Knuckles’ reveal in the new Sonic Movie 2 trailer was, for many, one of the best moments seen in the trailer. There were very few complaints about how Knuckles looked, acted, and sounded. And thanks to director Jeff Fowler in a new interview, now we know why Sonic Movie’s interpretation of Knuckles ended up this way.
Fowler’s interview with Polygon is among the first he’s done after the trailer’s unveiling at The Game Awards. His perspective of Knuckles, however, is not the first topic of conversation. It begins with Idris Elba, who voices the red echidna in the movie.
According to Fowler, Elba wanted to do all sorts of research Knuckles’ backstory and character in an effort to find “everything that an actor needs in order to create a character and a kind of craft performance”. In fact, Fowler said that Elba “was just so eager to absorb it all, and workshop him into best version of the character. It was great to see how much he cared about getting it right”. So, what does Fowler think of Elba’s performance? He says that Elba “absolutely nailed it”.
As for Fowler’s interest in the character, he takes Knuckles as seriously as Elba did. He says that “Knuckles provides me with plenty of opportunities to just go hog wild with spectacle”. He describes Knuckles as someone “who has power, and in his many ways is just better suited for combat than Sonic is” and “whose entire existence is about honor and about being a warrior”. Fowler considers that a difficult challenge for Sonic because, as of the end of the first movie, “Sonic has been in one fight”, and as Fowler said, “that does not turn you into a superhero overnight”. Because of this, there’s an interesting dynamic in the movie “where Knuckles is just a force of nature, and Sonic is out of his element at first because Knuckles is just more than he can handle”.
This dynamic between Sonic and Knuckles is what Fowler called “a great foundation to build a movie story around”. In fact, Fowler even says that the reason we saw Knuckles for the first time in the trailer the way we did was to give fans the realization that “this is kind of where we’re going with it”.
That said, it’s not the only thing in the movie. Sonic’s human friends, Tom and Maddie Wachowski, will be taking a vacation in the movie, which could result in a potential sub-plot. And Tails will be uniting with Sonic this time, something that Fowler used as an opportunity to recreate familiar moments of action. “The tornado with Tails and Sonic, Tails delivering Sonic into battle, that’s just as iconic as it gets in my book”, Fowler says.
This more Sonic-y approach also influenced Knuckles’ personality. Fowler described him as “a heavy, and really just making him the badass that he is in the earliest versions of him, going all the way back to the ’90s”. This, combined with the visuals of iconic, familiar moments of action from the series, is something that Fowler says he would “attribute to the Sonic-ness of it all”.
The interview ended, but not before it took a light-hearted direction. You may remember that Elba himself said that he didn’t think he made Sonic Movie Knuckles sound “sexy”. This topic came up again in the Sonic community following the trailer, and Fowler himself commented on it in the interview. Fowler said that “let me just say that the fact that [the sexy voice debate] resurfaced in the last 24 hours. Everyone saying that he lied makes me so happy. Big smile on my face. I don’t think anyone saw that conversation or dialogue happening, but here it is, and I’m glad it’s here. He’s such a great guy. He really wants to get the character right.”