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Common Knowledge / Sonic the Hedgehog

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Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most iconic video game characters of The '90s, but it's still prone to a lot of Common Knowledge. A lot of this is due to fanon being mistaken for canon, Adaptation Displacement with the various, often wildly different, adaptations, and Audience-Coloring Adaptation.

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     The Games 
  • One of the biggest misconceptions in the modern Sonic fandom is the belief that it was retconned in a 2017 interview with Iizuka that the animal and human societies featured in the series were actually in separate dimensions that Sonic and his friends somehow have the power to warp between, and that Sonic Forces likewise rendered the classic series games an Alternate Continuity based on Tails stating Classic Sonic was "from another world", despite both contradicting vast swaths of the previous games events and raising a mind-boggling amount of questions. In reality, both stem from a recurring translation error regarding the Japanese word sekai, which literally means "the world", but is actually far broader in terms of meaning, with it being able to refer to different societies and time periods. What Iizuka was referring to was that the human and animal societies were separated, and that Classic Sonic is meant to be from another time period (much like Silver, who consistently refers to his future as "my world"), as was clearly intended to be the case from the very beginning. That Sonic spin-off media like Sonic X and Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) often do portray the human world as being completely separate from Sonic's, the complete disappearance of humans besides Eggman from the 2010s games, and Executive Meddling preventing Classic-only characters like Mighty and Team Hooligan from appearing in the main IDW book all likely contribute to this misconception.
  • It's a common misconception in the western Sonic fandom that Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is rendered completely non-canon by its ending. However, this was never the case, and Shiro Maekawa has stated that 06 still happened, even if Sonic and Elise erased the events and reset everyone's memories at the end of the game. This is why Crisis City is in Sonic Generations; Blaze even has fleeting memories of it. Notably, the Japanese fandom does not have this misconception nearly as badly.
  • Blaze and Marine are not "parallel" versions of Sonic and Tails and have never been described as such in any media or profiles. Eggman Nega is the only confirmed "parallel" equivalent to a canon character (and even so, he was quickly retconned to be from the future in Sonic Rivals). While Blaze and Marine do share some similarities with Sonic and Tails, these similarities are surface level at best and the two have always been treated as individual characters.
  • A somewhat common misconception is that Sonic's shoes are what give him his speed. Except that this has never been supported as canon in any Sonic game or any adaptation thereof, on either side of the Pacific. In fact, the US Promotional Comic for the original game, as well as Sonic Labyrinth, even points out that Sonic has always been capable of high speeds without the shoes, and the presence of other speed-based characters in the series imply that it's just a natural ability that Sonic and friends have. The misconception likely stems from long outdated series info, specifically the original English manual for the game claiming that Sonic's shoes make him go fasternote , something that wasn't even mentioned in the Japanese manual.
  • Sonic is often thought of as being aquaphobic. While this is canon in some adaptations, it isn't canon in the games. He simply can't swim and has the same fear of drowning that anyone would have, especially people who can't swim.
  • Everyone claims that Sonic's love of chili dogs became game canon in the Sonic Storybook Series. It was made canon in the Japanese manual to Sonic Advance 3. His love for chili dogs originated in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM).
  • For a long time, it was rumored that Jaleel White, voice actor of Sonic in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) and Sonic Underground, was considered for the role of Classic Sonic in Sonic Generations, but turned down the role or wasn't available. Jaleel White later tweeted that he was never approached by Sega about voicing Classic Sonic, who was always intended to be mute.
  • It seems to be common knowledge that Cash Cash performed "Reach for the Stars" and "Speak with Your Heart", the main themes to Sonic Colors, even though it was only the singer, Jean Paul Makhlouf, and his brother Alex on "Speak with Your Heart", performing and not the entire band.
