Sonic The Hedgehog Movie: All The Easter Eggs And References You May Have Missed
At long last, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie is in theaters and it's doing well at the box office. In his review of the film, GameSpot's Phil Hornshaw wrote, "As video game adaptations go, Sonic the Hedgehog is among the stronger ones. It's smart enough to stand on its own, making use of longstanding aspects of Sega's supersonic mascot and his franchise, while making sure that what really shines through are its characters." Now you can see for yourself whether the movie lives up to the game--and how many Easter eggs can be packed into a single film.
The live-action adaptation of the video game franchise sees the speedy little blue furball (Ben Schwartz) facing off against the nefarious Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) for the first time, in a very fast cross-country battle filled with drones, chili dogs, and lots of jokes.
As previously mentioned, the movie also happens to be stuffed full of Easter eggs and references to Sonic's long video game history, which kicked off in 1991 with the first Sonic the Hedgehog video game on Sega Genesis. With almost 30 years of games, cartoons, comics, and more to pull from, the Sonic movie had no shortage of material to nod to and slings the references faster than Sonic's spin dash.
Below, we've compiled 42 of the best Easter eggs for the movies. You gotta go fast to catch them all, so make sure to check them all out to see what you missed. While you're at it, don't miss our look at the weirdest characters from the long history of Sonic the Hedgehog.
If you were listening closely during the beginning of the film, you might have heard a very familiar musical cue. While the word "Sega" isn't said, there's a short musical nod to the Sega Genesis intro.
2. Sonic runs through Green Hill Zone
Where else could a Sonic the Hedgehog movie start than on the first level of the game, Green Hill Zone? The bridges fall apart, just like they do in the game, and Sonic has public access to loop de loops. What's not to love?
3. A familiar flower
In the first scene of the movie, a young Sonic gives Longclaw a familiar flower. They can be seen in the first level of the original game.
Sonic The Hedgehog Movie: 42 Easter Eggs And References You May Have Missed
4. Those look like echidnas
The creatures who attack Sonic and Longclaw in this scene are wearing masks and headdresses, but if you look closely, you can clearly see that they're echidnas (the red fur, hanging hair, and spiked knuckles are a dead giveaway). We might not be seeing Knuckles the echidna, but they're certainly the same species. And who knows? Maybe a future Sonic movie sequel will reveal that Knuckles was among this group that attacked them here.
5. So that's what the rings do
For so long, we've been led to believe the rings Sonic collects are essentially the same thing as coins in Super Mario Bros. You grab 100 of them and you get a bonus life. Additionally, if you take a hit in the game, your rings scatter. And if you take damage with no rings, you die. Who knew the little gold rings were also portals to anywhere you could possibly imagine? They're how Sonic ended up on Earth and they get plenty of use throughout the movie. And true to the game, they are scattered a few times for Sonic to recollect.
6. He's gotta go fast
While Sonic's actual top speed has never been revealed, early in the movie we do see him testing himself on Tom's radar gun. At that point, he reaches the speed of 300 m.p.h. That's fast, for sure, but Sonic clearly goes much faster throughout the film. Still, he's gotta start somewhere.
7. Welcome to Green Hills, Montana
If Sonic was going to wind up anywhere on Earth, it was absolutely going to be a town that shares a name with the first zone in his game. Goodbye Green Hill Zone, hello Green Hills, Montana. While this is not a real place in Montana, it is the home of a luxury property called Green Hills Ranch.
8. Sonic reads The Flash comics
Of course, The Flash is Sonic's favorite superhero. They've both gotta go fast--very fast. We see him power through a large stack of Flash comics in his cave, and it's enough to make you wonder if he is part of the Speed Force. Is Sonic somehow a speedster from somewhere in DC's multiverse?
9. There's the Sonic logo
When Sonic is practicing his nunchuck skills, the logo from the first game can be seen printed on his bandana.
