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Sonic 3 movie: Everything we know right now

(L to R) Tails, Sonic and Knuckles stand in front of a portal ring and a pair of Robotnik's drones
(Image credit: Paramount Pictures via Twitter)

Is a Sonic 3 movie happening? Well, we've got good news and some ... well ... troubling news about the upcoming film. We'll get to the less-than-great possibilities about that film below, but the good news is that the third chapter in the Jeff Fowler-directed Sonic The Hedgehog movie series is a go. (And it better go to production fast if you ask us: we can't wait.)

The news of a Sonic the Hedgehog 3 movie has been out for a short while now, and it always made sense that we'd get more of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. 

Before Sonic The Hedgehog 2 even hit theaters, we knew a Knuckles spin-off series featuring the voice acting work of Idris Elba was confirmed for Paramount Plus. Think of the show as Sonic 2's version of the Peacemaker spinoff from The Suicide Squad.

Sonic 3 movie release date speculation

A Sonic 3 movie release date is a tricky thing. The release of both Sonic movies were delayed by setbacks that the third chapter may not have to deal with (though a new challenge could arrive).

While the first Sonic movie's development took ages to complete, let's look at the window of August 2018 (when Ben Schwartz was on board (opens in new tab)) to its Feb. 2020 release as its production cycle. 

In April 2019, the first Sonic The Hedgehog movie famously reversed course on its too-natural/feral look for Sonic, which you can see below. The design just didn't look cute enough. Then, in May of that same year, it was announced that the Sonic character would be redesigned. This pushed the film back from November 8, 2019 to February 14, 2020. 

The original Sonic design for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie

(Image credit: Paramount via Movieclips/Facebook)

If that first Sonic movie had gotten the character right the first time, the cycle would have probably been around a year and a few months (Aug. 2018 to Nov. 2019) long.

As for Sonic 2? Buzz began in January 2020, when Jim Carrey (opens in new tab) expressed interest before the first movie even came out. It wasn't until May 2020 that Paramount (opens in new tab) confirmed the sequel was in development. Production went from March 15 (opens in new tab) to June 25, 2021 (opens in new tab), and the film was released on March 30, 2022. This gives a window of a little under 2 years, at 22 months.

Throughout this whole process, the Covid-19 pandemic likely slowed some things down, and Ben Schwartz (opens in new tab) had said he thought the delay in any announcement was tied to the pandemic.

What this all means: It feels like the 15-month window for the original Sonic movie seems most likely, especially since that would put a Sonic 3 movie out in the early summer of 2023. A winter 2023 release is also possible, but the Sonic movies fit the summer movie window a little more on the nose.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 movie cast speculation

Remember when I said I had some bad news? Well, that's about one of the principal actors of the first two movies: Jim Carrey. On March 31, 2022, Access Hollywood (opens in new tab) (around the 4:19 mark) published an interview with Carrey where he said he's "retiring." 

His decision seems to be final, but he also spoke about it as if it was just for the moment, and he referred to this as a "break" from acting. Carrey also said that the right script written "in gold ink" that would be "really important for people to see" would be enough for him to come back. 

Why is he stepping back? Well, Carrey said "I have enough. I've done enough. I am enough." Sounds like someone who's lived an amazing life.

Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) sits in a truck in the first Sonic movie

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

So, that could take Jim Carrey out as Robotnik, as Sonic 2 producer Neal H Moritz told IGN (opens in new tab) that "we wouldn't even try" to recast the character. Fellow producer Toby Ascher said that "Jim Carrey is always a member of the Sonic family and he'll always have a place in these movies and TV shows as long as he'd like to be around. We love Jim and he's so special, and what he does with Robotnik is so incredible. We would love him as long as he'd like to be there with us."

Moritz did give folks reason for optimism for a return from Carrey, saying "And I have a feeling that he loves Robotnik so much that I don't think he'll be able to walk away from it."

And consider this your spoiler warning for Sonic 2 plot points!

A close-up of Sonic the hedgehog in the Sonic movie

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Aside from Carrey, it appears that the entire live-action and voice-actor cast of Sonic 2 should return, as nobody was killed off in that movie. That means the following cast is still in play:

  • Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Colleen O'Shaughnessey as the voice of Miles "Tails" Prower, Sonic's new best friend and sidekick
  • Idris Elba as the voice of Knuckles the Echidna, Sonic's new friend who was introduced as an enemy allied with Dr. Robotnik.
  • Donna Jay Fulks as Longclaw the brown owl who speaks to Sonic from holographic recordings
  • James Marsden as Green Hills sheriff Tom Wachowski
  • Tika Sumpter as local vet Maddie Wachowski, who is also Tom's wife
  • Natasha Rothwell as Rachel, Maddie's older sister
  • Melody Nosipho Niemann as Rachel's daughter Jojo
  • Adam Pally as Wade Whipple, the hapless deputy sheriff of Green Hills
  • Shemar Moore as Rachel's fiancé Randall, who was also an undercover GUN agent
  • Lee Majdoub as Stone, Dr. Robotnik's assistant
  • Tom Butler as GUN leader Commander Walters

There's also the matter of Jason Griffith, who has voiced one of Sonic's rivals, Shadow the Hedgehog — who appeared in Sonic 2's post-credits scene. Because O'Shaughnessey was brought in to voice Tails, there's reason to suspect that Griffith will also voice Shadow. Kirk Thornton has also voiced Shadow.

Sonic 3 movie plot speculation

All that said, it's not hard to see what we could be getting in a Sonic 3 movie, especially if the movie uses the available source material for storytelling.

Shadow, for those who don't know, was created by Gerald Robotnik — the grandfather of the Eggman Jim Carrey played in the first two movies — as a part of Project Shadow (which was meant to find a way to immortality).  While Carrey's absence would seem like a big issue, it can be easily solved — especially if you bring in someone like Jack Black to portray his grandfather in flashback scenes.

Shadow, an occasional rival of Sonic's, makes perfect sense for a villain. And what would a villain be without a crony? We bet Stone — if Robotnik is gone and he needs a new boss — would love to work on the Robotnik legacy with Shadow. 

And the appearance of this new super-duper Sonic would likely force Sonic, Tails and Knuckles to work together again to stop him.

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.