Sonic the Hedgehog has been the star of numerous games, comics, and an animated television series, so it’s a little surprising that he hasn’t been the subject of a feature film yet. That is going to change though, according to an announcement made this week by Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Sony and Japanese animated film production company Marza Animation Planet are teaming up to produce a hybrid, CG-animated/live-action feature based on the iconic Hedgehog that will — according to the official statement on the film — “look to capture Sonic’s irreverent tone and spirit, reuniting him with some of the most revered and infamous characters of the franchise.” Writers Evan Susser and Van Robichaux will pen the screenplay for the film, which will be produced by Neal H. Moritz (I Am Legend, 21 Jump Street) and Marza’s Takeshi Ito and Mie Onishi.
The announcement of the project offered precious few details about the intended plot of the film, but with more than two decades of history and 140 million games sold, there’s reason to believe a project like this will find no shortage of support from fans of the $1 billion franchise built around Sonic.
“There are limitless stories to tell with a character like Sonic the Hedgehog, and a built-in international fan base,” said Hannah Minghella, Columbia Pictures’ president of Production, in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Along with our wonderful creative partners at Marza, we’re looking to capture everything that generations of fans know and love about Sonic while also growing his audience wider than ever before.”
Debuting in 1991’s self-titled Sonic The Hedgehog game for Sega Genesis, Sonic was positioned from the start to be Sega’s answer to rival Nintendo’s mascot, Mario. The fleet-footed speedster went on to star in a long list of games released for nearly every platform, and is widely regarded as one of the best-known video game characters around the world.
“Sonic has had dozens of adventures on the console and the small screen, and we’re thrilled that he’s now coming to the big screen,” said Marza Animation Planet CEO Masanao Maeda of the announcement. “Sony Pictures has had great success with hybrid animated and live-action features, and we’re confident that this collaboration will bring a fresh take to Sonic, while still capturing everything that the fans love about him.”
There’s no word yet on the film’s anticipated timetable or plot, or what form the mix of CG animation and live-action performance will take.