Sonic the Hedgehog’s live-action movie design is too ugly to live, director and studio promise to make changes.

Speed is Sonic the Hedgehog’s thing. He’s never been able to match rival Super Mario in terms of power-ups or agility, but the Blue Blur has always been openly proud that he’s the fastest video game mascot.

So it’s kind of fitting that just two days after the trailer for the upcoming live-action Sonic movie was released to near-universal ridicule/terrordirector Jeff Fowler has announced that the character’s appearance is being redesigned prior to release.

▼ The trailer that set off the controversy

“The message is loud and clear… you aren’t happy with the design & you want changes. It’s going to happen,” tweeted Fowler. It’s a stark reversal from the way distributor Paramount Pictures reacted to the initial bout of fan criticism when a teaser image of movie Sonic was released last year, which took a more dismissive tone towards the longer limbs and more muscular physique the titular star had compared to his video game version.

The shift is good news for long-time Sonic fans, but perhaps no one has more reason to be happy than Yuji Naka, Sonic’s original creator, who reacted to Fowler’s announcement with:

“The power of Sonic fans is amazing. I hope this leads to a better design for him in the movie. Thank you for loving Sonic!”

Fans have been pretty specific in their complaints about the initial look for movie Sonic, and most of them are related to giving the character human-like characteristics. Movie Sonic is oddly hairy-looking, and his smaller head-to-body ratio makes the character look much less cartoonish, but also sort of disturbing. He’s also got small, white-colored hands instead of the oversized gloves he wears in the games, but the most panic-inducing aesthetic choice for movie Sonic is his entirely human-looking teeth.

Almost as soon as the trailer was released, fans began creating their own, more faithful Sonic renders, and they were quick to share them with Fowler following his tweet.

In defense of the artists who came up with movie Sonic’s design, there’s a critical aspect of the original Sonic that they might be understandably leery about trying to integrate into a film where he has to interact with other humans: his one eyeball. It’s not something everyone is conscious of when looking at Sonic, but in the games Sonic has one oval-shaped eyeball with two pupils, with the lines of his eyebrows/forehead visually breaking the section up into what appear to be left and right eyes.

In a video game world where the only human is the surreally rotund Dr. Robotnik/Eggman, or hand-drawn animation, that single-eyeball design works just fine as a stylized, cartoony element. If Sonic is in the real world, though, and talking with real human actors, the one-eyeball design might come off as grotesque or distracting.

Unfortunately, video game Sonic displays a lot of his emotion through that one-eyeball design, since changing the shape of his eyebrow dramatically changes the shape of his entire face. Without that option in a two-eyed version, maybe the movie’s designers felt they needed to have different ways for Sonic to display emotion, such as through his mouth, posture, and gestures, which then led them to give him more detailed teeth and longer limbs.

▼ Of course, when the emotion displayed is this, you have to ask whether it’s worth it.

“#gottafixfast” Fowler ended his tweet with, and while that’s a hat-tip to Sonic’s English-language catchphrase, “Gotta go fast,” it’s also true for his production team, since Sonic is currently scheduled for an early November release, which doesn’t leave much time for a major visual overhaul of the main character.

Images: YouTube/Paramount Pictures
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