Note: Contains spoilers for Sonic the Hedgehog.
After a much-publicised false start, Sonic the Hedgehog is now in cinemas and managed to avoid the video game adaptation curse.
The movie, starring Ben Schwartz as the speedy hedgehog and Jim Carrey as his iconic nemesis Dr Robotnik, certainly sets up a sequel, but it will entirely be down to the box office results whether it gets one.
Talking to Digital Spy, director Jeff Fowler explained that while he approached the movie as a complete story, he admitted that he "can't help but think" about where a sequel could take Sonic.
"It's always at the back of your mind. You're focusing on the story you're telling with this film, but it's fun to just be doing some plotting and some scheming for future stories. With fingers crossed, I hope that maybe we’ll have the opportunity to tell some more stories," he said.
"We had so much fun with this film, and the cast had a great time. I think everyone would do another one in a heartbeat."
But if Fowler gets his wish and Paramount confirms a sequel, what can we expect from it?
Sonic the Hedgehog ending: How does it set up a sequel?
After unwittingly putting himself in the sights of Dr Robotnik, Sonic has to use his rings to escape to another world.
There's only one problem though. He dropped them when he was surprised by Tom (James Marsden) who discovered Sonic hiding in his shed, and one of the rings opened a portal to San Francisco which they all fell through.
Tom agrees to help Sonic recover the rings and the pair go on a road trip to San Francisco, avoiding Dr Robotnik and his drone army along the way. Dr Robotnik wants to capture Sonic to use his "extraordinary" power to give his drones unimaginable power.
It all builds to a final confrontation between Sonic and Dr Robotnik. Using the power from one of Sonic's quills, Dr Robotnik chases Sonic all over the world thanks to the portals generated by the rings.
They end up back in Green Hills and just when it seems that Dr Robotnik has defeated Sonic, Tom steps in to protect his friend.
Sonic recovers, supercharges and, using one of his rings to open a portal to a mushroom planet, manages to destroy Dr Robotnik's ship and push him through the portal before it closes.
Sonic moves in with Tom and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter) and the US government decides to let Sonic live in peace, erasing any existence of their work with Dr Robotnik.
The first credits sequence catches up with Dr Robotnik on the mushroom planet, 87 days later and sporting a look more in line with the videogames. (Weirdly, it's a scene that was shown in one of the trailers.)
He's still got Sonic's quill and promises to be "home by Christmas", despite the fact his only friend is a rock and he has no resources or supplies.
For fans though, the real treat comes in the second sequence that takes us back to Green Hills. A ring portal opens and none other than Tails jumps out of it, having seemingly tracked Sonic there.
"If these readings are accurate, he's here. I found him. I just hope I'm not too late," he says, before he flies off to presumably meet Sonic.
So a sequel will likely see Sonic and Tails reunite to battle whatever it is that Tails fears he might be too late for. Did they know each other in the past? The sequel could well flash back to their childhoods to fill in their backstory.
And of course, Dr Robotnik will find his way back to Green Hills to cause more mischief, giving the sequel the perfect opportunity to introduce the Chaos Emeralds which can be used to teleport (among many other powers).
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 release date: When can we expect it?
It's hard to say when the sequel might get released, given that at this stage we don't know whether the first movie will perform well enough to get a sequel.
Paramount has an "Untitled Animation" release slot for July 22, 2022 which could be replaced for the sequel. That's guesswork, but it does roughly fit in with the production schedule of the first movie.
Filming on that started in September 2018 and if the movie didn't have that redesign, it would have been out a little over a year later on November 8, 2019.
So with the character designs set and approved by fans, if a sequel gets greenlit by Paramount and starts filming later this year or early 2021, then a summer 2022 release is entirely possible.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 cast: Who's coming back?
We can expect all of the main cast to come back, so that's Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, Jim Carrey as Dr Robotnik, James Marsden as Tom Wachowski and Tika Sumpter as Tom's wife Maddie.
The post-credits scene had Colleen O'Shaughnessey voice Tails as she currently does in the wider Sonic world. Whether she'll reprise her role for the sequel or if it'll be recast for Tails' bigger role in the sequel remains to be seen.
Elsewhere, we could see returns from supporting characters like Lee Majdoub's long-suffering government agent Stone and Frank C Turner as Crazy Carl, who turns out to be not so crazy in his sightings of Sonic, AKA "the blue devil".
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 trailer: When will it land?
You won't be seeing new footage for a while of course, given that the sequel hasn't even been confirmed yet.
If the sequel does happen though, we're sure the makers will be hoping for a better reaction to its first trailer...
Sonic the Hedgehog is in cinemas now.
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