After being under consideration for months at this point, it is finally official: Sonic the Hedgehog is getting a LEGO set based on the 2017 video game Sonic Mania. The LEGO Ideas concept by 24-year-old Viv Grannell was announced today as moving forward to the product development phase. That basically means LEGO will take the concept and refine it into a finalized product in partnership with Sega to then, eventually, see a worldwide release.
Ahead of today's announcement, ComicBook.com had the opportunity to chat with Grannell via email about bringing the Sonic set to life, how she feels about it getting greenlit to the development phase, and more. Keep reading to see what she had to say. You can also check out what Grannell's concept design for the Sonic Mania Green Hill Zone set, from which LEGO will now take the reins, looks like below:
ComicBook.com: What made you decide to craft a Sonic LEGO Ideas submission in the first place?
Viv Grannell: If you enjoy something as a kid, it'll stick close to your heart for the rest of your life. You can tidy it away sometimes, but all the fun you've had and the lessons you've learnt, those never go away entirely. All it takes is one good spark to put it back in the limelight, and that's what happened to me with both Sonic and LEGO over the years. A vibrant world you can get lost in and an engaging, colorful interlocking brick system, both alike in dignity – but never the twain have met, aside from a one-off minifigure! I've worked on quite a few fanworks for both, so the LEGO Ideas platform was a good next step to try and change this.
Did you go through any particularly different iterations of the submission before what we now see? If so, what did those look like?
The development process has basically been half a decade at this point, frankly. I've been fairly open about all the false starts that'd happened before we got to the final pitch, but to summarize while I was fairly confident about designing a "classic" Sonic set to complement the" modern" minifigure we got as part of LEGO Dimensions, I couldn't settle on a solid thematic core to drive the story of the set. Abandoned sketch models include an exceedingly early version of the Death Egg Robo by itself, Chemical Plant, messy Motobugs and Crabmeats – and at one point I tried out an E-102 Gamma just because I could. Sonic 2's Chemical Plant Zone got the furthest out of all of these, but after LEGO Ideas prevented new submissions for "active licenses" in mid-2017 I put it on the backburner. Ultimately, I'm glad that happened; design work went MUCH easier when I picked my work back up again in early 2019.
How did you feel about the reception from the public -- and what was it like finding out that the design would, in fact, make it through the gauntlet to production?
It was really gratifying to see so many people rallying behind the concept if a tad overwhelming. Sonic fans are incredibly powerful, and I daresay they don't get enough credit for the compassion and energy that drives them. Learning the truth about its selection for further development, meanwhile, was downright incredible. I won't say I didn't think it was a possibility before it happened, but it was absolutely grand, no two ways about it. Quite a relief as well – sometimes you don't realise you're holding your breath until you no longer have to.
Obviously LEGO now sort of takes this design and runs with it, but if you had the opportunity to design a second set, what would you make?
It's way too early to even entertain the idea of a successor, honestly – y'all only just heard about this! There are a LOT of wonderful environments in the Sonic series that would make for compelling playsets one day down the line, though. If you think about Sonic 1's core conflict of caring for the environment versus taking it over with metal and concrete, Green Hill Zone puts a point in the nature column, so…
Speaking of, do you plan to keep submitting ideas -- Sonic or otherwise -- through the platform?
LEGO Ideas does not accept additional submissions in the same series once they've selected one pitch from it, unfortunately. I absolutely have other designs in me – both original concepts of my own and based on other existing material, including games – but I'm not quite ready to commit to any of them at the moment. Stay tuned!
What do you think about Sonic Mania getting its own official LEGO set? Would you like to see more official Sonic sets in the future? Let us know in the comments, or feel free to reach out and hit me up directly over on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk about all things gaming!