RUMOR ALERT: Unfortunately, this information comes third hand, via ComicBook.com, from information from the Spanish-language website Sonic Team Argentina. So not only is it not first-hand information, but it was translated, and sometimes when words get translated, they get twisted, so take this with a grain of salt.
It seems Paramount Pictures pushed for the more-human-looking design for the titular critter in ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, knowing that there would be controversy. The studio just didn’t anticipate HOW negative the overall reaction would be. Sonic Team Argentina reports having spoken to animator Max Schneider, who discussed the evolution of the character onscreen.
Reportedly, Paramount knew that there would be initial resistance to the more human-looking design, but the studio felt that people would come around to it and that the first design looked good mixed in with the film’s live-action elements.
As we know, however, after the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the first trailer, Paramount agreed to go back to the drawing board. But according to Schneider, the animators weren’t put under any extreme pressure. They were given the time and peace needed to get the redesign right. It helped that, as Scheider says, the process wasn’t very expensive. Although he didn’t specify, it is rumored that the redesign only cost Paramount an additional $5 million. (The original budget was reportedly $90M)
The redesign took five months, with the animators starting from Sonic’s face (possibly the area that needed the most work) and working down to his shoes.
As Scheider said:
“To modify everything took many months, since a big part of the movie was already finished. And the process was basically to redesign the model, make a new rig and going back to animate everything with the character. Some things were rescued from the old animations, but others had to practically be animated again.”
Hopefully, fans will be supportive when ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ ultimately arrives in theaters on February 14, 2020.