This year's Sonic the Hedgehog film has not been getting a lot of positive buzz. Although no footage has been released, the design of the character is another story. Recently, a film style guide for the film leaked, and according to Sonic fan-site TSSZ, the images were indeed from a real marketing company. While not awful, the design is still disliked by many. Some fans have taken it upon themselves to see if they can improve upon it.
In this article's header image above, you can see the work of a Twitter artist named LadyGT. The Sonic on the right is clearly recognizable as the modern Sonic design we've come to know, starting with 1998's Sonic Adventure. The artist keeps the fur, but makes the overall look more accurate to the character. LadyGT also did a piece on the film's style guide image.
Another Sonic edit! This time I wanted to test the "separated eyes" concept the movie design has, so I only applied small changes to the eyes shape and nose. What do you guys think? #SonicMovie #SonicTheHedgehog pic.twitter.com/Y4sQilWxva— LadyGT【嬢子愛】 (@LadyGT_DA) March 6, 2019
In this case, the eyes are the same as the film's - in that they are separated into two. But you'll notice the subtle differences: the white is larger, and Sonic's pupils are oval as opposed to circular, which would be accurate to his video game self. The nose is also made more accurate to his game self. These are small edits, but it shows how easy it is to make the film's version of Sonic more appealing to fans.
Let's take a look at another fan rendition, this time from IGN's Tom Marks.
I've seen a few people say that the leaked movie Sonic's style isn't the real problem, it's just that he's missing Sonic's signature eyes.— Tom Marks (@TomRMarks) March 5, 2019
So I made that.
For your consideration, with fur, brow style, and even iris placement unchanged, here's how classic sonic eyes would look: pic.twitter.com/mjqngd4W11
In this case, the eyes are fully based off of the video game version of the character. It's definitely iconic, but it appears Paramount wanted to go with a more realistic take on a hedgehog character. But, all one has to do is look at LadyGT's work, and see that it's possible to retain the two separate eyes while also making Sonic resemble his game self. Also, as seen in the header, Sonic's movie hands are incredibly small in comparison to the games. His hands also appear to be naturally white, as opposed to wearing gloves.
Paramount appears to be attempting to make a Sonic as he would appear in the real-world. But, the question has to be asked: is that a necessary thing? Sonic is one of the most iconic characters in popular culture, and his design is part of that. It's not like he hasn't interacted with humans, because in games such as Sonic Adventure and Shadow the Hedgehog, humans coexist with these characters. To many fans, it seems like Paramount is unnecessarily redesigning the character. No footage for Sonic has been released, however, so it's possible that this redesign will work. We'll have to wait and see. The film releases in eight months, so a trailer should be coming in the near future.
Sonic the Hedgehog will be released in theaters on November 8th, 2019.