Ever since Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s ending teased the arrival of Shadow the Hedgehog, myself and the rest of the Sega franchise fandom have been wondering who would voice this notable baddie. As we get closer to director Jeff Fowler’s Sonic the Hedgehog 3 being released as a holiday present on the 2024 movie schedule, that speculation is already heating up. That’s thanks to a new tease for the film stoking the fires surrounding the potential casting of a famous Star Wars actor, as well as a big ticket action star, as the anti-heroic hedgehog.
This is where the fun begins, as Paramount Pictures’ title treatment reveal for Sonic 3 has caused reports of Hayden Christensen’s supposed casting to resurface. First reported as a rumored hot tip from scooper DanielRPK (via Gaming Bible), that notion has been circulating once more.
But there are others that still think John Wick himself, Keanu Reeves, might be the new franchise villain. Reeves has been discussed as an option between fans for some time now, probably because of Speed being included in Sonic 1, and people just really wanting Keanu to be a part of gaming movie history.
It all comes down to a mysterious laugh, which you can hear at the end of the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 title treatment reveal. So feel free to judge for yourself, or come up with your own answers as to who’s laughing now, as you watch below:
I’m sorry for what I’m about to say, as this isn’t going to make the debate any easier. Maybe this is just me hearing what I want to hear, but hear me out. I don’t think Sonic 3’s Shadow is either Hayden Christensen or Keanu Reeves; while also fully acknowledging that this quick laugh does have the potential to come from either actor. That being said, I’m still going with my original theory/hope for Ben Schwartz’s potential voicing of Shadow.
I know some people probably think I’m crazy for even suggesting that, especially after all of the stellar Sonic the Hedgehog 2 cast suggestions that came from that movie’s press day. I don’t care, because I personally think it’d be interesting to hear Schwartz continuing his potential villain era after Renfield, with a character that’s basically a dark mirror of the heroic role he currently holds.
Go back and listen to that villainous chuckle, and tell me you can 150% discredit my theory! I'm really convinced that the Shadow laugh we're hearing is Ben Schwartz doing his best, most sincere evil villain laugh. While it's a gut feeling, that's basically the same place that most of the guesses of fans are coming from.
Which is why, at the same time, I can’t be mad at Hayden Christensen or Keanu Reeves’ potential casting. Both men have played the anti-hero before, and to winning results. Also with Christensen’s star rising once again after returning to the world of Star Wars, Shadow the Hedgehog is a role that could put him over the top and in full renaissance mode.
One other detail of note has been revealed through this Sonic the Hedgehog 3 tease. Fans have taken note of the fact that the Sonic Adventure 2 track “Live and Learn” was used, in a slowed down/orchestrated context, in this very video. That right there doubles down on the game’s implied importance to the story ahead, so you’re probably going to want to keep that game in mind if you’re replaying through the Sega classics in preparation.
Speaking of preparation, 2024 is going to be a fantastic year for Sonic fans that love antagonists of past and present. In addition to Sonic the Hedgehog 3’s December 20th release date, there’s also the streaming series centered around Idris Elba’s Knuckles to look forward to!
Also, there are still two fantastic Sonic the Hedgehog movies for everyone to revisit. And to take in almost all things related to the Blue Blur’s modern TV and movie popularity, you should be sure to have a Paramount+ subscription handy. I think I can speak for everyone when I saw we'll all wanna go to that source fast whenever the release date for that companion piece is announced.