The new Sonic the Hedgehog movie trailer dropped yesterday, with the redesigned version of Sonic getting an almost universally positive reaction compared to the horrifying original visage.
It turns out that, following the negative fan reaction to the first trailer, film director Jeff Fowler and Paramount Pictures turned to one of the few people that’s got Sonic right in the last few decades. Tyson Hesse, the animator behind the cutscenes in Sonic Mania and director of the delightful Sonic Mania Adventures shorts, was brought in to lead the redesign, working with modelers, riggers, texture and fur artists, and animators across teams in LA, London and Vancouver.
Honored to have been brought in to lead the design on the new Movie Sonic. Working with Jeff and the modelers, riggers, texture/fur artists and animators in LA, London, and Vancouver was a thrill I'll never forget. #SonicMovie pic.twitter.com/HhcVIxAhXB
— Tyson Hesse (@tyson_hesse) November 12, 2019
I think it’s safe to say that he and the whole team of VFX artists have done an incredible job with the redesign in such a short timeframe. The movie was delayed by just a few months, with a huge amount of work presumably needing to be redone. Here’s that new trailer:
As a reminder of just how big a shift this was, here’s a comparison shot. Sonic still has teeth, he’s still fuzzy, he’s still pretty out of place in the environments, but his visual style is much closer to his origins. Those teeth aren’t so unsettling, his eyes are so much bigger, the lighter patches are a more neutral tone, and his proportions are more toon-y, instead of looking like a genetic experiment gone horribly, horribly wrong.
So yeah, it’s pretty clear that the right call was made. However, in the process Paramount made the right choice for their employees and contractors. Delaying the movie from its original December release date to 14th February gave the extra time needed to redesign the character without resorting to the kinds of extreme crunch that video game industry watchers are all too familiar with.
— Jeff Fowler (@fowltown) May 24, 2019
The film was originally going to be produced by Sony by they sold the rights to Paramount. It stars James Marsden as Tom Wachowski, a former SFPD officer who has moved to Green Hills, Motana, who encounters the blue speedster, who is voiced by Ben Schwartz. Jim Carrey will be playing the villain Dr Ivo Robotnic and seems to be giving it full 1990’s Jim Carrey, which could be good. The cast also includes Tika Sumpter as Dr. Annie Wachowski, Neal McDonough as Major Bennington, and Adam Pally.