Big spoilers ahead for Sonic the Hedgehog.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a movie that moves as fast as its speedy lead character, so it’s unlikely that even the biggest fans of the Blue Blur caught all of the references and Easter eggs that pass by in the background or pop up on the soundtrack. Clearly reading the memo from angry fans in response to the first character’s misguided divergence from the perfectly cute original, Sega and Paramount delivered a film littered with nods to the original games, spinoff cartoons, and comic series. Whether you’re a dyed-in-the-quill fan or a newbie, here are the Easter eggs to keep an eye out for:
Notice anything different in the Paramount logo here? Instead of stars spreading over the mountain, we get gold rings, like the kind Sonic collects. In the game, the hedgehog hoards rings for power and protection. In the movie, he carries them around in a little baggie, and they act as portals to other worlds.
The Japanese trailer didn’t lie: There is a baby Sonic. Okay, more like an elementary-school-aged Sonic, but he’s still super adorable! Bad news for anyone who wants to buy a plush friend for their Baby Yoda — the Baby Sonic plushie was based on the pre-redesigned version.
So Sonic’s owl guardian Longclaw — who apparently raised Baby Sonic on an unnamed island planet before sacrificing herself and bequeathing him the rings that allow the hedgehog to flee danger — isn’t a character we’ve seen in the Sonic universe before. But there was an owl in the 1996 Sonic the Hedgehog animated movie, so maybe they’re related? We’re grasping at rings here.
On his home planet, Baby Sonic is being hunted down for his power by a dangerous tribe that clearly resembles the ancient echidna clans from the Sonic the Hedgehog games. Could one of them turn out to be Knuckles or Tikal? Maybe in the sequel. For now, they’re seemingly one of many foes who covet Sonic’s powers, forcing him to flee to a series of different worlds.
Green Hill Zone
Green Hill Zone is the oldest recurring location in the Sonic games, appearing as an early level throughout the series. Sonic’s home planet at the beginning of the film resembles it, with its loop de loops and lush greenery, and when a fleeing Sonic eventually arrives on Earth, he settles in a town called Green Hills, Montana.
Hill Top Rd.
In the movie, Sonic’s cave lair has a ping-pong table made from a stolen highway sign for “Hill Top Rd.” This is a reference to the Hill Top Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Giant mushrooms have been a part of the Sonic topography since Sonic & Knuckles, providing bouncy launch pads in the Mushroom Hill Zone. In the movie, after Sonic accidentally alerts the U.S. government to his unforeseen powers, he is forced to consider seeking solace on the so-called Mushroom Planet, which has a breathable atmosphere and no living things to hunt him down.
In the movie, “Crazy Carl” is the only resident of Green Hills who believes in Sonic’s existence. He calls him the “Blue Devil,” prompting the rest of the townsfolk to treat Carl like a Big Foot conspiracist. At one point, he waves around his artist’s rendering of the creature he’s only caught glimpses of; it’s a crayon rendering of the most infamous Sonic art ever made: Sanic.
Everyone knows Sonic loves chili dogs. They are to him what lasagna is to Garfield. In the movie, Sonic eats his first chili dog at the Piston Pit trucker bar with Sheriff Tom Wachowski, who is currently aiding Sonic in his attempts to avoid being apprehending by government agents led by Dr. Robotnik. In fact, the dogs are so good Sonic sleep-talks about them later that night in the motel.
At one point during their evasion scheme, Sonic rolls himself into a superfast wheel on the highway. Heyyy, that’s a spin dash move.
When fighting off a pursuing Robotnik and his army of drones, Sonic recovers from a blow and says he must’ve had a “bonus life.” Some light video-game humor, as a treat.
When Doctor Robotnik searches for the control panel to reboot his ride after a “power surge,” you can see another panel labelled “BADNIKS,” referring, of course, to original Eggman’s robots.
Gotta Go Fast!
Sonic says the iconic phrase when he’s woken up with smelling salts.
Finally! An origin story for Sonic’s legendary shoes. In the movie, they’re given to him by Tom Wachowski’s niece. It’s very cute.
Even though Sonic’s sneakers look like the classics, on close inspection, they have a tiny Puma tab. In the first teaser, before the cartoony redesign, Sonic wore photo-realistic Pumas. And that’s not the only craven product placement in the movie. There are multiple jokes about Olive Garden, including a lingering shot of the logo and talk of “never-ending pasta,” prominent Zillow placement, and logos for Busch and Toyota, throughout.
When Robotnik shoots missiles at Sonic on the roof of the Transamerica Pyramid, he slows down time, puts his hands on his hips, and taps his foot impatiently, just like his idle animation in the games.
Did that San Francisco chase sequence look familiar? Maybe because “City Escape,” the first stage of Sonic Adventure 2, was inspired by San Francisco, where the American division of Sonic Team was located. This level is lodged in my head for all eternity because it has a great original song.
The Rise of Eggman
More like Easter Eggman, am I right? (Sorry.) For most of the movie, Jim Carrey plays a slightly more refined version of the Doctor Robotnik we know and love: slender, full head of hair, dressed in black, with tiny Fashion Week sunglasses instead of goggles. During the San Francisco showdown, though, Robotnik has swapped out the Neo look for his classic red goggles and suit. When he unleashes his sleek white drones, Sonic says, “Your flying eggs are pretty impressive, Mr. Eggman,” referencing the character’s original Japanese name that was eventually adopted by the English versions as well.
And in a mid-credits sequence, we see Robotnik, this time bald-headed and with his signature big, bushy mustache, driven to madness and vengeance on the Mushroom Planet where Sonic sent him.
Race Car Bed
Sonic has a race car bed, just like in the comics.
Just like he did in the games, Miles “Tails” Prower shows up in time for the sequel, in a post-credits sequence.
Keep your ears peeled for some familiar musical motifs. Original Sonic game music composer Masato Nakamura has a credit on the movie for writing the classic “Green Hill Zone,” which is incorporated into the score.