Sonic Movie Director: “You Want Changes. It’s Going To Happen”

Jeff Fowler, Director of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, has today acknowledged the largely negative feedback the movie trailer has received over the last 48 hours.

In a tweet today, Fowler states

“Thank you for the support. And the critisism. 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…”

It is currently unclear as to what extent the character will, or indeed can be changed, with less than 8 months left until the film releases.

This is not the first time that a movie character’s design has been altered in a movie due to fan backlash; the first Michael Bay Transformers movie received similar treatment in which Megatron, the main antagonist of the movie, saw alterations after complaints from fans that his appearance was too far from the source material (thanks for the reminder, @TransistorSynd on twitter!).

More Sonic the Hedgehog movie news as it comes!

Published by

Adam Tuff

With a decade under his belt, Adam is one of The Sonic Stadium's most seasoned writers, with interests in the music and merchandise of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. Adam is the co-organiser for the Summer of Sonic convention.

24 Comments

  1. I call bullshit This is 7 months till release…. 7 Months! You’ll need to delay the film till at least next Spring! That’s gonna whack another $10-20Million on the budget to change the design in all of Sonics scenes! The morons had the negativity from decking December to do this but they disnt. They lied to us saying the leaks we’re fake, They werent. This is damage control 101.

  2. Loads of people will now be expecting a major overhaul of the character design.

    That won’t happen: it’ll be minor tweaks at best. But maybe that’ll be enough.

    1. I was messing around with it in photoshop last night. Just making his mussel a little larger and more rounded takes away a lot of the uncanny valley look. Any change away from uncanny would be an improvement

    2. Hopefully they’ll make the eyes a bit bigger and fix the teeth. I think the reason why Sonic has a big eyeball is because it gives him more expression.

    3. Yeah, I saw some changes to Movie design and those were enough to make it better. It leaned a bit to the cartoony-side, but remained realistic πŸ™‚ for me it was nice balance πŸ˜‰

  3. This movie needs MORE than just remaking Sonic’s image. It needs a TOTAL overhaul. Here’s a few ideas from me:

    – Re-write the script so that it might be original OR pass as a film adaptation of one of the video games (if possible)
    – Contact SEGA of America (or WHOMEVER) to ask for them to animate this movie with the same graphics as their games
    – Hire the current voice actors of the video game characters or at least any of their OLD voice actors (like Mike Pollock as Eggman, Jason Griffin as Sonic)
    – Add MORE of Sonic’s characters to this world than just Sonic and Eggman
    – Hire CRUSH 40 to write a new song fit solely for this movie

    1. What you’re asking for isn’t an overhaul. What you’re asking is for Sega and Paramount to throw out the entire movie, wasting tens of millions of dollars in the process, and somehow find the budget to make an entirely new movie that only fits what you want.

      Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like the way this movie’s been going either, but I’m not calling for the entire thing to be scrapped. I’m simply not going to watch it.

    2. Agreed but it will be hard to redo it all sadly.

      BUT they can replace bens bland awful sonic voice with either Roger Craig Smith or one of the originals as that only takes re-recording and that has happened before in films.

      I dislike bens sonic voice mainly cause it doesn’t fit and Ben’s just doing his normal voice so it feels as if someone’s dubbing it as a fandub

  4. They’ll add gloves, and maybe some fangs behind those gross, human lips.

    At the end of the day, the wrong people are still in charge. Short of cancelling the whole project and releasing an animated film, they will most definitely fail to make Sonic’s first theatrical release worth watching.

  5. I don’t get it. I don’t get how people can complain so much about a character’s design. Can’t you just accept change? I feel like you’re all stuck living in the past.
    Are you seriously telling me that the movie sucks because… of how Sonic’s MOUTH looks? His HEAD SHAPE is wrong? For God’s sake, his spines look weird? WHat? listen to yourselves, people! None of this stuff is going to affect the story! You should care only about what affects the story, not about nitpicky stuff that doesn’t matter!

    Besides, these are all just your OPINIONS. Just because you dislike the movie’s design, doesn’t mean people don’t have the right to like it. How can you try to take it away from them, and feel good about yourselves? It feels petty, mean, and entitled. Some children are going to grow up on this. This will be THEIR Sonic. It’s meant for the new generation; not for you.

    It’s true what they say: this fanbase is unpleasable. This has never been so obvious as right now. You all seriously need to take off the nostalgia glasses, grow up, stop complaining and just enjoy it for what it is, because it’s better than NO movie at all.

    1. The way a character looks, emotes, and moves is a very important part of telling a story, as the same line can be given a very different impact by small changes to a character’s expression and/or body language.

      Also, stop with the rhetoric about how critical fans are ‘stealing’ this Sonic from people who like it. They’re not stealing anything from anybody: they’re simply expressing their opinions, and their opinions have just as much right to be heard as yours.

    2. You can’t see how happy I’m to see somebody with an open mind πŸ™‚

      Yeah, teeth, mouth, and the eyes would use some tweaks. I actually love the back-quills. He looks more like a hedgehog instead of two. It’s not about the details but how the whole design/model works together. The sparks are a nice touch. He is still cheeky, cheesy, one-liners-pun shooting hedgehog πŸ˜€ That’s what I like about him more.

      Story-wise… Sheesh, all Sonic’s games are about him saving the planet. Not to mention tons of games have the same basic plot and does anybody complain? No. What it matters. Maybe we should just stop making movies, books or anything since all/most of them are about saving something.

