Way back in 1991, when the original Sonic the Hedgehog game was released for Sega Genesis, the words “Sonic cinematic universe” would not have made much sense. But here we are all the way in 2022, and shared universes for literally every franchise imaginable is all the rage. The success of the 2020 film Sonic the Hedgehog (at least, after they fixed his weird teeth) ushered in the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Paramount has already greenlit a third movie. Not only that, but development is happening on a live-action (in so far as it is live-action starring CGI anthropomorphic animals) Sonic series to hopefully premiere on their streaming platform Paramount+ in 2023. Given that Paramount+ is currently 90% Taylor Sheridan shows about taciturn men staring over American vistas while expressing no emotions, it would probably be good to mix up the offerings a little bit.
Ever since Marvel Studios’ head Kevin Feige came up with the idea of a shared universe for whatever comic book superheroes that weren’t sold to 20th Century Fox or Sony Pictures, other studios have been scrambling to replicate it. In hindsight, a Sonic cinematic universe was an inevitability after it did good numbers at the box office and had a heavy roster of characters from the game that could be brought in to fill out a whole universe. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is already being heavily marketed to feature Knuckles the Echidna (voiced by Idris Elba), who has been announced to star in the upcoming Paramount+ series. Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa has been rumored to be in talks to play Shadow the Hedgehog, which probably means we are only moments from hearing Timothée Chalamet has been cast as Bean the Dynamite and Florence Pugh is going to be Vector the Crocodile.
A Sonic cinematic universe is actually a better idea than most, given the wealth of games, settings, and wacky animals that it can be built around. And while the MCU is certainly the most successful shared cinematic universe, it is by no means the first. It can be argued that the original shared universe happened unintentionally, when Universal Pictures began doubling up on the roster of horror monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula by featuring them in the same movie. The modern-day Universal Pictures made a bold attempt to create their own “Dark Universe” by updating said monsters with Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem and Russell Crowe, but it swiftly became one of the more notable failures. Warner Bros DCEU initially struggled under the direction of Zack Snyder to create their own version of the MCU, but it looks like they are currently doing a bit better by simply going for broke and not caring about continuity.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is set to hit theaters on April 8, and unless it is a spectacularly unexpected failure at making money, the Sonic cinematic universe (or SCU, as we assume it will be called) is definitely happening. It will be interesting to see how Paramount stakes out their own claim on the concept, but we are here for it.