First-time director Jeff Fowler has addressed that Sonic the Hedgehog design controversy and admitted he expected the “knee-jerk reaction” from fans regarding the titular character’s original design.
If you’re a gaming/film nerdy type like me, then you’ll know the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie hasn’t exactly had the easiest ride.
For those that don’t know, Sonic filmmakers faced a wave of negative comments when they released the first trailer for the film in April 2019, as they revealed a rather peculiar interpretation of the character.
If you didn’t see it, check it out:
Then, in a surprising move for any Hollywood movie, the studio publicly announced that, based on fans’ negative feedback, it would be redesigning the character to more closely resemble the hedgehog we all know and love.
Fowler even tweeted at the time:
“Thank you for the support. And the criticism. The message is loud and clear… you aren’t happy with the design & you want changes. It’s going to happen. Everyone & Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be… #sonicmovie #gottafixfast.”
The decision resulted in the film being delayed by six months, costing the studio a reported $5 million.
After several months of reanimation, however, the new version of Sonic was unveiled in a new trailer and people seemed to be much happier with it.
Talking about the initial criticisms, Fowler spoke to The Hook about how he dealt with the backlash and why he ultimately decided to listen to fans.
“It was so one-sided.
“There was not a lot of debate; the fans were all saying the same thing, which is: ‘We want you guys to do better’.
“The message was so clear.
“There was very little discussion on our side; I mean with the studio, and everyone involved, we just knew we had to do this.”
“The design was going to need more detail; it was going to need things like fur, which we’d never seen on Sonic before.
“I knew there would be a knee-jerk reaction from fans, because it’s just new.
“It would take some time to get used to.
“So yeah, I definitely knew that that was going to be a challenge and that it was just going to have to be something we work through and figure out.”
The move definitely looks to have paid off as the new character is a vast improvement on the ever-so-slightly disturbing version they initially created.
The new movie tells the story of the world’s speediest hedgehog, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) as he embraces his new home on Earth. Alongside his new bestie Tom (James Marsden), Sonic must defend the planet from the evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and his plans for world domination.
The film is worth a watch purely for Jim Carrey’s electric performance as the villainous Dr. Robotnik, who comes across as an eclectic mix of almost every legendary character the actor has ever played.
Seriously, Robotnik is truly mad – even for a Jim Carrey character.
Speaking about landing Jim Carrey for the role, Fowler added:
“With Jim Carrey, we were shooting for the moon.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think he would say yes to this, but he did. I think the fans are going to go absolutely crazy when they see what he did with the character.
“I think they’re going to love it.”
Sonic the Hedgehog is in cinemas now and if Jim Carrey’s not enough of a sell for you, then let me remind you of this little guy…
Images via Paramount, Saga, Getty and Twitter
Having worked in children's media and publishing for almost a decade, Ben is thoroughly excited to now be able to swear in stories and features. He is such a big fan of Disney and Horror films that he started an LGBTQ+ podcast called 'Once Upon A Scream'. His mum listens. You can contact Ben at [email protected] Twitter: @PulsfordBen / Instagram: @thebenmidlerFollow