10. Hill Top Road sounds familiar
If you thought that the sign Sonic used as a coffee table, which once marked Hill Top Rd., looked familiar, that's because Hill Top Zone is the first level of Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
11. Never forget the Sega Saturn
The Sega Saturn even gets a shoutout in the film. When Sonic looks at his map of the worlds he can use the rings to jump to, the Saturn logo can be seen. The next world on Sonic's list is a place he calls mushroom world. This could be a nod to Mushroom Hill Zone from Sonic & Knuckles. However, given how open Sonic is about his hatred of mushrooms, this could also be a diss against his mushroom-loving '90s Nintendo nemesis, Super Mario.
12. Sanic Hegehog
The best and most important Sonic the Hedgehog meme of all time gets its due in the movie. Crazy Carl, the local who's hunting the "Blue Devil" in Green Hills, shows off a drawing of the Sanic meme as his rendition of the creature he's facing. It's worth noting the "Blue Devil" moniker is also an Easter egg, as it's the name of Sonic's vehicle in Sonic Drift 2.
13. Tom and Maddie have great taste in movies
Of course, Sonic's favorite movie is Speed. Thankfully, it's exactly what Tom and Maddie are watching when he stares in their living room window. Proving their superior taste in cinema, they're later watching The Naked Gun.
14. Sonic's a confirmed lefty
In the movie, Sonic refers to himself as a "southpaw," meaning he's left-handed. This settles a debate among many fans about just which is Sonic's dominant hand.
15. Charlotte's Web
In his rambling assault against the army general, Robotnik mentions Charlotte's Web, then refers to his ovular white drones as his own eggs. In the movie's world, this will later become the source of Robotnik's nickname, Eggman, and Charlotte's Web ends with the birth of a bunch of baby spiders from an egg sac. Creepy.
16. Native American Shadow Wolves
Robotnik tells his assistance, Agent Stone, that he was trained by "Native American Shadow Wolves." Surprisingly, that's a real thing--they're trackers who are part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). With that context, it seems like a pretty weird joke.
17. Ripping off Neil Armstrong
When Robotnik says "One small step for man, one giant step for me," he's ripping off astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous line when he first set foot on the moon: "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
18. When you're here, you're family
The product placement in this movie is extremely real (and luckily, mostly really funny, so it doesn't seem too out of place). There are multiple jokes at different points about the Olive Garden, a very conspicuous reference to the real estate website Zillow, and a hard-to-miss moment when Tom orders Sonic a Mello Yello soda, of all things.
19. Lethal legs
It's something of a tough guy urban legend that especially deadly fighters, such as martial artists, are so powerful that they're required to register their hands as deadly weapons with the government. That's not actually true in most places, but the gag persists throughout pop culture--Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) even uses the line on Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Sonic plays on the gag by making a similarly ridiculous claim: that his super-fast legs should be registered as lethal weapons.
20. Drone deliveries
As Sonic and Tom fight with Robotnik's drone, Sonic remarks that he "can't believe Amazon is going to deliver packages with these things." Amazon's "Prime Air" program is a very real thing that they're still trying to get off the ground to today.
21. Galaxy defenders
Tom's fellow officer, Wade, describes Robotnik and his government goons as being like the Men in Black, but less charming and likable than Will Smith. This is a reference to the original Men in Black movies from the '90s (and definitely not the more recent entry in the series).
22. EZ Top?
While at the biker bar, Sonic mentions that a ZZ Top cover band is about to come on. ZZ Top is a rock band formed in Texas in 1969, known for their giant beards. Now we're just wondering what a ZZ Top cover band should be called.
23. Pop quiz, hotshot
During the bar fight, Sonic makes another reference to the movie Speed (yes, a reference within a reference--it's referenception) when he says "Pop quiz, hotshot" to the hipster hater he's about to bash with a bottle.
24. Chili dog farts
Sonic takes a moment during his time-defying bar fight to wolf down (hedgehog down?) some chili dogs. As any self-respecting Sonic fan knows, chili dogs are his favorite food--although, in the movie's world, they didn't seem to sit too well with him, given his later flatulence.
25. The Blue Blur
Sonic refers to himself by his famous, longstanding nickname when talking about teaming up with Tom "Donut Lord" Wachowski for the barfight scene.