  • It's common knowledge that the robot Sonic boss in Death Egg Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is named Silver Sonic, and the Sonic robot in Sonic 3 & Knuckles is named Mecha Sonic. However, in official materials (both Japanese and English), both bosses are named Mecha Sonic. The name "Silver Sonic" was used for the Sonic robot in the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, but only in the American materials - in Japan, it was also still called Mecha Sonic. In 2010, Sega wrote a recap of the classic games in order to promote the then-upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 4 that referred to both Sonic robots as "Mecha Sonic".note  The Archie comics identify robots based on the Sonic 2 Mecha Sonic design and the nameless Sonic robot that appears in the Final Egg base in Adventure as being different models of "Silver Sonic" (and with "Mecha Sonic" instead being used as the name for the real Sonic having undergone an Unwilling Roboticization). The Sonic the Hedgehog Encyclo-speed-ia released in 2021 differentiates the Sonic 3 & Knuckles incarnation of the robot as being "Mecha Sonic Mark II", while the Sonic robots from the 16-bit and 8-bit versions of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are both simply referred to as "Mecha Sonic".
  • It's a misconception that the Classic games take place on islands of untouched wilderness. Zones like Spring Yard, Star Light and Chemical Plant prove that South Island and West Side Island had thriving cities even before Robotnik showed up.
  • It's often claimed that humans outside of Token Human Eggman didn't appear until Sonic Adventure. Humans have cameoed in the Classic games, such as Sonic originally having a scrapped love interest named Madonna in the first game, a statue of a humanoid angel in Sonic the Hedgehog CD, the human hieroglyphs in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Witchcart in Tails' Skypatrol. Humans also appear in old Japanese adaptations such as the 1994 short Sonic the Animation and the demi-humansnote  of the 1997 OVAs Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie. While Western adaptations downplayed their presence far more than Japan (which explains the misconception), humans (on top of more ambiguous, but humanlike characters) were also present in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, on top of both Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) and to a much lesser extent, Sonic the Comic.
  • UK pop culture, as recently as the late 2010s, tends to default to the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog design when referencing the games' Dr. Robotnik, likely due to how most UK merchandise including the official comic book was using it over the games' version. Not helped by how the Game Gear covers for Sonic Spinball and Sonic Triple Trouble strangely used the Adventures design.
  • The Sonic Heroes manual gave Sonic’s age as 15. Due to the plot of Generations starting with his birthday party, many assume that he’s now 16. However, official materials, such as the Japanese website, still give his age as 15, seemingly establishing Generations as an Ageless Birthday Episode.
  • "Roboticization" never happened in the games. It's a dark Western-only explanation for the Badniks. In Japan, the Badniks were always just Woodland Creatures who were simply imprisoned inside of robots by Dr. Eggman. When Sonic breaks the robots, the animals escape perfectly fine.
  • Sonic's catchphrase is "Gotta go fast", except that it's not. Sonic has never said that in dialogue prior to the Sonic Boom cartoon. Sonic doesn't have any catchphrases in the games. The closest he's had is "Gotta speed up" in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). "Gotta go fast" is from the English theme of Sonic X, which has become a meme.
  • It's a common misbelief that Tails being a Child Prodigy was first revealed in Sonic Adventure. Tails has always had these traits, though it's more subtle in the Mega Drive games. He modifies the Tornado in Sonic 2, he can ride the Tornado despite being only 8, he created the Jewel Reader to track Chaos Emeralds in Sonic 3, he built the Lunar Fox in Sonic the Fighters, and he has his own workshop in Tails Adventure. The reason why many fans think he wasn't smart until Adventure is because Western manuals and adaptations downplayed his Gadgeteer Genius traits, if not get rid of them entirely.
  • Sonic's personality is usually interpreted by non-fans as being a snarky Totally Radical Genki Boy speed freak. While this is true for some adaptations such as the DiC cartoons and 2020 film, Sonic in the main continuity games is rarely like that. He's more like a greyhound: laid-back until necessary. Colors gave Sonic a more energetic and playful persona, but he's still a far cry from his mainstream perception as hyperactive.
