.
With faith like that, it seems we may have plenty of stories to come. Whatever the writers have in store, we’ll have to wait until 2024 to see Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
How do you hope Sonic the Hedgehog 3 adapts the lore of Sonic Adventure 2? Do you agree or disagree with our analysis? Let us know what you think on social media and in the comments below.