Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a 2022 action-adventure comedy film directed by Jeff Fowler and written by Pat Casey, Josh Miller, and John Whittington, based on the video game franchise published by Sega. The sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), it stars Ben Schwartz returning as the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog, with the rest of the cast consisting of James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Shemar Moore, Colleen O'Shaughnessey, Lee Majdoub, Idris Elba, and Jim Carrey. The film follows Sonic (voiced by Schwartz) and Tails (voiced by O'Shaughnessey) teaming up to find the Master Emerald, before Dr. Eggman (Carrey) and Knuckles (voiced by Elba) do.
Following the success of the first film, and with plans for a series, Paramount Pictures announced the sequel in May 2020. Filming took place from March to June 2021 in Vancouver and Hawaii.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is scheduled for theatrical release in the United States on April 8, 2022, by Paramount Pictures in association with Sega Sammy Group. The film received generally positive reviews from critics for the performances, action scenes, humor, and animated characters, particularly Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, although the screenplay, length and pacing received criticism. On the other hand, the film was a large fan acclaim, with an audience score of 96% on RT, and is currently an ongoing box office success.
On the mushroom planet, Dr. Robotnik is recovering from his most recent failed escape attempt. Just then a Ring Portal opens with Knuckles, a red echidna warrior, stepping through. Knuckles promises to help Robotnik return to Earth, in exchange for telling him the location of Sonic.
Meanwhile on Earth, Sonic attempts to use his powers to work as vigilante; this becomes complicated when his attempt to stop a robbery accidentally destroys a Seattle city block and almost injures several people. Later on Sonic's adopted father, Tom, takes him fishing for a chat; Tom tells Sonic he is still just a kid and to remain patient until one day his powers will be needed.
Tom and his wife Maddie depart to Hawaii where her sister Rachel is due to get married, thus leaving Sonic home alone. As he spends his night partying, Sonic comes face-to-face with Robotnik before meeting Knuckles when the latter attacks him. Sonic then fights Knuckles and is taken about when Knuckles demands to know the location of the Master Emerald, a powerful relic that grants the user the power to devastate entire armies - which piques Robotnik's interest in the process. Sonic manages to escape Knuckles thanks to the intervention of Tails, a two-tailed fox who can spin his tails to fly.
Afterwards, Sonic and Tails greet each other. Tails then explains to Sonic that he has been watching him with gadgets, which Tails himself had invented, ever since Sonic had caused the electromagnetic pulse at the baseball field and was thereafter inspired by his bravery in battling Robotinik. Impressed by his genius, Sonic convinces Tails to help him reach the Master Emerald before Robotnik does first. At the same time, Robotnik promises to help Knuckles look for the Master Emerald in exchange for killing Sonic. Later on Robotnik reunites with Agent Stone before regaining his old technology and robots.
Sonic and Tails find a hidden message from Longclaw in her old map telling of her former role to protect the Master Emerald from the power-hungry Echidna tribe and that a compass revealing the location of the emerald lies in Siberia. The two find the compass and a temple created by the Owl Tribe, but are then ambushed by Robotnik and Knuckles. Another confrontation ensues between Sonic and Knuckles, during which Knuckles reveals that he is the sole survivor of the echidna tribe after they and the Owls both wiped each other out; since then Knuckles has blamed Longclaw for what happened and has been targeting Sonic to avenge his tribe, seeing Sonic as Longclaw's apprentice. Before Sonic can talk Knuckles down, Robotnik knocks Tails out and steals the compass before leaving with Knuckles as an avalanche starts. Sonic calls Tom to activate his spare ring to save them, interrupting the ongoing wedding. Sonic introduces Tom to Tails and explains the situation before the three are captured by the wedding goers, which were secretly agents working for the newly established Guardian Units of Nations (G.U.N) to combat alien forces such as Sonic; the wedding had been a façade that G.U.N engineered to monitor Tom and Maddie for information on Sonic's whereabouts.
Not long afterwards, Maddie and Rachel rescue Sonic, Tails and Tom from G.U.N by using the gadgets Tails had left from his dropped bag. In the meantime, Robotnik and Knuckles find the underwater temple containing the Master Emerald. The temple's awakening shoots a green beam into the sky, alerting Sonic to the imminent danger and showing G.U.N of the greater threat that Eggman poses. Sonic goes to the temple alone, worrying about getting anyone else hurt, and confronts Knuckles at the Emerald alter. As the two fight in equalled hand-to-hand combat, Robotnik steals the emerald and becomes all-powerful; he then betrays Knuckles by leaving him to die with Sonic in the collapsing temple. Sonic and Knuckles assist each other in escaping, after which they talk about losing their families on the same day before agreeing to put their differences aside. The two resolve to work together to defeat Robotnik and retake the Master Emerald as Tails recues them in a biplane.