26. Spin dash
During the highway drone fight action scene, Sonic tries out a classic move from the games, using his iconic spinning attack to defeat Robotnik's machine.
27. How many lives does a hedgehog have?
During that same fight, Sonic remarks that he must have had a "bonus life." This is clearly a reference to video games, but it also bears closer examination. Is the Sonic in the movie somehow aware that he's a video game character? Or has he simply picked up references to gaming culture by observing the residents of Earth and it's just a coincidence? Really makes you think.
28. Gotta go fast and furious
When Sonic gets a chance to drive as he and Tom flee Robotnik's drone tank, he calls up the Fast and the Furious franchise. "I feel just like Vin Diesel," Sonic says, and echoes Dominic Toretto's refrain throughout the Fast series about how it's all about family.
29. Conspiracy theories
When Tom enters the house carrying Sonic wrapped in a blanket, Maddie's sister starts trying to guess what's underneath: "Is it plutonium? Is it emails?!" It seems out of place now, but this must be a reference to the various conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton's emails during the 2016 presidential election. This joke may be an indication of how long this script was in the works; it's surprising it made it all the way through to the finished film.
30. The Badniks
Robotnik has a button on the circuit breaker in his party bus labeled "badniks." As Sonic game fans know, Badniks was the name sometimes used for the robotic enemies Sonic has faced throughout the franchise.
31. Gotta go fast, again
When Sonic wakes up after Maddie administers the smelling salts, his first words are the character's longtime catchphrase, "Gotta go fast!" He then asks if the Rock is president--a joke referring to recent suggestions that the wrestler could make a run for the office, something he "hasn't ruled out" when asked about it in interviews. You could also see it as a reference to the reality TV star currently occupying the White House who has a history showing up in wrestling matches, or to the movie Idiocracy, in which a pro wrestler named Dwayne is president 500 years in the future.
32. Ruby red slippers
Sonic's shoes are pretty beat up for most of the movie, until he gets his pair of iconic red shows from the unlikely source of Jojo, Tom and Maddie's niece, who apparently just happened to have a pair of brand new, conspicuously unbranded, red running shoes in Space Hedgehog size lying around the house.
33. Familiar duds
When Robotnik shows up in San Francisco, it's in a version of his flying Egg Mobile, along with his familiar costume and goggles from the games. Although he may indeed look like he's on his way to Comic-Con, Robotnik insists the outfit is a flight suit that helps with aerodynamics, despite the fact that he's inside a closed cockpit.
As alluded to earlier when Robotnik described his drones as eggs, the character's nickname from the games is Eggman. Sonic starts calling him this when he too notes the similarities between the drones and eggs.
35. I'm waiting
On the scene with the roof, when Sonic has all the missiles coming at him, he does the foot tap idle animation from the games. The animation is again shown in exact detail during the movie's end credits.
36. The rings
When Sonic's rings scatter on the ground, they make the same familiar (and horrifying) they do in the games--after Sonic loses his rings from taking a hit from an enemy.
37. Boss battle
In the final showdown with Robotnik, Sonic beats him much like he would in any boss fight in the games: by curling into an airborne ball and bashing his ship repeatedly until it's incapacitated.
38. Familiar melody
After Robotnik is defeated, the iconic Green Hill Zone theme from the games plays.
39. A f***en sweet car
In his "cave" in Tom and Maddie's attic, Sonic gets a super sweet racecar bed, just like in the comics.
40. There's the Robotnik we know and hate
After getting banished to the mushroom world, Robotnik is starting to take on his more familiar form from the video games. His plentiful mustache is a bushy mess and he's shaved his head. Clearly, he's not done with our blue friend yet.
41. That credits sequence
The end credits of the movie are done in 16-bit style, complete with recreations of levels from the first three Sonic games, as well as Sonic CD.
42. Miles "Tails" Prower has arrived
While Sonic finds a place on Earth at the end of the movie, the forces that have driven him from his home and to a bunch of other worlds are still out there. The mid-credits scene suggests there are more adventures for Sonic in the future with the appearance of Sonic's best friend and sidekick from the franchise, starting with Sonic 2: the two-tailed fox, Miles "Tales" Prower.
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