  • While Rouge is currently a GUN agent, she hasn't always been one, unlike what most people assume. In Sonic Adventure 2, some Japanese dialogue says she's actually an outside professional hired by the President of the United Federation to work directly for him as a special investigator on an on-and-off basis, and it's implied that even during this time, her first loyalty was to herself since she explicitly wanted to get the Chaos Emeralds and Master Emerald to satisfy her own desire for treasure. In Sonic Heroes, she was clearly working for herself, since Team Dark's opening cutscene makes it explicit that she initially got involved in the plot trying to rob Eggman. It's not until Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) that she explicitly starts working for GUN, and even after becoming one of their agents, she's still pretty self-interested.
  • Chaos and Tikal didn't "depart to the afterlife" at the end of Adventure nor were they re-sealed in the Master Emerald. The former has officially been Jossed by Chaos still being alive in Sonic Battle, the latter is even sillier as Sonic explicitly shot down the idea of re-sealing Chaos prior to the Final Boss. Plus neither of them came out when Knuckles broke the emerald in Adventure 2. More accurately, Chaos and Tikal now live in secrecy as spirits on Angel Island, as shown in Sonic Frontiers Prologue: Divergence. Shiro Maekawa, who made the scene of Chaos and Tikal leaving, said outright that he "never intended for that to be seen as a death".
  • Sonic was never actually called "Mr. Needlemouse" in early concept art. The name is actually a English mistranslation. Officially, the concept art in question refers to him as "Mr. ハリネズミ" or "Mr. Hedgehog" when translated correctly. Nevertheless, the name caught on and Sega has referenced the name a few times.
  • The revelation that Classic Sonic is from another dimension/timeline has caused the assumption that the classic era games have been retconned from Modern Sonic's dimension/timeline, which as the presence of Green Hill and Chemical Planet should indicate, is blatantly untrue. Sonic also mentions that the Death Egg just won't stay destroyed in Egg Gate, referencing the times he's destroyed it in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Word of God has also all but confirmed during SXSW 2019 that the classic era games are still canon to Modern Sonic's world by stating that Modern Sonic's timeline has remained the same.
  • It's often assumed that Sonic and Eggman first encountered each other in the first Sonic the Hedgehog game. While this does make sense due to it being the first game and is true from a meta perspective, the manual makes it clear that Sonic 1 wasn't their first bout In-Universe and that the two have clashed before in the past. How they first came across each other in the mainline canon is unknown.note 
  • Sonic's shoes are commonly assumed by fans and non-fans to be sneakers. However, this is not the case in the games. According to Japanese supplementary materials, his shoes are actually boots (hence their buckled appearance), which is only reaffirmed by Sonic's original designer, Naoto Ohshima. This misconception is thanks to the West and its various adaptations, which tends to interpret his shoes as sneakers instead.
  • It's commonly said that Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis was ported into the Sonic Advance engine. However, this is not true at all. It is actually ported from a mobile phone version of Sonic 1 into the Game Boy Advance console and not being optimized for the console, which resulted in the game becoming a Porting Disaster.
  • It is commonly assumed that the music for Sonic the Hedgehog 2's Hidden Palace was the Cut Song track #10 (named after the fact that it was the tenth song played in that game's sound test). While it does play in the Dummied Out remains of the zone in the final game, the Sonic 1 & 2 album indicates that it was actually meant to be a cutscene theme akin to the ending theme, as the demo ver of the track has a unique ending, something the other demo versions outside of the ending theme lack. Prototypes featuring Hidden Palace in its playable state also disprove this notion, as they feature what would be the 2 player theme for Mystic Cave instead, indicating that it would've been Hidden Palace's theme and not track #10. Sure enough, when Hidden Palace did become finalized in the Taxman/Stealth port, it ultimately went with the Mystic Cave 2 player theme, confirming it to be the zone's themenote .
  • In Sonic Forces, it is commonly assumed and joked about by fans that Infinite freaked out because Shadow called him "weak". However, while Shadow did call him worthless and pathetic, he never actually called him "weak" at any point in the game. Infinite freaked out because his huge ego came into conflict with his own weakness compared to the Ultimate Lifeform, not because Shadow specifically called him weak.
