Ever since 2010, anytime Sonic the Hedgehog appeared in a video game, TV show, or movie (like, say, Wreck-It Ralph 2) the actor behind that voice was Roger Craig Smith. But next year, Smith will turn over Sonic’s shiny red Power Sneakers to Ben Schwartz, who’s set to voice the iconic Sega character in a feature film also starring Jim Carrey as the villainous Doctor Eggman
Smith has at least one more performance as Sonic left (a Team Sonic Racing video game was recently delayed into 2019), but it’s unclear what will happen after that. In an interview, Smith tells Inverse what it’s been like voicing the Blur Blur for almost a decade, how he feels now that the role may be winding down, and one incredible idea for a scene he’d like to see in next year’s Sonic the Hedgehog movie.
“I think it’d be kind of cool on the big screen in 3D — I’m not saying this a 3D movie I have no idea if it is or isn’t — an imagining of the Greenville Zone from one of the original games but in a first-person perspective,” Smith says about the upcoming film. “Getting a true sense of speed and the real world that was comparable to what we saw in these previous games, that would be a fun thing to explore.”
You can almost hear the gears turning in Smith’s brain. After eight years as Sonic, the possibility of a big-budget movie really does mean unlimited potential. But whether the idea of an immersive 3D Sonic experience on the big screen sounds incredible or a bit nauseating doesn’t really matter. When it comes to the movie, Smith is just another fan like the rest of us.
“I have zero clue where they’re gonna go with this or how they’ll pull it off,” he says. “I’m just as excited as any other Sonic fan to see what they’re going to do.”
Of course, Smith isn’t just a Sonic fan. He is Sonic, or at least, he was. When Sega set out to “revitalize the brand” in 2010, he auditioned for the part and got it. Now that the role may be coming to an end, Smith seems hopeful, both that the movie will introduce even more people to the character he’s come to love and that there may still a space for him in the Sonic universe for him.
“If there’s anything that can assist a project in getting their eyeballs on to it it makes perfectly good sense,” Smith says, “and I have a meager online following in comparison to someone like that Ben Schwartz. Ben’s been gracious enough to take the role and be appreciative, he mentioned me in a couple of tweets. That’s the business, and really and truly If they continue with me for games and cartoons…”
Smith trails off for a second. Moments earlier, he’d played off the 8-year role as just another gig (“I feel an attachment to everything I do”), but there’s clearly something special about Sonic.
Perhaps this is best illustrated by one particular gift Smith received from Sega, which comes up when he’s asked about the internet’s often bizarre obsession with Sonic and his poorly drawn parody, Sanic.
“Sega has even embraced Sanic,” Smith says. “I have a Sanic t-shirt that I got from Sega. It’s a thing.”
Wreck it Ralph 2 is in theaters now. Sonic the Hedgehog is expected to release in November, 2019.
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