Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Director Opens Up On Casting Choices, Backlash, and Favorite In-Film Easter Egg - Prima Games

Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Director Opens Up On Casting Choices, Backlash, and Favorite In-Film Easter Egg

by Liana Ruppert

The Sonic the Hedgehog movie was initially met with trepidation when the original design first made its grand debut, but the studio made a quick turnaround and wound up with a success story that Sonic fans could enjoy. Though the movie was based around the character, and not so much from the angle of a game adaptation, that didn’t stop the team from including some incredible Easter eggs for Sonic fans to spot. When Prima Games had a chance to speak with Sonic the Hedgehog movie director Jeff Fowler, he revealed his most treasured Easter egg that fans could spot in the film in addition to talking about the backlash and the chemistry of the cast. 

“There was one scene I really enjoyed and that was when Sonic was doing his little nun chuck gag, hey, I just thought it’d be kind of cute to give him a little headband,” reveals Fowler to Prima Games. “Like a Daniel LaRusso Karate Kid sort of style headband and we needed something to put on the front, and so we ended up the opening title with the title screen with that sort of medallion that has the big wings on it.”

But the movie, he also tells us, was more of honoring the character, not so much the games, as the main objective, meaning they didn’t want to be too literal when it came to many of the references. Fowler adds, “We just thought it’d be kind of a really fun nod to the original game and of course you had to take  Sonic out of the photo because that’s where he originally kind of popped up. So anyway, I liked the idea, just because it came really late in the process and we put it in that second trailer and everybody kind of picked up on it immediately. That I enjoyed. Stuff like that, that’s not so on the nose and obvious, but it’s something that the fans really enjoy when they see it.”

There were a lot of aspects of the film that really showed a tribute to how much love this team has for the character, despite early worries when the first design was originally leaked. Fowler also tells us, when talking about the initial movie’s reaction, that the world wasn’t quite ready for a live-action take, which is where the original aesthetic came to play, and the juxtaposition between Sonic as we know him and what he could potentially look like with a more realistic appearance came into play. Fowler tells us that, at the time this film was in production, it was simply too overwhelming for a franchise that has been so well-known for such a long time. 

“That was always going to be very tricky,” Fowler reveals when talking about that disconnect between the original design and fans. “Just because you have an idea, you’re showing Sonic in a way he’s never been seen, which is in a realistic, live-action, horror movie. And this had [never] been attempted. So, the difficulty factor was very high, but the second time is the charm, right?”

Luckily, he tells us that the redesign, though a massive effort, didn’t impact the story at all, making it easier to slot in those changes received by passionate fans without distorting the original vision for how the story plays out. Actors James Marsden and Jim Carrey also played a pivotal role in the positive reception that the Sonic the Hedgehog movie saw once it hit the box office with a chemistry with Sonic actor Ben Schwartz that Fowler himself calls a “genie in the bottle” recipe. 

“I can joke about it now,” Fowler admits when talking about the negative backlash their first design received, “I might not have been quite in such a laughing mood back when it first happened, but we were open to change and were give a chance to think through it, as a filmmaker, that’s what you do.” 

Through redesign pivots to the Fowler and the team showing love for this series’ history without overshadowing the story’s purpose, they did an incredible job when bringing the magic of Sonic to the big screen in a way that was original while still offering a lovely tribute to a franchise that means the world to so many. You can experience the magic for yourself because the Sonic the Hedgehog movie is available for digital purchase now and arrives on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD on May 19th!