  • The original Rabbit concept art is often said to have been called "Feel" by fans. However, he didn't have an official name (and if he did, it remains unknown) and the name is largely a Fan Nickname used for the character. This is largely due to confusion, as the Rabbit character would become the basis for Ristar, who was called Feel in early prototypes of the game.
  • More of a technical example. The Hedgehog Engine (which most 3D Sonic games have used since Sonic Unleashed) is usually assumed by many fans to be a gameplay/physics engine (to where some blame the engine for the gameplay problems in Sonic's modern 3D games). However, the Hedgehog Engine is actually just a graphics/lighting engine and it has little impact on the gameplay itself. The physics engine for Sonic games using the Hedgehog Engine has instead been Havok (from Unleashed to Forces) or Bullet Physics (for games following Forces such as the 2020 Mario & Sonic entry), with Nvidia Gameworks being the engine for Sonic Colors Ultimate.
  • The Boost mechanic has been frequently criticized for how seemingly overpowered it is, to the point that detractors call the boost games "boost to win" and claiming that you can beat the game with just the boost. However, as many have stated, while the boost is overpowered and can defeat enemies with ease, that doesn't mean it makes the game easier. In fact, mindlessly boosting through a stage in most cases is an easy way to lose a life and die, as all the boost games have sections where you're encouraged not to boost and sections that make you have to pay attention with quick thinking and reflexes and not just mindlessly boost through them (especially in Sonic Unleashed).
  • Regarding Sonic Heroes, some fans' interpretation of how Neo Metal Sonic came to be is that Eggman tried upgrading Metal Sonic's A.I. and was promptly Hoist by His Own Petard as a result. This is in contrast to how the Boss Banter for the Metal Overlord fight indicates that Metal "transformed [his] own body with [his] own hands" in response to all the defeats received from Sonic. For anyone that might assume his words were only referring to his One-Winged Angel form, material from Sonic Channel clears up that Metal himself was indeed personally responsible for upgrading himself into his "Neo" form, without any noted input from Eggman.
  • Due to Tails being depicted as the Tornado's pilot in most games, it is frequently assumed that the Tornado is Tails' plane. While Tails is the primary pilot of the Tornado, and he has built several other planes based on the Tornado that are owned by him (such as the Tornado 2 from Sonic Adventure, the Tornado 3/Cyclone from Sonic Adventure 2, and the Tornado-1 from Sonic Unleashed), the Tornado is Sonic's plane (hence his name being on the sides), not Tails'.
  • A common misconception is that all the classic characters were created by Naoto Ohshima. However, this is false. Ohshima only created Sonic, Dr. Eggman and Amy. The rest of the cast were instead created by different designers within Sonic Team. Tails was created by Yasushi Yamaguchi, Metal Sonic was created by Kazuyuki Hoshino, Knuckles was created by Takashi Yuda, Mighty and Ray were created by Manabu Kusunoki, etcetera. This is only reaffirmed by Ohshima himself.
  • It's commonly shared that Sonic kissed a human in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), though it's removed from the context that it was the human in question (Elise) who kissed Sonic Back from the Dead. Being unconscious, Sonic wasn't really involved at all.
  • Fan artists tend to draw E-123 Omega as a hulking menace, towering above Shadow at around the same height as E-102 Gamma. However, Omega is actually only a foot or so taller than Shadow, and his canon height is listed at 4' 11" compared to Gamma's 7' 1".
  • It's often believed that Sega legally cannot mention Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood or anything associated with it, as a result of Ken Penders filing a lawsuit over Shade and the Nocturnus Clan being fairly blatant Expys of his own creations. This is provably wrong, as Penders' lawsuit was dismissed by the court, and Chronicles is still mentioned as being an official game as recently as the 30th anniversary guidebook. Sega just rarely mentions it because the game is considered Canon Discontinuity, and any further use of the characters would likely lead to Penders attempting another lawsuit. That Penders has claimed he owns Shade contributes to the issue.
  • Despite what is often claimed, Sonic does not have a single "mono-eye". He actually has two separated eyes like all other characters, they're just stylized to look like a singular part of his body unless he blinks. The fact that Western artists often exaggerated this aspect of his design contributes to the confusion.

