Last week, audiences were treated to Sonic the Hedgehog, a surprisingly well-made theatrical take on Sega's beloved blue blur. Actor Ben Schwartz's take on Sonic is fairly faithful to the depiction of the character fans are most familiar with, and the film offers an enjoyable experience for fans of all ages. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the movie, however, is the sheer number of references the filmmakers included for longtime fans. Whether you know Sonic from his Sega Genesis days, or the cartoons, or even internet memes, the film features a reference for pretty much every Sonic fan, regardless.
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Keep reading to see all the Easter eggs and references in Sonic the Hedgehog! Warning: spoilers ahead!
The movie opens with some big references from the Sega Genesis days. There's a musical cue meant to evoke the "Sega" sound that opens the old Genesis games, while Sonic's home looks an awful lot like Green Hill Zone (though it's never called that, for reasons that will be addressed later). Finally, Baby Sonic gives Longclaw a familiar flower, which can be found in the game's version of Green Hill Zone.
Knuckles? Is that you?
One area the film gently glosses over is the fact that Sonic identifies as a hedgehog, despite the fact that he doesn't seem to have ever seen a hedgehog from Earth. The Sonic games also feature less-than-faithful Echidnas, as well, including the character Knuckles. Knuckles does not necessarily appear in the film, but a group featuring the character's trademark dreadlocks and spiked hands does come after Sonic and Longclaw early in the film.
In the Sonic the Hedgehog games, there has never been much lore behind the rings players are tasked with collecting. The film makes them a major part of the story, as they enable Sonic to open gateways to other worlds. Notably, when Sonic drops them in the film, they still make that same sound gamers are all-too familiar with!
Welcome to Green Hills, a no-speed Zone.
The majority of the movie takes place in Green Hills, Montana, a quaint town with a familiar name for Sonic fans! When audiences are first introduced to Green Hills sheriff Tom Wachowski, Tom is looking for speeding cars. He just can't seem to find something going 300 miles-per-hour, however. Sonic can likely go faster than that, but he does top out at that number in this particular sequence.
Every hero needs a headquarters, and Sonic's humble home is a literal hole in the ground. Still, it does have some cool things inside. Sonic is apparently a big Flash fan, as we see him devouring stacks of comics, and he seems to be a fan of karate, as well. He even has a bandana featuring the classic Sonic logo on it. Fun fact: players can partake in karate events as Sonic in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020.
Sonic's home features yet another reference to the Genesis games. His table is actually a road sign that reads "Hill Top Rd.," a reference to Sonic the Hedgehog 2's Hill Top Zone.
Sonic's roadmap lists some places he can run if things get rough. One area is marked by the Sega Saturn logo, while Sonic's next destination is apparently filled with mushrooms, which is a place Sonic desperately wants to avoid. There have been mushroom-themed stages in Sonic games in the past, but some viewers have seen this as a reference to the Mushroom Kingdom. That one seems like a bit of a stretch, however!
A popular meme.
Anyone that has spent any significant time on the internet should be familiar with "Sanic Hegehog," an intentionally bizarre recreation of Sega's far more famous mascot. Sega has referenced the image on their social media accounts a number of times over the years, but its appearance in the movie was still pretty surprising! In the film, the image is drawn by "Crazy" Carl, the only man in Green Hills that has actually seen Sonic. He calls him Blue Devil, however, which might be a reference to Sonic's car in Sonic Drift 2.
Sonic the Hedgehog makes a number of references to different films, throughout. Unsurprisingly, Sonic seems to be a big fan of Speed, the 1994 film starring Keanu Reeves. It's his favorite film when the Wachowskis are having movie night, and he even drops a Keanu line during the film's bar fight. Fast cars seem to be a bit of a theme for Sonic. He also references The Fast and the Furious during an altercation with one of Robotnik's machines during a high-speed chase. Sonic also seems to be a fan of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. That, or he's just familiar with the old urban legend about body parts qualifying as deadly weapons.
Sonic isn't the only one dropping film references, however. Tom's partner Wade references the Men in Black franchise when describing Robotnik's questioning.
