Shadow the Hedgehog is in the next Sonic movie and all I can think about now is which Hollywood tough guy will voice him

Shadow the Hedgehog's movie shoe
(Image credit: Paramount)

After literal decades of middling-to-terrible 3D Sonic games, it seemed like an actual honest-to-god miracle that the Sonic movie and its sequel were so successful. Both movies got largely positive reviews, were praised for the performances of Ben Schwartz as Sonic and Jim Carrey as Robotnik, and made $300 million and $400 million, respectively.

I should have been prepared for the threequel to catapult movie Sonic into the era of videogame Sonic's "stupid friends," and yet I sustained significant psychic damage this morning when I came across this tweet from Sonic director Jeff Fowler, showing a highly detailed rendering of Shadow the Hedgehog's shoes. So long, movie Sonic's innocence; the biggest edgelord of the 2000s is coming for you.

Shadow is the most famous member of Sonic's modern entourage, so I guess it was inevitable that he's show up in the films eventually. Adapting Sonic's simple cartoony origins into a kid's movie is one thing—wading into the lore and nonstop cringe of the later games is very different territory for this movie series. But with Jim Carrey saying he was retiring after the release of Sonic 2, it seems possible, even sensible, that Shadow will be the new big bad in Sonic 3.

That's how he's positioned in the first game he appeared in, 2001's Sonic Adventure 2, in which he mostly struts around calling himself the "Ultimate Life Form". Inevitably Shadow takes on an antihero role and becomes a begrudging member of the crew, which seems like such an obvious plotline for a Hollywood movie to lift that I'm already certain that's what's going to happen, and so have moved on to racking my brain over who is most likely to play Shadow in the film. 

After the pitch perfect casting of Idris Elba as Knuckles in Sonic 2, I'm certain the producers will be looking for a big name to fill in as the baddie this time. But who? Which A-Lister will potentially have the opportunity to read one of the all-time good-bad lines of dialogue in videogame history?

My best guesses: 

(Image credit: Sega, WB)

John Cena: Action star, can be both intimidating and goofy, has played villains before.

(Image credit: Sega, Lionsgate)

Keanu Reeves: Sometimes takes on surprise roles; has honed his aloof world weariness in recent years.

(Image credit: Sega, Paramount)

Chris Pine: Look, one of the Chrises is probably going to be in this movie, might as well guess this one.

Oscar Isaac and Shadow

(Image credit: Disney, Sega)

Oscar Isaac: Has already voiced several animated films; has star power but probably costs like 1/8th of a Rock.

Meryl Streep and Shadow

(Image credit: Getty Images / Steve Granitz , Sega)

Meryl Streep: We all know she could do it.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).