Robotnik teleports to Green Hills and uses his newfound power to disassemble the G.U.N armies vehicles and create a giant mech version of himself. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles work together to fight the mech. Sonic distracts Robotnik, while Tails blasts into the mech's head and Knuckles steals the Emerald back however in the fight, the Master Emerald is shattered into the seven Chaos Emeralds, Sonic is badly injured and almost crushed by the mech before he is rescued by Tom and Maddie in a car. Robotnik, using the mech's backup power, destroys the car and goes to crush them before Sonic uses the Chaos Emeralds to transform into Super Sonic which turns him gold, allows him to fly and vastly improves his strength. Super Sonic destroys the mech and it crashes with Robotnik still on it. Sonic reverts back to normal and returns the emeralds to Knuckles who recreates the Master Emerald. With the Owls and Echidnas long gone, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles decide to be the Master Emerald's new guardians and keep it hidden with them in a cooler as the trio bond over a baseball game with Tom and Maddie.
In a post-credits scene, G.U.N fails to find Robotnik's body in the crash and presume him dead. As they go to erase his file, the organization uncovers a hidden 50-year old file named Project Shadow as a capsule containing a black-and-red hedgehog opens in a secret facility.
- Ben Schwartz as Sonic the Hedgehog: An anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who can run at supersonic speeds. He wishes to use his powers to be a hero and save lives but is too immature and reckless. His opportunity comes sooner than expected upon learning of Robotniks return and his search for the ultimate power of the Master Emerald.
- Colleen O'Shaughnessey as Miles "Tails" Prower: An anthropomorphic yellow fox who can fly with his two tails and Sonic's friend. He was shunned on his own planet for his two tails being seen as weird and was left lonely, but was inspired by Sonic after seeing his bravery in fighting Robotnik and joins up with Sonic after learning Knuckles is hunting him. O'Shaughnessey is the only voice cast member from the Sonic the Hedgehog games to reprise her role for the film.
- Idris Elba as Knuckles the Echidna: An anthropomorphic red echidna warrior with super strength who collaborates with Doctor Eggman to find the Master Emerald and defeat Sonic. He is the sole survivor of the echidna tribe after they were wiped out by the owl tribe. Elba prepared for the role by exploring the character's backstory and identity. Director Jeff Fowler wanted the film's potrayal of Knuckles to be reminiscent of his early appearances, and said "his entire existence is about honor and about being a warrior", describing him as "a force of nature".
- Jim Carrey as Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik: A mad scientist and Sonic's archenemy. After escaping from the mushroom planet, Robotnik teams up with Knuckles to get his revenge on Sonic and find the Master Emerald.
- James Marsden as Tom Wachowski: The sheriff of Green Hills, Montana and Sonic's friend. He goes away to Hawaii with his wife to celebrate Rachel's marriage, leaving Sonic alone in his house.
- Tika Sumpter as Maddie Wachowski: Tom's wife and the local veterinarian of Green Hills. She goes away to Hawaii with Tom to celebrate her sister's marriage.
- Natasha Rothwell as Rachel: Maddie's older sister who dislikes Tom. She is marrying Randall unaware he is a G.U.N agent using the wedding as a cover.
- Adam Pally as Wade Whipple: The deputy sheriff of Green Hills and Tom's friend. He's the temporary sheriff of Green Hills with Tom away.
- Shemar Moore as Randall: Rachel's fiancé and a secret G.U.N agent.
Lee Majdoub, Tom Butler and Elfina Luk reprise their roles as Agent Stone, Commander Walters and the Secretary of Homeland Security, respectively.
By April 2020, Marsden had expressed his interest in a sequel featuring several characters from the video games, including Tails, who appeared in a mid-credits scene in the first film. Director Jeff Fowler also expressed interest in developing a sequel that focused on Sonic and Tails' friendship and further developed Dr. Eggman. Later that month, Schwartz said that he felt it made sense for Paramount Pictures to not have announced a sequel by that point due to the COVID-19 pandemic, also adding that he was interested in a sequel featuring Tails and a more game-accurate portrayal of Eggman. Later that month, Sonic the Hedgehog co-writer Pat Casey revealed that there had been talks about a sequel, though the film had not been greenlit by Paramount by that point. He also said that Carrey was interested in wearing a fat suit in a sequel to more closely resemble Eggman's video game appearance. Casey also hinted that a sequel could feature Sonic's "Super Sonic" form and the Chaos Emeralds from the video games, also expressing a desire to introduce the characters of Knuckles the Echidna and Amy Rose. Knuckles' existence was hinted at with the echidna tribe seen during the first film's opening sequence.