Fans have long debated whether or not Sonic is right-handed or left-handed. The film weighs in on this, as Sonic declares himself a "southpaw" while playing baseball against himself. Of course, Sonic is clearly quite lonely in this scene and portraying multiple roles on the diamond, so fans shouldn't view this as anything too definitive!
While Sonic's nemesis was known as Dr. Ivo Robotnik in the early games, later titles started calling him "Dr. Eggman." The film splits the difference by explaining the latter as a nickname. Robotnik references Charlotte's Web, comparing his drones to eggs. Later in the film, Sonic also notes the similarity, and a nickname is born!
The film's depiction of the doctor is a mad government agent that isn't very trusted among his peers. According to Robotnik, he received his training from "Native American Shadow Wolves," which is a real group that works as part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Robotnik likely isn't trusted among other members of the government because he's clearly only out for one person. Robotnik can best be summarized by his Neil Armstrong misquote: "One small step for man, one giant step for me!"
Like a lot of modern day movies, Sonic makes a number of references to existing companies and brands. Olive Garden gets a recurring joke throughout the film, while references are also made to Mellow Yellow, and Zillow.
Robotnik's drones play a major role in the movie, and they also provide some of the humor. In one where Sonic and the Wachowskis find themselves threatened, Sonic references Amazon's real-life attempts to deliver packages by drone.
While the drones are never specifically referred to as "Badniks," Robotnik does have the term written in his lab.
Before Sonic leaves the planet forever (spoiler: he doesn't), he and Tom knock some items off the former's bucket list in a bar with a ZZ Top cover band. They never get to hear the band, however, because a fight breaks out before they can. In the scene, Sonic refers to himself as "the blue blur" before the fight (a common nickname for the character). While Sonic never gets to hear the band, he does get to discover an Earth delicacy: chili dogs! Sonic has been passionate about the food since the cartoons of the '90s.
Sonic 2 introduced the character's patented spin dash move, and it's been a staple of the series since. Sonic uses the move to inflict some heavy damage on Robotnik's drone during the highway chase scene. During the brawl, Sonic refers to a "bonus life." While he doesn't grab a 1-Up like Scott Pilgrim, it is a fun little reference to the games.
Despite the fact that Tom seems like a pretty great guy, Maddie's sister is not a fan. After Tom brings an injured Sonic to the house, Maddie's sister makes a number of conspiratorial guesses as to what Tom is hiding, including plutonium and e-mails, both of which should be familiar to anyone following politics over the last 20 years.
To wake Sonic up, Maddie uses smelling salts, and the revived Sonic yells "Gotta Go Fast" before questioning the current state of American politics, specifically whether or not The Rock is now president.
Unlike her mother, Jojo immediately takes a shine to Sonic. Maddie's niece replaces Sonic's heavily-damaged sneakers with the iconic red shoes familiar to longtime fans.
Sonic has never been known for waiting patiently. Leave the controller idle for too long, and Sonic will tap his foot, impatiently. Sonic does just that after a flurry of missiles are dispatched towards him.
A familiar look for the doctor!
While Dr. Robotnik starts the film looking a bit different from his iconic design, by the film's end, his appearance is quite a bit closer. Robotnik decks himself out in a flight suit and mech, with some gloves that look inspired by the Sega Genesis.
Sonic dispatches the mech in familiar fashion with some well-placed hits while curled into a ball, before sending Robotnik off to the mushroom planet. Robotnik is later seen looking more than a bit disheveled, with a bald head, and an out-of-control mustache.
A mellow melody.
With Robotnik defeated, the Wachowskis can finally get a little peace. As they repair the damage to their home, a slowed down remix of the Green Hill Zone music can be heard.
Why does Sonic need a car?
Despite Sonic's speed, he seems to like cars an awful lot. Besides his love for Speed and The Fast and the Furious, Sonic has driven cars in a number of racing games through the years. He also had a car bed in the comics, and he gets one when he moves in with the Wachowskis at the end of the film.
We'd play that game.
The film's credits feature a (loose) adaptation of the film in 16-bit form. It's quite awesome, and would make for a really great video game!
An old friend.
In the film's post-credit sequence, Miles "Tails" Prower appears on Earth, looking for Sonic! First appearing in Sonic 2, the character has long been a fan favorite, and seems like the perfect character to star in a sequel!
Are there any we missed? Lets us know!
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