HEDGE-HOGGING OUR BETS ON A SONIC MOVIE!
We all played the games, back in the day. It’s taken a LONG time, surprisingly so, for Hollywood to cash in. But don’t worry..the spiky speedster is catching up. Fast! Here is the update.
A Look at the Upcoming Live-Action Sonic the Hedgehog Movie
Sonic is back! After the hugely successful release of the Sonic Forces video game last year, which saw almost 15 million unit sales within the first months, a live-action movie is now officially in the works. Sonic has been resurgent over the past few years, with the Sega game series having undergone something of a creative renaissance with their most recent releases. The franchise is definitely on a winning streak, and this movie looks set to be one of the most talked-about releases of the year, owing largely to a supersize budget and star-studded cast.
The film is currently slated for release sometime in late 2019 (with current word on the street being that November is when it will hit screens in the US), and it hasn’t failed to stir up plenty of discussion and debate. Let’s have a look at what we can expect from the first official live action Sonic the Hedgehog movie, and what this tells us about the future of one of video gaming’s most successful and widely-known characters.
What We Know
While facts are thin on the ground at the moment, there’s a few concrete details that we do have. The US media magazine Variety reported recently that Hollywood mega-studio Paramount managed to acquire movie rights for the franchise back in 2017 after a series of long and protracted negotiations with Sega. There is estimated to be millions and millions of dollars riding on this project, so Paramount obviously has a lot of faith that audiences with a nostalgic sweet spot and affection for retro video games will come flocking in droves.
It was also recently reported that the star of the HBO sci-fi smash hit Westworld, James Marsden (also of 30 Rock and Modern Family fame) has been booked to star in the film, playing the little blue guy himself. More details on the cast have been quite hard to come by, but the most exciting tidbit we’ve been blessed with is the revelation that the American comedy legend Jim Carrey has signed on to play the pot-bellied arch nemesis of Sonic and the gang; Dr Eggman. We also know that the director of the critically acclaimed Deadpool, Tim Miller, has just recently signed on as executive producer, which we couldn’t be more thrilled about.
Little else is known about who else is involved, but so far things are looking good, and it’s hard to picture someone better placed to bring the incoherent rants and hilarious features of Dr Eggman to life than Jim Carrey himself. Appointing Miller as exec producer also indicates that the film will be more than typical happy-go-lucky Sonic, and that we can expect plenty of grit and edge alongside humour in this release.
The Story So Far
The popularity of the franchise is well-known, but there’s been plenty of speculation as to why Paramount would decide at this moment to invest so heavily in a Sonic the Hedgehog movie. The sustained success of the franchise is down to many factors, but one of the most telling is a collective resurgence of nostalgia for 80s and 90s culture that has swept through millennial generations.
Thanks to the release of the hugely successful Nintendo SNES classic mini console, which the company itself describes as “retro perfection”, and where players can enjoy classic 90s titles like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, the world has woken up to just how strong the appetite for 90s nostalgia really is. Retro gaming is arguably more popular than any other form.
The smartphone app game Pokemon Gois a crash course in Gameboy Colour old-school gaming, and still managed to rack up over 100 million downloads and $287 million in revenues within the first year of release. Even in casino gaming, nostalgia is all the rage. In 2018, major online casinos like Betway now offer nostalgia-inducing, retro-themed slot games such as Jurassic Park or Crazy Taxi. Our collective nostalgia frenzy is evident beyond the world of gaming too; some of the biggest TV successes this year have been 80s-themed hits like Stranger Things and the uber-90s revival of Twin Peaks.
Could it be dissatisfaction with life in 2018, or simply a fashion development, which has driven us to retromania? Whatever the reason, big studios like Paramount and games developers like Nintendo clearly see a massive market potential here, and you can bet the Sonic movie will be absolutely dripping in nostalgia and cheeky 90s throwback references.
Now it’s just a waiting game. It’s worth noting that later this year, about exactly one year before the expected release of the film, there will be another Sonic video game. The Sega brand manager recently remarked in an interview that fans can expect to be enjoying a new Sonic video game before the year is out, but declined to give more info.
Speculation has naturally formed into a frenzy, with commentators guessing that the next release could be a Sonic Adventures reboot, a new Sonic Racing title, or even a sequel to the hugely successful 2017 release Sonic Mania – although, it might be a little soon for that.
Whatever happens, we know that Sonic is back and better than ever, and certainly won’t be fading from our attention any time soon. The next year or so will see us drowning in Sonic content, and it remains to be seen whether this will pay off for Sega.