The first trailer for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie definitely got people talking…just probably not the way the studio intended. Reaction to Sonic’s design—his muscular legs, his regularly-proportioned head, his teeth—was swift, loud, and overwhelmingly negative. The filmmakers heard the cries of the masses, and they responded with action, as director Jeff Fowler tweeted a few days after the trailer’s release that they would be working to tweak the design of the character:
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
When the look of your movie’s main character has to be changed, though, that’s not a small task, and Fowler tweeted today that as a result the release date for the movie is being pushed back to next year:
— Jeff Fowler (@fowltown) May 24, 2019
“Taking a little more time to make Sonic just right,” Fowler tweeted, along with a hashtag that refers to concerns about visual effects artists having enough time to make the character changes before the film’s release. An accompanying image indicates the new release date will be February 14th, 2020, three months later than the originally-scheduled release date of November 2019.
The delay is undoubtedly a good thing for the VFX artists working on the movie, who have been tasked not only with completing their already-scheduled work but also with going back and redoing work they thought they’d already completed. The extra time will hopefully allow them to do it all without completely losing their minds.
Mostly this whole situation feels to me like it sets a bad precedent. We already have people creating petitions online to redo movies and shows they don’t like; this feels like an extension of that, except in this case the filmmakers are actually spending money and making changes based on those complaints. Some might see that as a good thing; I personally do not. But then, I have no great attachment to Sonic myself (When I was in fourth grade I decided to save up to buy a Sega Genesis, but after saving around $30 I realized how many comics I could buy with that money; I never did get a Sega.), so the initial trailer didn’t offend me as strongly as it did others. I saw the trailer again recently, this time on a big screen before seeing Detective Pikachu, and I actually didn’t hate the look of Sonic. It’s jarring, this blue creature running around in a real world with live-action humans, and I think it’s going to be jarring regardless of what the final design of the character is.
Sonic the Hedgehog is now set to open on February 14th, 2020.