When Idris Elba was announced as Knuckles the Echidna for the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the internet lost its mind at the idea of the Brit’s voice inhabiting the role of a mammal with big ass fists. Given how sometimes voiceover roles can see A or B-list actors not really give it their all, there was also some worry about that happening here. But it sounds that, like some of Elba’s other recent work, he’ll be putting the work in and having a blast doing it.
Speaking to Polygon shortly after the release of the trailer from earlier in the week, director Jeff Fowler discussed how Elba asked about the character’s lore and motivation to really get into the mindset of the knuckly...uh, Knuckles. Elba was, in his words, looking for Knuckles’ “backstory and identity, and find everything that an actor needs in order to create a character and a kind of craft performance,” said Fowler. “He was eager to absorb it all, and workshop him into best version of the character.” He thinks Elba nailed the performance, and hopes fans will be excited to see the character’s journey through the film.
Since the sequel is set not long after the first movie, the echidna serves as a challenge for the hedgehog as he’s trying to get a handle on being a hero. Knuckles will eventually go from being an enemy to one of Sonic’s best friends, but first, they naturally have to go at it. Fowler pointed out how, since Knuckles is an actual warrior, he’ll be outclassing Sonic for most of their fights. Those battles, Fowler compared to the brawls we’ve seen between Captain America and Iron Man: “It just offers so much opportunity in terms of fight choreography and action...You’ve got Sonic’s speed, you’ve got Knuckles’ super strength, and we just put them in an environment and let them go at it.”
Fowler further described the character as “a force of nature, and Sonic is out of his element at first because Knuckles is just more than he can handle — it felt like such dramatic sort of material, and such a great foundation to build a movie story around.” Good thing Sonic will have Colleen O’Shaughnessey’s Tails to back him up, then.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will release in theaters on April 8, 2022.
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