Takashi Iizuka Recalls His Reaction To Shadow Coming To The Sonic Movies

Earlier this year, Sega announced Fearless: The Year of Shadow, a yearlong celebration of one of Sonic’s biggest rivals, adversaries, and frenemies, Shadow the Hedgehog. In the past, Sonic Team creative officer Takashi Iizuka told me Shadow is his favorite character in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise outside of Sonic. It makes sense; after all, as the director of Sonic Adventure 2, where Shadow made his debut, Iizuka was instrumental in creating the dark hedgehog. 

“Even now, if you ask me who my favorite character is, Shadow is going to pop up there,” Iizuka says. “Even when we think about the foundation of the entire franchise, Sonic and Shadow are really holding up so much of the franchise. They’re very popular and dynamic characters.”

The announcement of Fearless: The Year of Shadow came shortly after the announcements that Sonic Superstars was adding a Shadow costume and that Sonic X Shadow Generations would be including Shadow as a playable character in the upcoming remaster. Iizuka saw this as a perfect opportunity to highlight such a popular character who happens to be one of his personal favorites.

But perhaps the biggest component of The Year of Shadow arrives at the tail end of the calendar, as Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the third theatrical release in the Sonic cinematic series, introduces Shadow to the film franchise. “So actually, the whole reveal at the end of Sonic 2 didn’t come from me; it came from the movie writers,” Iizuka says. “This is after movie one came out and was so popular and everyone was like, ‘We’ve got to do a second movie!’ The ideas just started flowing and one of those very rough scripts that came from the writing staff included that at the end we see Shadow. I was like, “Oh my gosh!’ So that idea was put in there by the writers. The writers did a great job because they know the fans, they know the audience, they know the characters, and they really wanted to make something fun and interesting and exciting. They love Sonic and they did a great job even at that rough stage of making sure Shadow was in that movie two ending. So, really, kudos to the writers and the team making the movie to know our characters and know the fans.”

Sonic x Shadow Generations

Iizuka is excited to be able to highlight Shadow this year, but hints that it might not be a one-off promotional venture when it comes to the Sonic brand. “In this year, I’m super happy that we have a game with Shadow featured in it with some great storytelling,” Iizuka says. “We have the movie coming out with Shadow in it and we have a lot of spotlight put on Shadow, whether it’s in a licensed product or animation or whatever it is that’s coming out, we’re just very, very happy that we get to promote Shadow so much this year, and we look forward to, in the coming years, being able to put a spotlight on some other characters in our franchise.”

Sonic X Shadow Generations arrives on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on October 25. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 hits theaters on December 20. For more on Sonic X Shadow Generations, read our hands-on impressions here.

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