Keyboard warriors get a ton of flak for being all talk and no action. But as Sonic’s redesign has shown us, internet backlash is a force to be reckoned with.
ICYMI: The original Sonic character design horrified fans
Now, any attempt to breathe new life into a beloved ’90s franchise will always be a huge undertaking, so the people behind the movie were bound to step on some toes. But when the first trailer for the much-awaited Sonic the Hedgehog live action movie came out earlier this year, it didn’t just piss off the most rabid fans, but made waves all over the internet—for all the wrong reasons.
Why? He looked like this:
The internet, understandably, didn’t appreciate how the iconic video game character suddenly looked like it had crawled out of uncanny valley, complete with human-like teeth, skinny yet weirdly muscular legs, white-furred hands (instead of gloves), and an actual butt.
Now, we all know that lot of hard work goes into animation and character design, but we just couldn’t wrap our heads around how multiple people looked at this initial design and thought, “Yup, this looks good.”
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Sonic went back to the drawing board #GottaFixFast
In a surprising move, the folks behind the movie actually listened to the fans. The movie was slated for a November 2019 release, but after the internet’s visceral reactions, Paramount Pictures pushed back the release date so it could fix the design.
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 at Paramount & Sega are fully committed to making this character the BEST he can be… #sonicmovie #gottafixfast 🔧✌️
— Jeff Fowler (@fowltown) May 2, 2019
Not everybody was happy with the redesign announcement
If there’s anything we should learn from trawling social media feeds all day, it’s that public opinion is like the changing tides (i.e. wishy-washy AF). After the studio announced that they were going to push back the release date so they could rework the design, some people were less than enthused—but in all fairness, for good reason. After all, reworking an entire feature film in just a few months would take a huge toll on the animators.
“Even if in principle I agree with the idea of changing Sonic’s design, it’s not something I can support if the result is going to be at the very human cost on the wellbeing of animators working on this project,” one Otaquest article read. “Give me those human-like legs and teeth any day if it avoids the potentially damage fixing it looks like it is going to cause. ”
Then the trailer dropped
What we love about the new character design
The best thing about Sonic’s new design is that we actually recognize him. The teardrop-shaped eyes are back. He’s got less teeth. He’s wearing gloves. And his body isn’t weirdly human-like anymore. This design is so much better that it makes us wonder why it wasn’t like this in the first place, but what’s done is done, and at least it’s fixed now.
We still don’t know if the movie will be any good (but judging from the trailer, it does look like a lot of fun), but at least we can all watch it without wanting to gouge our eyes out. Some have even said that this was all a marketing stunt, but let’s just nip that ridiculous conspiracy theory in the bud, shall we?
Its insane to me that people think they made a terrible Sonic trailer to sell a different Sonic trailer instead of the idea that bosses make mad decisions and then make it everyone else’s problem.
— Erica Henderson (@EricaFails) November 13, 2019
Remember: With great power comes great responsibility.
Sonic’s redesign shows that criticism can be powerful. But there’s a fine line between criticism and harassment, and we should be mindful about that. In other words, let’s voice our opinion, but let’s not bully creators into giving us what we want.
So it’s been brought to my attention that people are using the Sonic redesign situation as a justification for harassment of Ga*eFr*ak? I really hate some of y’all.
— D.J. Kirkland (@OhHeyDJ) November 13, 2019
youd think the controversy around the sonic movie original design and pokemon sword would help people understand how capitalism holds back artistic visions but instead people just yell at crunched creators
— tiffany (@Fracktail) November 13, 2019
(Sidenote: Can we talk about Jim Carrey?)
Even those who violently hated the initial trailer had to admit that they were low-key psyched to see Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. That sentiment hasn’t changed.
Can we all agree that (aside from Sonic’s redesign) Jim Carrey is gonna be the absolute fucking highlight of the Sonic movie
— ✨Floop is tired ✨ (@FloopLoopz) November 12, 2019
The movie also features James Marsden and Ben Schwartz (aka Jean Raphio), who voices the titular character.
Our main takeaway: Let’s all see Sonic.
— No Nut R🌰zkie 🍂 (@RozkieSan) November 13, 2019
Sonic the Hedgehog comes out on February 14, 2020. Mark your calendars, see you at the cinemas.
How do you feel about the new Sonic design? Let us know in the comments below!