Video screenshot via Paramount Pictures
If the likes amassed from Sonic the Hedgehog’s trailer on YouTube are to be believed, a majority of fans are repelled by Paramount Pictures’ rendition of the video game icon. Even the hedgehog’s originator isn’t a fan of the reimagination.
The backlash is understandable, as the live-action remake deviates incredibly from the original design. The character’s physique is comparatively too swole, his fur is too obvious, his face is too different, and his teeth are too human-like.
Even though the film’s trailer is already out—and still online for your mockery—the studio has promised to redesign ‘Sonic’ once more to salvage itself from impending negative reviews.
You can imagine how taxing this might be for the movie’s designers, who have poured out time and effort to give the blue hedgehog a reboot, only for them to throw it away, return to the drawing board and roll out an acceptable design in time for Sonic the Hedgehog’s premiere on 18 November.
The process taken to do so has been broken down by industry experts, and it seems utterly strenuous.
Juan-Luis Sanchez, a character supervisor at Ilion Animation Studio, estimates to io9 that if it takes a production crew nine months to create a character, it would require about two to three months to make changes.
“I can’t even guess what’s going on behind the scenes,” he says.
Thankfully, that doesn’t mean the entire film will require a do-over. Sanchez, who worked on the design of Paddington, describes that trailers featuring digital characters often depict everything that has been completed so far. There’s a chance than only “five percent” of the movie has been finished, he says.
Visual effect artist Daryl Bartley, who worked on Power Rangers and Avatar, agrees, adding that much of the project would only be done just months, or even weeks, before it releases in theaters.
Paramount Pictures hasn’t commented on how much would be changed, but Sanchez says the current iteration would have “easily” taken the studio six to nine months’ worth of effort. The process would have included ‘Sonic’s design, modeling, the insertion of a skeleton, the experimentation of the skeleton, the addition of fur, and lighting.
“And that’s without major design changes, or changes in the story along the way,” he adds.
The two experts scoff at a theory that Paramount Pictures deliberately presented a “bad” design for publicity, and might have a better one on the ready to pull out of a hat.
Bartley jokes that while an idea like this might be expected of a “sociopathic” executive, the attention this version has received seems a little too much for a stunt.
Especially considering the nostalgic value ‘Sonic’ brings, “having your fanbase be pissed off at you… is not anything a sane person would throw out there,” Bartley says.
[via io9, video and cover image via Paramount Pictures]