Here’s why Sonic the Hedgehog 2 could be that rare thing of a sequel that improves upon the original. The early signs for Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog movie weren’t especially positive. The movie absolutely had to nail Sonic’s look, but the titular hedgehog’s initial design was widely lambasted on social media, and continues to haunt the dreams of SEGA fans to this day. Despite a much-improved redesign, expectations still weren’t high for Sonic the Hedgehog‘s big screen debut. This was, after all, a video game adaptation aimed firmly at a family-friendly audience.
Ultimately, Sonic the Hedgehog was far better than it had any right to be. Benefiting from being one of the few films actually released on a big screen in 2020, Sonic the Hedgehog overcame the juvenile humor and basic story to deliver a fun and frantic hour-and-a-half that neatly paid homage to the original video games. Jim Carrey was on fine form, the vocal talents of Ben Schwartz made rooting for Sonic easy, and Sonic the Hedgehog succeeded by never taking itself too seriously or trying to be something it wasn’t. With a box office haul to match the mostly positive reviews, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is now confirmed for 2022.
Production is in the very early stages, but initial details suggest Sonic the Hedgehog 2 could speed past the original in a blur of blue and red. Firstly, there’s an influx of exciting new characters joining Sonic for his 2022 sequel. After appearing at the end of the first film, Miles “Tails” Prower will feature fully in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, while the no-nonsense scarlet echidna Knuckles is also heavily rumored. In a deviation from the video games, Tails and Knuckles both seem to be connected to Sonic’s origin story before he crossed over to Earth, and this could fix one of Sonic the Hedgehog‘s biggest criticisms – the plot. Where the 2020 effort was found lacking in the story department, a proper exploration of Sonic’s background alongside his two most famous allies can form a more interesting premise for Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
The icing on the cake is the evolution of Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik. Introduced shortly after Sonic first makes contact with humans, Robotnik isn’t quite the video game villain fans know and love, but Carrey is transformed in Sonic the Hedgehog‘s final moments, becoming the authentic Robotnik just in time for the follow-up. Assuming Carrey is back in 2022, Dr. Robotnik will be even more overblown and much closer to his video game counterpart, probably bringing his mechanized animals along too.
Another major drawback of Sonic the Hedgehog‘s cinematic breakout was the ridiculously overt product placement. While in-film advertising is rapidly becoming common practice, the constant presence of a certain restaurant was a glaring distraction. Since this was likely caused by Paramount spending extra cash on redesigning Sonic from scratch (and we’d much rather suffer iffy product placement than that unholy Sonic design), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 shouldn’t feel like an extended commercial for a free salad bar. If the prospect of better storytelling, more characters, and less adverts wasn’t enough, the tone of Sonic the Hedgehog 2‘s official announcement is reason for optimism in itself. The Tweet willingly poked fun at Sonic the Hedgehog 2‘s “extremely obvious” title, which hopefully means the sequel will continue the self-awareness that helped the original rise above the usual crop of disappointing video game movies.
As a sequel to a kids’ movie based on a video game, there are many, many reasons Sonic the Hedgehog 2 should be about as much fun as looking for air bubbles in the Labyrinth Zone. But after surprising audiences in 2020, Sonic is in a much stronger position heading into the sequel, with new characters and a better story ready to be told.