      It’s not the end, but the road that leads to it that makes the story πŸ˜‰

      And I agree – If this was the first Sonic’s design you would see, wouldn’t you see the Game one as a downgrade?

      I’m an example of a similar scenario. My first Astro Boy was 2003 version. I loved Atlas, and I love his 2003 design. Seeing his previous designs… I don’t like them. And it doesn’t matter how much they are “originals” πŸ˜‰

    3. I don’t take issue with change mate. I’ve grown up with several iterations of Sonic, from classic, to model and even Boom. Whether it’s the games, the cartoons and despite me not reading them, even the comics, I’ve had nothing bad to say about Sonic’s design in each of those iterations. There are some things I’ve questioned along the way regarding minor changes like his height, spine length and fur color in some modern titles but I could live with that.

      Sonic in regards to his CGI look across the games had been fairly consistent from Secret Rings to present because the same studio was responsible for most if not all those cinematics. Marza Animation Planet have credits for creating the CG in Sonic Unleashed, Colors, Generations and the trailers of Sonic Forces, with Anima inc. being responsible for Secret Rings and Black Knight. Due to the former’s involvement with this film, I was expecting a somewhat detailed update to Sonic’s design so he’d feel more tangible on the big screen.

      The other studio known for doing Sonic Cinematics is Blur Studio known for their game trailers, shorts, cinematics and so on. They were responsible for the CG cutscenes in both Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 06, which despite the quality of the games in question were probably the most faithful representations of those characters and their designs in those games. That studio is headed up by Tim Miller of Deadpool fame and he is the executive producer of the Sonic Film.

      It may be just my thinking but if a studio has paramount experience in adapting characters to either realistic (Blur) or stylised (Marza) settings, the result should be reasonably well done and well received by the audience. If children young and old and those that have grown up with the character you’re adapting look at it and are angry with the design they see, it’s reasonable to believe that it’s not going to work.

      It’s a bit of a half and half situation of course since some people do like the film design and that’s okay but while a film’s success is not defined by its visual effects, if the film is dependent on such for its characters then you may want to make sure that the audience finds that design consistently appealing when they’re paying to watch it for at least an hour and a half.

      While I am in the park of people who want the design changed, I admit fully that we’re not easily pleased as fans. That much you’re right about. Children will probably grow up with this design and I won’t deny them that, I just think it’s something to consider. We all want Sonic as a series to do well and have different ideas of what that entails but there needs to be some consistency in how it’s treated at some point.

      All that said, I don’t hate this design, there are some things I like about it that they’ve experimented with but there is a lot riding on what happens with the character in the next six months. Given how long the character design, rigging, animation and rendering pipeline takes its unlikely that the design will change as much as many of us are expecting anyway.

    4. If this were a book that would hold some weigh but this is a visual medium and to say the visuals are inconsequential is just inaccurate.

      This is a sonic for all generations not just the newer fans and why would they need a redesigned sonic in the first place?

    5. I`m agree here. I think the live-action Sonic is NOT based on the Game Sonic, but on the american SatAM/Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog. Since Sonic tell his friend he is from a another world, must that be Mobius. Then is Sonic a creature from a different world in the same universe as us, a mobian. Mobians is anthropomorphic animals, with human-like body parts and is fundamentally different from the earthly animals if Sonic is from a another world with different evolution. So the hedgehog is not a hedgehog, only from a different world.

      Fowler did a bad thing since he could wait a few more days, but he panicked. Not good. But; the teeth is not good, that is for much details, too precise, so more work is needed.

  6. Well that’s a shame, I actually liked the design. How is this going to work with all the toys and other stuff they were making? If Sonic’s getting a redesign, they’ll have to change those as well.

    1. I imagine the merch is all still in the prototype stage, meaning design changes won’t have too big an impact. Nevertheless, I’m not expecting any major overhaul of the character design: I’m expecting a few tweaks to try and make what they have gel better.

      1. I didn’t think about that, in that case, it should be fine. And yeah, I don’t think they’ll fully change his design this far into development.

  7. Honestly I thought the design could grow on me but I’m happy there will be a change. I think the best thing they could do now though is keep the changes public so they can get immediate feedback on what is working and not.
    I personally think the no gloves is part of the story though. Like I think he doesn’t get shoes until he comes to earth so why would he have gloves?
    The movie itself looks really good, but a few tweaks to Sonic’s look would improve it a lot. I hope the movie does well. I’ve waited 12 years for this to happen and no one is ruining it for me!!

  8. Just make him shorter, make his eyes bigger and give him gloves. Part of the appeal of this film for me is mocking the the cringy bad special effects. If there’s nothing to make fun of, what’s the point of watching this then? …I suppose finding a reason to get drunk would be one.

  9. if the film gets worse or not fixed, The Sequel or Reboot Should Be on Comcast (Universat Pics) or AT&T (Warner Bros.) to make even better than Copyright Striked Viacom (Paramount).

    Also SEGA Should be owned by Microsoft which it will be fixed the old error and glitches of all sonic games.

  10. Thank the stars for that! I mean, I don’t think the movie will be any good anyway, the cringy bad jokes and the “sonic x”-like story shown in the trailer make that painfully clear, but I can appreciate their realizing the model needed to be tweaked.
    Extra credit for that.
    Hopefully they’ll make him with gloves, his normal shoes, less thick limbs and they’ll fix the nose and those nightmarish human lips and teeth! O.o

    I know it’s absolutely irrelevant to keep saying this now, however, I still don’t understand why they thought a hybrid live-action/CGI movie that has nothing whatsoever to do with the games was a good idea.

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