     Archie Comics 
  • The exact level of contribution from Ken Penders is vastly exaggerated by many people. While he was the lead writer for much of the series' early years, he didn't come on until Issue 9, and original writer Mike Gallenger would continue to contribute stories for the next 50 issues (indeed, "Mecha Madness" was a Gallenger creation). Shortly after "Endgame", however, Penders left the main book to instead focus on Knuckles' spinoff series, and Karl Bollers took over as lead writer, with Penders just contributing short back-ups. This would go on to be the status quo for over 80 issues, only ending in 2004 when Bollers left the series entirely and Penders become the lead writer fully for the remaining 15 issues of his run, and that was still with other writers contributing back-ups. All in all, Penders spent just five years of the main Sonic series' 24-year run as the lead writer, and only one in a solo capacity.
  • One of the more infamous parts of Penders' run was the Love Triangle between Sonic, Sally, and Penders' own creation Geoffrey St. John, which saw Sally and Geoffrey flirt and make out multiple times, with Penders going so far to have wanted to do a story where Sally lost her virginity to him, despite Geoffrey being an adult in his early 20s, and Sally being canonically 15 at the time. While all of this is true, the references to the characters' ages overlooks a crucial fact, which is that the unsettling subtext was largely by accident. While Geoffrey's Vague Age has been subject to Flip-Flop of God, Penders has stated that he did not have any set ages in mind for the characters until much later in his run, and just envisioned Geoffrey as being a few years older than Sally, comparing it to a relationship between a college sophomore and a high school senior. Sonic and Sally being 15 would only be established by Bollers, whom Ken infamously did little to communicate with, and likely didn't realize the implications their now canonical ages would create.
  • Another myth occasionally used is the Geoffrey was an Author Avatar of Penders himself, used to fantasize about him wooing the book's main heroine away from the character who was supposed to be the star. There is zero evidence for this being the case, and Geoffrey was always intended as a Romantic False Lead included to create tension in Sonic and Sally's relationship. The character closest to being a stand-in for Penders himself would actually be Knuckles, as his strained relationship with his father Locke was modelled on Penders' troubles with his own dad, down to Locke's eventual death by cancer in Mobius 25 Years Later.
  • You'll frequently hear that Nate Morgan was a self-insert character for Karl Bollers. This is a misconception contradicted by Bollers going on record as saying Morgan was one of his least favorite characters and he didn't like writing him. Nate Morgan was actually a Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) character that was abandoned when the show was still in the development phase, though he shares very little in common with his initial concept aside from being an elderly black gentleman, being a diminutive scientist instead of a tall, lanky shaman.
  • Bollers is often accused of sabotaging Sonic and Sally's relationship and making Sally look like a massive bitch because he hated Sally and wanted to push his own creation Mina Mongoose as Sonic's Love Interest, culminating in the infamous scene where Sally angrily slaps Sonic after he turns down her asking him to be her consort, and breaks up with him. Nowhere has Bollers ever said he disliked Sally, and indeed he it's been noted by some fans that he used her more frequently than Penders did. Mina herself was also not Bollers' idea, but that of Lead Editor Justin Gabrie, who wanted to create a new Love Triangle centred around Sonic as a means of increasing reader interest. In all likelihood, Sonic and Sally's breakup was the work of Sega, who were notoriously restrictive on what could be done with Sonic's love life and had been since the start of the book, and were also at the time pushing Amy as Sonic's official Love Interest in other media.
  • It's often claimed that Penders was fired by Sega after continued displeasure with his creative direction for the book. The truth is actually the other way around, Penders was the one who left after continued frustration with Sega's Executive Meddling combined with a desire to pursue a career in Hollywood, the breaking point being when he was asked to do a tie-in for Shadow the Hedgehog despite being given no story materials to work off of. Indeed, he couldn't be fired, as his contract for Archie was as a work-for-hire freelancer, and thus couldn't be fired from a company he wasn't actually an employee of.
