Sonic the Hedgehog: Wonders of the World (lost script of cancelled film adaptation of video game series; 1990s)
Sonic the Hedgehog: Wonders of the World was a cancelled film adaptation of the Sonic the Hedgehog character from the SEGA video game series. It was the first one of its kind, proceeding an upcoming live-action/CGI movie distributed by Paramount Pictures that is set to come out in November 2019 (and has quite the infamous design). It was planned to be released as a tie in with the cancelled 1996 Sega Saturn game Sonic X-Treme.
12-year-old Josh Pinski reads out his school paper on Sonic (a different one, not the hedgehog), a test pilot killed in an explosion when he attempted to break the speed barriers. Josh hasn't actually finished his paper though, and he is speaking from memory. He is threatened by his teacher to have his parents called in if he doesn't finish the paper by tomorrow morning. He is then picked up from school by his Dad, Hal, who is a computer genius that cannot find work.
After they eat dinner (the treatment for the film says that Josh's family is divorced), Hal goes to find some rare computer part and tells Josh to not touch his greatest invention, the XRI, which is an artificial intelligence computer that uses a system of holographic memory. Josh touches it anyway and asks it to write his paper on Sonic, the test pilot. However, XRI doesn't recognize the name, so Josh plugs in a Sega Saturn and a copy of Sonic X-Treme, and Sonic (the hedgehog) stops moving when Josh uses the controller and gets a mind of his own. Suddenly, Sonic jumps right out of the screen and into the real world. He immediately goes haywire and the apartment Josh lives starts to fall apart. In the middle of the chaos, Eggman (or Dr. Robotnik) jumps out of the TV screen as well and laughs evilly.
Sonic tries to find Eggman but is confused and dazed by the real world and what happens to him in it. When he jumps onto some rooftops, their chimneys collapse. When he runs through traffic, he wrecks all the cars, and when he tries to impress a little girl, he just ends up scaring her. He also gets weaker the longer he spends in the real world.
When Hal comes home, he is shocked to find the apartment wrecked and the XRI broken. When he asks Josh about what happened, he lies and says it was burglars. Lisa, Josh's mother, comes over and ends up getting in an argument with Hal, and Josh is blamed for it. She takes him back to her house, where Josh goes to sleep. However, he is woken up by Sonic, who is exhausted and weak due to the real world, and must get his energy back from Chaos Emeralds. They team up, and discover that Chaos Emeralds exist in the real world, but are hidden in normal rocks.
Meanwhile, Eggman is using an old abandoned amusement park and plans to use the Chaos Emeralds to take over the real world. He comes across some bullies and uses old parts to turn them into "Bullibots". Then, they start digging underground to crush every rock and find the Chaos Emeralds. Sonic and Josh find the Bullibots and use them to track down Eggman. Meanwhile, Hal has gotten a job at Shady Corporation, the people who own Botnikland. Sonic and Josh discover that Hal has been hired so Eggman can use XRI to digitize the wonders of the world (hence the name of the film) like Mt. Everest and the Amazon Rainforest. He is also using XRI to make a virtual reality ride. The park is a smash success with the kids due to the fact that everything is free, but Josh and Sonic discover that the kids who enter are turned into robotic slaves. Josh is scared, but Sonic tells him to stand up for what's right. Sonic is captured while Josh tries to tell Hal what Eggman's true motives are. He is ignored.
The "Kinder-Bot Kids" return to their houses and do everything their parents say, such as eating their veggies and doing their homework. Josh is horrified by this, and creates a plan to get Eggman back into Sonic X-Treme. Sonic is used as bait. They succeed in luring Eggman back into the game, but Josh gets sucked in too. The final showdown occurs, Sonic and Josh against Eggman. The two heroes win, and Josh goes through the vortex back into the real world, but Sonic says he has to stay behind in the video game world to continue to fight Eggman.
Hal states that the XRI is too dangerous and unsafe to ever use again, and tells Josh to put it away. He obliges, but notices Sonic winking at him before going about his business in Sonic X-Treme.
Production and Cancellation
Sonic was at the height of popularity around the early 1990s, so Sega signed a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Trilogy Entertainment to create a film based on the blue hedgehog, and Michealene Risley tasked Richard Jeffries with writing a treatment for the film.
The executives liked the script, but everyone was nervous about something, which turned out to be about who was gonna be the villain. Jeffries was asked by Shinobu Toyoda to change the villain, as the executives thought that the story being about Sonic fighting Robotnik would be "not new" to Sonic fans. Michealene Risley didn't agree with this, saying "Robotnik was a great villain in the animated series and the games." Jeffries agreed with Risley, saying "They were probably trying to develop a new bad guy for the game[s]."
However, before Richard was able to be given the go-ahead and start writing a script with a new villain, MGM left the deal with Sega. Jeffries said:
"I don’t know when exactly it happened, but I got a call from my agent to say that MGM and Sega couldn’t come to an agreement on a corporate level that would work for them. It wasn’t going to work out and they were going to pay me off, and I thought ‘gee that’s too bad’ because it’s a really good idea."
Jeffries was given permission to shop around the script, and he stopped at DreamWorks. However, they were not interested, due to the fact that Sega wanted them to pay a lot of money to use the character, and DreamWorks wanted to use a low-priced character that they could "breathe new life into".
Jeffries realized that the film was never gonna be made after the DreamWorks deal flopped. Sonic X-Treme was also cancelled as well in 1997, probably not helping the chances of the film being made. The script for this film has never surfaced, and due to the evolvement of Sonic over the years (newer characters and different stories), the film will probably never be made.
- A Kotaku article on the Internet's reaction to Sonic's 2019 film design. Retrieved 21 Apr '19
- Kotaku article on the story of the cancelled film. Retrieved 21 Apr '19
- An article on the making of Sonic X-Treme. Retrieved 21 Apr '19