With the entertainment industry currently facing both a strike by both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the actors’ guild, SAG-AFTRA, against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing the studios, it’s brought Hollywood to a near industry-wide halt. However, there are some exceptions on how productions are able to continue moving forward. It now looks like one of those exceptions is Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the next installment of the video game-based film franchise.
As first reported by Screen Daily, Paramount appears to be gearing up production on the threequel in the UK, with production reported to start, sans actors, in the region later in September. Since the Sonic franchise involves anthropomorphized, interdimensional creatures and aliens, that means it features scenes where no human actors are involved in the scenes, so that is likely why the production can start without actors.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 3 REPORTEDLY MOVING FORWARD WITH PRODUCTION WITHOUT ACTORS
It should be noted with regards to the SAG-AFTRA strike, some exceptions will allow productions to move forward, while many major motion picture and television productions have been outright stalled or halted due to the strike. For example, HBO’s House of the Dragon Season 2 can move forward since the scripts are locked, and it uses a different union than SAG-AFTRA, Equity UK. Due to UK labor regulations, members of Equity UK are not able to strike in solidarity with other unions.
It seems certain animation productions can also continue. As noted by The Wrap, animation artists and writers are represented by its own union, the Animation Guild, and its contract with the AMPTP won’t be up until later in 2024. However, animation productions can no longer use SAG-AFTRA talent for voice-overs. Animation films can continue being worked on with the dual strikes, and employees on the productions are allowed to voice temporary voice-over tracks.
Now with Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the film will likely involve multiple scenes, where it’s just the CG characters alone and talking to each other. And while they are all voiced by SAG-AFTRA members, it means those scenes can still be filmed and set up, with other film crew members providing temporary voices for now.
That means once the strikes are hopefully resolved, the voice actors will then be brought on to lay down their dialogue for Sonic (Ben Schwartz), Knuckles (Idris Elba), and Tails (Colleen O’Shaughnessey). Of course, as implied by the bonus scene in the last movie, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is also expected to introduce Shadow the Hedgehog to the franchise.
The previous two films also starred James Marsden as Tom and Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. So, if they are back for the threequel, they also won’t be able to join the production until the strikes are resolved. Regardless, it looks like the production is moving forward and going to shoot around what they can without the actors involved.
WGA has been on strike against the AMPTP since early May. And SAG-AFTRA started striking on July 14. The labor dispute involves residual pay and compensation, remote audition pre-tapes, and unauthorized use of AI to replicate their work without compensation. Negotiations between the guilds and the AMPTP are currently at a standstill, and the WGA and SAG-AFTRA have been picketing the studios for weeks.
Besides the Sonic threequel, Paramount is also producing a Knuckles TV spinoff. Filming on that project started earlier in April. The cast features Edi Patterson, Julian Barratt, Scott Mescudi, and Ellie Taylor in undisclosed roles.
Also, the show will feature Adam Pally returning as Walt Whipple, Tika Sumpter returning as Maddie, and Rory McCann. Elba is also reprising his role as Knuckles the Echidna and is attached as an executive producer.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is currently slated for a December 20, 2024 release date. However, depending on how long the strike goes, that release date might have to change at some point.
What do you think of the news? Are you happy to hear that filming of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is likely ready to get underway? Do you think it’s bad they’ve started filming without the actors? Let us know your thoughts on the news on The Illuminerdi’s social media.