Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (partially lost unaired pilot of DIC animated series; 1992)
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog was an American animated series produced by DiC Entertainment and Bohbot Entertainment that was based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series produced by Sega. A total of 65 episodes were produced for its one season and were originally shown through syndication in the United States from September to December 1993.
In 1992, a pilot was produced to sell the show. It was produced in-house in America rather than being outsourced to Asia as the regular series was, resulting in better animation quality. It was unaired and not included on any of the DVD releases of the series, as it was not meant for public broadcast. A portion of it was later included in the episode "Untouchable Sonic" when Scratch and Grounder are watching television. The version shown features a full sound mix and suggests that the pilot was eventually completed in some form. An additional segment featuring Dr. Robotnik being crushed by an anvil was later incorporated within the end credits sequence of each episode. Clips of the pilot were later featured in a 1994 commercial for Fox 39 Kids Club and again in the 2008 'The Vision' trailer for the video game, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.
Then, in March 2009, a 7 minute version of what appeared to be the full length pilot was uploaded by YouTube user dvariano, with permission from Milton Knight. This version is notable for featuring no music or sound effects, and it also appears to be a rough cut of the final film (i.e. there's a timecode present and the film appears to have not yet been telecined). There is hardly any talking from most of the characters, except Sonic. The voices of Dr. Robotnik and Scratch are provided by the American voice actor Jim Cummings, instead of Long John Baldry and Phil Hayes respectively. Tails is voiced by Russi Taylor (child actor Christopher Welch would take over starting with the first episode), and Gary Owens voices a narrator.
It is likely that a final, finished copy of the pilot does exist, as evidenced above, but whether this will see the light of day, however, remains to be seen.
On December 14, 2021, home entertainment company Discotek announced they would be re-releasing the entire AoStH series on Blu-ray in February of 2022. The already-found workprint version of the pilot was included as a bonus feature.
Courtesy of Sonic Retro
This episode opens with Sonic running down a pathway when he comes along Emerald Hill Zone and a wanted poster featuring himself and stops to look at it. Although the wanted poster has a specific amount of the money listed as the reward for his capture, Robotnik is seen saying that whoever catches Sonic can name their own reward. Sonic interrupts the meeting and takes off and the Robotnik minions inside quickly give chase. Fortunately a bull which charges Sonic runs into his pursuers instead and allows Sonic to run away freely. Robotnik launches a cactus at Sonic but he easily outruns it and Robotnik winds up in the trajectory of the exploding cactus. Robotnik is shown later trying to crush Sonic under a heavy weight but only manages to make Sonic change his path of travel.
Robotnik comes up with a plan to steal the water supply of a town but Sonic comes to their aid by reversing the suction of the vacuum to instead put the water back. Robotnik tries drilling a hole underneath Sonic as he is relaxing in the sun and he has Sonic in his hands but Tails flies down and hits a lever that causes the machine to move forward and it drills out the side of a cliff. Robotnik again tries to attack the town but is quickly thwarted by Sonic as he uses his spindash to destroy the arms on the machine. The scene quickly cuts to Robotnik mounting his checker ball and chain vehicle and chasing Sonic. Sonic wraps the machine in tape which apparently prevents Robotnik from accessing the controls as it crashes into the side of a cliff.
The last scene has Sonic signing off the show while standing in front of the shows logo. The following is an exact quote: "Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. It's fast and furious. I'm fast and he's furious. Gotta juice. Betcha can't catch me. At least not until the fall of 93.".
- Kent Butterworth (producer, director, storyboard)
- Milton Knight (animation, storyboard, layout, Robotnik character design)
- Ed Love (animation)
- Gary Paul Terry (storyboard, layout, Scratch and Grounder character design)
- Eddie Fitzgerald (storyboard)
- Mike Fontanelli (design)
- Marc Schirmeister (design)
- Jordan Reichek (design)
- Gary Owens (voice: narrator)
- Jaleel White (voice: Sonic)
- Jim Cummings (voices: Robotnik, Scratch, additional characters)
- Russi Taylor (voices: Tails)
Commercials With Clips Of The Pilot
- Sonic Retro: Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (pilot). Retrieved 16 Sept '17.