Sonic Prime, the latest Sonic the Hedgehog animation due for release on Netflix in 2022, will descend from a long dynasty of animations that reach all the way back from 1993’s slapstick Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, through to the modern charm of Sonic Mania Adventures. Each show has cultivated its own personality, and legion of Sonic the Hedgehog fanatics to boot. Similarly, there are now a multitude of genre-crossing Sonic the Hedgehog video game titles, that you’d be hard pushed to not find something for everyone in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe.
While variety might be the spice of life, this does leave SEGA with the Herculean task of attempting to satisfy the Sonic fanbase with each new release. If you’ve followed Sonic social media over the last few years, you are probably familiar with the common demands from fans: “We want Sonic Adventure 3!”, “Make more classic-style 2D Sonic games!”, “Bring back Richard Jacques for the soundtrack!” – the list goes on.
In all likelihood there is no title that would satisfy each and every corner of the fanbase, and differences in opinion regarding how the Sonic games progress and evolve into the future is now virtually generational; something that will likely become more so as a new cohort of fans is introduced to the world of Sonic through the movies.
The concept behind Sonic Prime, however, has the potential to deliver something that might come close to doing this – in fact, you only need to go as far as to see the WildBrain intend to target both under 11s as well as “legacy Sonic fans”.
Many will roll their eyes, and remind us that we have been promised a new, fresh look for Sonic before and been bitterly disappointed, or that they have trepidation that Prime might constitute another show that does away once again with a timeline that is already severely fractured and convoluted as it is.
While these are undoubtedly understandable concerns, it is worth pointing out that many well-established franchises have seen a renaissance in recent years by doing just this. You only need to look to the likes of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to see an example of a well-executed production, in which creators lovingly draw upon a wealth of source material to create something new, while retaining the most-loved parts of the heritage.
Sonic Prime has nearly 30 years of material to draw from, across many media platforms and countless different takes on Sonic the Hedgehog lore, that a Sonic show based on a multiverse themed seems almost like an obvious idea; indeed, it is something that several of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series have already capitalised upon.
The crucial factor of course will be down to those who sit at the helm of Prime, and their history with the world’s most famous hedgehog – fans can only hope that like Sonic Mania and the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, there will be a lot of love invested.
One thing is for sure though: Sonic the Hedgehog remains one of the few video game licenses that still, years on from his debut, warrants the commissioning of another cartoon series, and continues to resonate with new generations of children across the world – and quite possibly – the multiverse.