The Sonic the Hedgehog movie has a whole heap of references to the franchise (and even a famous meme!), but one very brief moment in the film is jam-packed with Sonic the Hedgehog lore. Did you catch it? WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
When Sonic finds himself on Earth, a world designated as “safe” according to his childhood guardian Longclaw (Basically Obi Wan Kenobi), a scene in Sonic’s hideaway cave has our hero examining a map of the other safe worlds, as shown below in this sneaky shot from Twitter user @Karby64:
Spoilers for Sonic Movie maybe?
It shows up for like a few seconds so idk many people might not even notice it, but I haven't seen a single "Sonic Movie references and easter eggs" video talk about this absolute goldmine of a map smh pic.twitter.com/RUq4DNPlHr
— Dilo (@Karby64) February 15, 2020
This image is packed with Sonic the Hedgehog history, so here is our breakdown of this reference-jammed movie moment!
1. Sonic the Hedgehog 1’s South Island
The central ring on the map depicts the world in which Sonic is first seen as a child, with it’s familiar Green Hill Zone checker, flowers, and trademark loop de loops. This map confirms that Sonic’s home Island is South Island, as it is in the games, as the drawing matches that of the map of South Island as seen in Sonic the Hedgehog 1 on the Master System / Game Gear.
2. Saturn, but not as we know it
The top-most world on Sonic’s map will be familiar to any SEGA fan, as it is quite obviously the SEGA Saturn logo! We thought this was a clever little reference as it’s namesake is also a planet – but we’re curious…the world has already been marked off! What happened on planet SEGA Saturn that made it unsafe?
3. Here Comes the Sun – a World in Development
Yes yes, a sun isn’t a world…but couls this possibly be a representation or imagery of something in that world? Those of you with a very keen knowledge of Sonic the Hedgehog’s inception will recognise this as the sun “icon” that appears atop the loop-de-loop in one of the original development concept images of the “Golden Country”, drawn by Sonic the Hedgehog creator Naoto Ohshima. Not only this, the border of the map is also a tribute to this loop-de-loop design!
4. Let’s Get Blue Spheres!
Another already marked as no longer safe appears to be the cheuquered planet from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 / Sonic & Knuckles! This is of course the world that can only be accessed through hidden giant gold rings, on which all of the chaos emeralds, and super emeralds, are hidden; in this case, the movie’s lore of preferred mode of transport to this world is condordant with that of the game! If you stayed for the trailers in the movie, the Blue Spheres world also gets some brief screen time.
5. A Planet of Rings
Although heavily obscured as it has been scribbled out (but not crossed off and that might be significant!), it appears that the symbol for this world is simply a ring. Could this world be the origin of the rings that allow all advanced cultures to travel between worlds?
One world on the map shows a diamond that closely resembles that of the invincibility diamonds. We’re unsure on this one, so if you have any better thoughts on what this world might represents, let us know in the comments!
7. Mushroom Hill
Sonic’s map circles his next destination (once Earth becomes unsafe), as a world filled with only mushrooms. While disimmilar to the Mushroom Hill Zone itself (after all, it’s just a zone rather than an entire planet), the profile drawing of mushrooms closely resembles the profiles of those in the Sonic & Knuckles Zone. Guess we’ll have to do some rock-connosance to find out more!
Some other references, and a theory!
The last reference can be found at the bottom right hand corner of the map, and is recognisbly the Master Emerald, similar to that of the profile design seen in Sonic 2’s Hidden Palace Zone. While it doesn’t appear to be a world of the map, it’s placing and position (as well as the trademark banner covering it) seems to indicate this is of significance.
As the title “Safe Worlds” is scribbled on in English, likely by Sonic, it is unlikely that this was the original purpose of the map. Could this map be the secret hiding place of the Chaos Emeralds?
We will have to wait for the sequel to find out!