In May, Paramount Pictures confirmed that a sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog was in development, with Fowler set to return as director alongside writers Casey and Josh Miller. Neal H. Mortiz, Toby Ascher, and Toru Nakahara will produce the sequel, having previously co-produced the first film alongside Takeshi Ito, while Tim Miller, Hajime Satomi, and Haruki Satomi will return from the first film as executive producers.
In December, it was confirmed by storyboard artist Fill Marc that artist Tyson Hesse, who redesigned Sonic for the first film, would return. The film title was announced as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in February 2021. In May, a synopsis of the story was released as Paramount submitted a patent to the U.S. Copyright Office catalog.
On January 27, 2020, Jim Carrey expressed interest in starring in a sequel, feeling that his character, the villain Dr. Robotnik, could be expanded in the sequel: "I wouldn't mind going to do another one because it was so much fun, first of all, and a real challenge to try to convince people that I have a triple-digit IQ... There is so much room, you know, Robotnik has not reached his apotheosis." On March 6, 2020, Sonic the Hedgehog star James Marsden confirmed that he had signed on for multiple sequels.
On January 26, 2021, Tika Sumpter announced that she would reprise her role as Maddie Wachowski. In March 2021, it was announced that Ben Schwartz and Jim Carrey would reprise their roles as Sonic and Robotnik respectively. That same month, it was confirmed that Adam Pally would reprise his role as Wade Whipple. In April 2021, James Marsden was confirmed to return as Tom Wachowski. On June 16, 2021, it was announced that Shemar Moore had joined the cast in an undisclosed role. On August 10, 2021, it was announced that Idris Elba had officially joined the cast as the voice of Knuckles the Echidna. That same month, it was confirmed that Natasha Rothwell would reprise her role as Rachel. On September 29, 2021, it was announced that Lee Majdoub would reprise his role as Agent Stone. On December 7, 2021, Colleen O'Shaughnessey announced she will return to voice Miles "Tails" Prower. On January 23, 2022, it was announced that Tom Butler and Elfina Luk would reprise their roles as Commander Walters and the Secretary of Homeland Security.
In December 2020, it was reported that the BC Film Commission had listed that the production of the film would occur from March 15 to May 10, 2021, under the working title Emerald Hill, a reference to the opening zone in the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 video game. In January 2021, Tika Sumpter revealed that the film would shoot in both Vancouver and Hawaii.
Principal photography began in Vancouver on March 15, 2021, with Brandon Trost serving as cinematographer. As a way to show his gratitude to the crew, Carrey held a raffle on May 7 in order to give away a Chevrolet Blazer; the car was eventually given to a grip. Filming in Vancouver concluded on May 12, 2021. Filming wrapped in Hawaii on June 25, 2021.
On December 8, 2021, Tom Holkenborg, who composed the first film, was announced to be returning to compose the film's score. The film was supported by a single titled “Stars in the Sky” by American musician Kid Cudi.
Visual effects and animation for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will be provided by Marza Animation Planet and Moving Picture Company, after previously working on the first film. John Whittington was announced as co-screenwriter in August 10, 2021. Additionally, DNEG will also provide the visual effects.
The teaser poster was revealed on December 7, 2021. The next day, the first trailer was released at The Game Awards 2021. The trailer includes a reworked version of Masato Nakamura's "Emerald Hill Zone" music from the original Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992) video game. Fans reacted very positively, with Elba as Knuckles attracting particular praise. Reviewers noted the difference in reaction compared to the first film's initial trailer that was released on April 30, 2019.
During the week before the Super Bowl, Paramount released four TV spots showcasing new footage and the reveal of the Death Egg robot. A special TV spot aired during Super Bowl LVI on February 13, 2022. The theatrical release poster excluded O'Shaughnessey's name, leading to fan outcry. The international poster, released shortly thereafter, included her name as well as Sumpter's on the upper billing block. The second and final trailer was released on March 14, 2022. Another poster was also revealed, resembling the North American boxart for the original Sonic the Hedgehog 2 video game.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is scheduled for theatrical release by Paramount Pictures first in France and the Netherlands on March 30, 2022 and later in the United States on April 8, 2022. 45 days after the film releases in the U.S., the film is slated to be on Paramount's streaming service Paramount+.
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 56% based on 25 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 46 out of 100 based on 10 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
In February 2022, Sega of America and Paramount Pictures confirmed that a third film entitled Sonic the Hedgehog 3 respectively and a Knuckles spin-off series are in active development. Elba will reprise his role as Knuckles for the series, which is set for release on the streaming service Paramount+.