Don’t worry, game chronology doesn’t follow game chronology either.
In an interview with IGN, Jeff Fowler, director of Paramount’s Sonic and Sonic 2, noted that viewers shouldn’t expect later sequels’ inspiration to strictly follow the order that the Sonic games themselves follow.
It’s not always going to be a linear progression of like ‘Oh, this was in Sonic 2 so it’s going to be in the Sonic 2 film’. It’s going to be a little bit of a cherry picking, a little bit of a melting pot. There’s so much great, inspiring imagery to pull from the 30 years of games. So if we didn’t get it in one film, there’s always the chance that we’ll revisit it somewhere else.Jeff Fowler, via IGN
Fowler notes that even the second movie’s Sonic 2/Sonic 3 game inspirations still draw from Sonic 1’s Labyrinth Zone (which wouldn’t have fit into type of movie the first film was) and describes that he wants to surprise fans with the direction rather than stick to an existing structure.
Among other details noted in the interview, Fowler states that there is another character that gets teased in the movie (with no further details as to who), and that iconic moments such as Sonic and Tails on the Tornado were planned early on to be the defining scenes, “to make fans go nuts….”
This plays further into the franchises recently confirmed plans to form a “cinematic universe,” allowing a more open interpretation of the events and elements, or a “back pocket full of stuff,” as Fowler puts it. We currently know Paramount has already approved a third movie and a Paramount Plus series based on the films, but these recent statements from Fowler and the movie’s producer Toby Ascher suggest bigger ambitions for the series.
And, of course, if we’ve got a new character on the way that might not directly be next in the game chronology, I think we all know what that means.