Sonic The Hedgehog Has Its Knuckles, So Who Should Voice Shadow?

Production on Sonic the Hedgehog seems to be ramping up. Knuckles making his debut in Sonic’s live-action cinematic universe initally started as a rumour most dismissed as a meme, until was confirmed a few weeks back very unlikely source: Idris Elba. The actor posted a close-up of Knuckes’ fist on Twitter, confirming that not only is Knuckles is coming to the big screen, the world’s most famous echidna will also be voiced by Elba.

Elba is a very big get for the Sonic movies, and a somewhat unexpected one. While the first movie did feature Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik, Sonic was voiced by Ben Schwartz. Both are established comedy actors, and Carrey is a legend in his own right, but neither have the esteem and gravitas of Elba. The inclusion of Knuckles, as well as Tails who first appears during the original movie’s credits, suggests more and more characters from the Sonic universe will be added as the movies progress. Obviously, Shadow should be near the front of the queue, and that got me wondering – who should voice Shadow if and when he is added to live-action Sonic?

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If Paramount is now in the business of bringing instantly recognizable voices to Sonic’s cast, then it would make sense that Shadow gets the same treatment as Knuckles. Shadow will need someone dark and brooding to voice his character, but not too dark that the tormented hedgehog becomes a parody of himself. The suggestion floating around that Jason Statham should take up the Shadow mantle, for example, is a no-go for me.

Knuckles Idris Elba - via Twitter

Christian Bale, on the other hand, makes a lot of sense. Even if the British actor did nothing more than recycle the voice he used when he played Batman, he would fit the bill nicely. If Paramount wants to go slightly more unpredictable with it, perhaps Liam Neeson would be a good pick – he’s another actor who is definitely capable of capturing Shadow’s troubled soul and transferring it to an animated character in a live-action movie. Just give Bale and Neeson a couple of PS2s with copies of Shadow the Hedgehog, have them both play through it, and then perform a voice-off. Winner gets to be Shadow.

Speaking of the too-oft forgotten Shadow game, the man who has voiced Shadow most in other projects, including that game, should also get a look-in for movie Shadow. Jason Griffith is the actor most synonymous with Shadow, and there is hope that he will voice Shadow in a movie one day, even though Sonic and Knuckles’ previous voice actors have not been afforded the same treatment. Tails, who makes a cameo appearance during the credits of the first movie, was voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey however, and she has voiced Tails in various projects since 2014. Since she was invited back, perhaps Griffith will get to do the same for Shadow in the future.

shadow the hedgehog

via First 4 Figures

My final pitch is a little out there, so be prepared to open your mind. The excitement I was initially struck with upon discovering Elba will voice Knuckles was quickly replaced with disappointment. It hit me that if Shadow does ever join Sonic’s live-action world, the perfect actor to voice the character has now already been used for Knuckles. However, that doesn’t mean Elba can’t also voice Shadow too in the future if he’s up for it. The Suicide Squad actor might be British, but it would make sense that he use an American accent to voice Knuckles. That would free him up to use his darker, much more serious regular British accent to voice Shadow in future movies. Many popular animated shows use the same actor to voice multiple characters, so perhaps it isn’t as wild an idea as it appears. If Nancy Cartwright can be Bart Simpson and Nelson Muntz, then Idris Elba can be Shadow and Knuckles.

There are a lot of hurdles in place before Shadow gets his live-action voice, the biggest being that he hasn’t even been added to that universe yet. After Sonic, Tails is the most well-known Sonic character followed by Knuckles. If Paramount is going in order of how well-known Sonic characters are, Shadow feels like the next logical addition. Keep your eyes peeled during those credits when Sonic the Hedgehog 2 hits theaters in 2022.

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