Sonic the Hedgehog is already one of the best superhero movies of 2020, and like any superhero movie these days, it uses some airtime after the movie ends to tee up what to expect in future installments. The spoiler-free explanation here is that yes, Sonic the Hedgehog has some post-credits scene.
Here's what they mean for the emerging Sonic-verse and for what we hope is the eventual Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Warning! Big spoilers for Sonic the Hedgehog follow.
Sonic the Hedgehog firmly establishes Sonic as some kind of intelligent alien species, and he's special amongst the anthropomorphic animals on his home planet on account of his super-speed. A regular-shaped female owl named Longclaw is his mentor, and a tribe of echidnas hunts him down when he's still very young in the movie's opening scenes. (Shoutout to Knuckles, the red echidna most Sonic fans will remember from many different Sonic video games, who doesn't appear in the film.) Golden rings, a staple of the Sonic games, function as magical teleportation rings here Longclaw uses to send him to Earth.
Sonic spends years alone hiding out in the woods with explicit instructions that if things ever get dangerous, he should use a ring and teleport to Mushroom World, a riff on the Mushroom Hill Zone that frequently appears in Sonic games. After Sonic triggers a power surge on a massive scale, he's forced to defend himself against Dr. Ivo Robotnik with the help of some nice humans — and he instead banishes Robotnik to Mushroom World.
Here's where things get interesting in the post-credits scenes.
Dr. Robotnik assumes his classic form in Mushroom World
The first crucial scene that takes place after the main story wraps up is a flash-forward to some months later on the aforementioned Mushroom World, where Robotnik has been stranded for months with the wreckage of the high-tech ship he used to attack Sonic. He finishes shaving his head, and we see that his already silly mustache has grown out several inches. With his goggles on, he looks remarkably similar to the classic form of Dr. Robotnik in the games and cartoon.
Robotnik has become seemingly even crazier from all this time spent in isolation, so much so that he's even carved a face out of a large rock so he can carry on conversations with "Agent Stone." For anyone who thought Jim Carrey's costume and demeanor didn't fully embody the Robotnik most fans know, this mid-credits scene corrects that in a way that'll be the new standard in potential sequels.
Tails arrives on Earth!
In just about every Sonic the Hedgehog story, Sonic's brilliant and kindhearted sidekick is a talking fox with a twirly tail that allows him to fly around like a mini helicopter. Miles "Tails" Prower is even more ridiculous than a hedgehog that can run really fast in some ways, and he's even more adorable.
After the stylish mid-credits finish in Sonic the Hedgehog, we shift to a hill overlooking Green Hills, the small town where the film starts and ends. Tails appears through a ring-based portal. "If these readings are accurate, he’s here!" Tails says. "I hope I’m not too late!" Then he flies away with his helicopter tail towards town, where Sonic is now living in the attic of his human friends.
It's unclear what any of this means exactly, but we can safely assume that Tails is from the same culture as Sonic. Tails used some kind of gadget to track Sonic's energy signature. By using his powers throughout the movie in some occasionally extreme ways, he probably projected his energy signature throughout the universe in ways that might be traceable with sophisticated enough technology.
What will Sonic the Hedgehog 2 be about?
It becomes abundantly clear that any potential sequels will involve a Sonic & Tails team-up adventure where we learn a lot more about Sonic and where he comes from, which would be an interesting inversion of the traditional hero origin story. Robotnik will also inevitably develop some kind of technology that allows him to leave Mushroom World. Will he rebuild his precious army of drones and travel back to Earth to get his revenge on Sonic? Almost definitely.
One thing's for sure: Paramount Pictures has gotta go fast to make this sequel happen ASAP.
Sonic the Hedgehog is now in theaters.