The Sonic Character Redesign

By Brian Kim, Staff Writer

First premiered in April 30th, 2019, the original character design for Sonic in the movie Sonic The Hedgehog received major backlash from the gaming and movie enthusiast communities. It was viewed as a creepy, awkward, and unsettling composition for a cartoon character. Many twitter artists joined the uproar and redesigned the character themselves with visual effects or just drawing concepts, which went viral. The Sonic movie had built itself to be a massive joke among the internet until Jeff Fowler, one of the main visual effects artists that is working on the film, had announced that both Paramount and Sega would work to redesign the character due to the harsh criticism and displeasure of fans.

Then, on November 12th, Paramount Pictures released their new trailer, with many features of the original Sonic tweaked to make it look more traditional. Features like larger eyes, skinnier legs, pointier nose, gloves, puffier shoes, and less defined teeth all came from the new lead designer for the movie, Tyson Hesse. Hesse has worked with graphic novels, most commonly Sonic the Hedgehog, and was also the animation director for Sonic Mania. By choosing Tyson for this specific position, Paramount definitely pleased the community. Not only did people like the new design and give loads of positive reactions, but Paramount themselves gained a lot of respect for listening to suggestions from watchers and fans, which is unique, since very few movie studios actually change from negative feedback and fan complaints.

Not all of the actual shots for the movie were completed after the trailer was released. Rumors on Twitter spread that the redesign cost almost 35 million dollars in total for VFX work. However, since the entire movie wasn’t actually completed, it totaled to less than 5 million dollars on the VFX team to work throughout the delay. This long wait pushed the movie’s release date to Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2020.

Although the budget for the movie has increased significantly due to the changes, Jeff Fowler and the rest of the studio aren’t worried. Another rumor that surrounds the movie is that they are pulling a “Coca-Cola scheme,” where they make the first release unpleasant, so it would make the second one look better. Many fans are promising to watch the movie just to support how Paramount Pictures actually fixed their character based on disapproval of the first trailer.