  • The now infamous Ken Penders lawsuit is rife with misinformation:
    • Penders did not successfully sue Archie for use of his characters, it was actually the other way around. After learning the Archie had never formally defaulted ownership of their creations to Sega, Penders had begun filing copyrights for all his creations, leading to Archie filing a lawsuit against Penders in 2010. The lawsuit only failed due to Archie's inability to provide an original copy of Penders' work-for-hire contract, and indeed led to it being discovered that none of the book's writers had provable contracts, leading instead to Archie effectively losing the rights to all the characters who'd been created since the start of the book.
    • Penders did not force Archie to have his characters Exiled from Continuity. On the contrary, he actually wanted Archie to continue using him, just with a royalty check for the majority of them, and creative control over Locke, Julie-Su, and Lara-Su, requiring all story ideas with them to be given his approval. Having them all be written out followed by a Continuity Reboot was simply Sega and Archie's way to avoid having to pay or work with him (likely not helped by Penders wanting to use Knuckles for his own projects).
    • The lawsuit was not what lead to Sega ending their relationship with Archie and the book's subsequent cancellation. While it was likely a factor in the book's demise, it was actually Archie who choose to end the book, motivated by factors such as a desire to shift away from licensed material and the books own mediocre sales.
  • The reinvention of Anti-Sonic into Scourge the Hedgehog is often attributed to Ian Flynn and artist Tracy Yardly, due to him debuting in Flynn's very first issue. He's actually the creation of editor Mike Pellerito and artist Patrick Spazinate, and Flynn and Yardly weren't even brought on the book until after his new name and design were planned out.

     IDW Series 
  • Many fans believe that that the infamous amounts of Executive Meddling the IDW series is subject to (which is extensive enough to where it has its own page) is the result of the Ken Penders lawsuit leading Sega to tighten it's creative control on the comics. In actuality, the only thing the lawsuit officially changed were things directly related to it, such as the use of Penders' characters. While the IDW book is much more closely connected to Sonic Team itself, Sega had been enforcing mandates on the Archie book since the beginning, and the only changes insofar as mandates have come in relation to the larger brand.
  • Many believe that Tangle and Whisper are girlfriends. While they are great adventure partners with a great deal of Les Yay and Ian Flynn has acknowledged their relationship being seen in a romantic light via the Bumblekast, canonically, their relationship is strictly platonic and will likely not become much more than that, given that romance between Sonic characters is prohibited in the IDW comics like it is with the post-reboot Archie comics.
  • Surge and Kit are often referred to as clones of Sonic and Tails by fans and news sites. Except they're not, as should be obvious by the fact that they're completely different animals. They're simply genetically engineered using the two's bio-data.

     Other Media 
  • As with the games, Sonic is not from Mobius in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie or Sonic X. In the former he is from "Planet Freedom" and in the latter his homeworld is unnamed.
  • Many believe that Amy Rose is Sonic's current girlfriend. But the truth is that Amy Rose never officially became his girlfriend, whether in games, cartoons or comics.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (1992)
    • There is a common misconception regarding the manga that Sonic is merely a Secret Identity of Nicky's or vice versa (akin to Superman). However, this is not the case. Sonic is actually an independent entity who happens to share the same body as Nicky (think the Hulk and Bruce Banner), with Nicky being unaware of this fact. In fact, Sonic is heavily implied to be Older Than They Think in the manga, as a flashback shows him saving Nicky's father from a plane crash years before he birthed Nicky.
    • Thanks to the manga suffering from a huge example of Keep Circulating the Tapes to the point where it borders on being lost media, there are misconceptions on Amy and Charmy's designs. It's cited frequently online that originally Charmy had pink hair, Amy was brown/blonde furred, and both looked extremely different from their Canon Immigrant designs in Knuckles Chaotix and Sonic the Hedgehog CD. This is a misconception. The manga was drawn by several different artists with different styles. Sango Morimoto's designs weren't the only ones and likely weren't the original ones. 1992 issues show Charmy and Amy looking near-identical to their Classic game designs.