'Sonic the Hedgehog' director Jeff Fowler reveals post-credits cameo was 'planned early' (exclusive)

Tom Beasley
Contributor
Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

Sonic the Hedghehog director Jeff Fowler has revealed that the surprising cameo in the movie’s post-credits scene was “planned early on” to give fans a glimpse of potential sequels.

Fowler told Yahoo Movies UK he had received a lot of messages asking about the other characters who exist in the world of the Sonic games.

He said the post-credits scene was designed to “give fans some hope that they’re coming” if the franchise is allowed to continue.

Read more: How Sonic overcame design controversy

The 41-year-old added: “It was planned very early on that we really wanted to allude to and tease some of these other characters that fans love, just to say: ‘Hey guys, we love these characters and we know you love them. We’re gonna get to them’

“If we get the opportunity to tell more stories, we absolutely have a place in the movie world for some of these characters that fans know and love.”

James Marsden and Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

Fowler said there’s “nothing official” in place in terms of plans for a sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog, though he’s keen to get back to that world.

He added: “Nothing would make me happier than getting an opportunity to tell more stories with these characters. So, fingers crossed.”

Read more: All of the films available early on streaming due to coronavirus

Given the fact Sonic the Hedgehog made $307m (£246m) at the global box office after the most successful video game movie opening ever, it would be foolish to bet against a follow-up.

Read the full interview with Jeff Fowler in which he discusses the backlash to the original Sonic design and the joy of casting Jim Carrey as the villainous Dr Robotnik...

Yahoo Movies UK: With such a big project that has such a passionate fan base, is there any relief that it’s done, it’s out there and people like it?

Jeff Fowler: Oh my gosh, you have no idea. It’s the biggest relief. Any project is gonna have a rollercoaster of emotions, but this particular one certainly went on quite a wild ride. So to have the story end in such a positive way is pretty amazing.

Absolutely! You’ve got people saying that this is the movie that will break the curse of video game movies. Was there any fear about taking the project on given that video game movies traditionally don’t do well?

I certainly did not spend too much time dwelling on it. Movies, whether they’re based on a video game or a comic book or a short story or a novel, they’re all very challenging undertakings. The last thing you want to do is come up with more reasons why it’s going to be a tall mountain to climb.

Certainly, I was aware of it though. You want to look at video game movies that came before and maybe say “why didn’t they succeed?” so you can do a post mortem that then you can hopefully learn from and apply to whatever film you’re trying to make.

Even before you got going with the project, it stalled over at Sony. Was there ever a time when you wrote this off and thought you weren’t going to be able to make it?

It’s important to stay positive and stay optimistic. When you enter this world of movie making and development, you’ve really got to be in it for the long haul. Behind every movie that’s a huge success is a story of just how long it took to get it made. It really does need to be a labour of love and you need to just believe that all of this work you’re doing will some day see the light of day and have a real shot at getting out there.

Lee Majdoub and Jim Carrey in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

I wanted to ask about Jim Carrey who, for me, is the biggest delight of the film. Was it difficult to get him involved, or was he up for it from the start?

We had a really great first meeting. He was filming the first season of Kidding and I went and met with him on the Sony lot. As I was telling him about what our goal was with the film, I could see that little twinkle in his eye. All of the opportunity involved with playing a character like Robotnik — a villain with an IQ of 300 — I think was very new and exciting territory for him.

I think you can see that with his performance. He really just went all-in and had so many great ideas about how to develop the character and make it something that audiences will really love.

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It’s really interesting for him. On the one hand, he’s playing a dark, villainous role but, on the other, it feels like a classic Jim Carrey performance. It feels like he’s flexing muscles he hasn’t used for years.

Yes, mainly face muscles! It’s incredible what he can do with his expressions.

Even while we were filming, just the mood and the vibe. There was a giddiness on set at just seeing what he was doing. There was so much excitement for where he was going with it and I feel very fortunate that he chose this character and this movie to flex some of those muscles.

Jim Carrey and James Marsden in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory.

We’ve alluded to some of the troubles this movie had. How big a setback was it when the first trailer came out and the reaction was what it was?

It was definitely a challenge. On the positive side, everyone was really excited about the movie and the story we were telling. So we just sort of compartmentalised the design into something that we needed to put some more work into.

Fortunately, it wasn’t like we were reworking the character in the story. We were literally just giving him a make-over. That actually made it very manageable. It was certainly very far from ideal, but it felt like a problem we could solve. We had a movie that we were all very excited about and that made the pain of that a little less.

Read more: Jim Carrey concerned about impact of Sonic backlash

When the movie came out, were you braced for another backlash or were you confident that it would get the positive reaction it ultimately did?

There will never be a version of anything where I have some kind of full confidence. You do your best and you hope that everyone will respond in a positive way and love it as much as you do. But you just never know. I certainly was optimistic, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t always some little bit of anxiety that comes with not knowing how people are going to react.

But on the flipside, it also comes with such tremendous euphoria and relief when it does go the way you hoped, like it did with this. I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.

Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG from Paramount Pictures and Sega. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America.

And what was your reaction when the response and the numbers started to come in and it became clear you had a success on your hands?

Just relief. So many people work so hard on movies. Going all the way back to the writing, the storyboarding, the filming, the post-production, the visual effects, the sound. There’s just so many aspects of this that require the talents and the efforts of so many people. So to be able to celebrate the work and for everyone to feel like they had a hand in something that was embraced the way it was was such a great feeling.

I particularly loved the post-credits scene of this movie. How did that come about and how might it feed into a potential sequel?

There are so many characters in the Sonic universe and fans were asking about a lot of them throughout the whole process of the film. It was planned very early on that we really wanted to allude to and tease some of these other characters that fans love, just to say: “Hey guys, we love these characters and we know you love them. We’re gonna get to them.”

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We wanted to just acknowledge how popular they are and give fans some hope that they’re coming. If we get the opportunity to tell more stories, we absolutely have a place in the movie world for some of these characters that fans know and love.

And is that sequel coming? Are fans going to get it?

Nothing official, unfortunately, but nothing would make me happier than getting an opportunity to tell more stories with these characters. So, fingers crossed.

Yes, my fingers are crossed too!

Sonic The Hedgehog is available to download and keep from 10 April.