Sonic the Hedgehog 3the third movie in the live-action adaptations, recently announced a slew of casting updates from confirming Jim Carrey’s return as villain Dr. Robotnik, to Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter joining the cast. I simply cannot die before seeing the blue blur’s angsty rival, Shadow the Hedgehog, on a giant theater screen. But bringing Shadow to the big screen means someSonic fans are preparing to watch a character die—and it’s a child, no less. I’m talking about Maria Robotnik, a major character in Shadow’s backstory. Now that Paramount has announced Alyla Browne, a blonde child actor, has joined the castfans are convinced we’re going to get to watch her tragic story unfold in a movie series primarily aimed at families and their young children.
Maria is the cousin of the series’ villain Dr. Robotnik. Sonic fans will know Maria as a child who lived 50 years prior to the events of 2001’s Sonic Adventure 2 in which newcomer Shadow hoodwinks the entire cast into nearly destroying the planet. She lived in a space station hovering above Earth with her grandfather Gerald Robotnik, and Shadow the Hedgehog, who was an experiment in the doctor’s attempts to create an immortal Ultimate Life Form. The idea was to transfer that knowledge to humans, including Maria, who had a terminal illness. However, once the international military caught wind of what was going on, they raided the space station and killed everyone there, including Maria, with one survivor: Shadow.
A mortally wounded Maria is able to send Shadow off in an escape pod, which saves her life but puts the hedgehog on a revenge-driven warpath. He nearly destroys Earth at the end of Sonic Adventure 2until he’s reminded of Maria’s true wish for him to protect the good people on the planet.
Since Sonic the Hedgehog 3 appears to be an adaptation of Sonic Adventure 2 and includes an actor who could play Maria, fans are convinced we’re about to see a child get shot in a PG-rated movie. Longtime Shadow fans are excited because this is a huge part of his story, but as soon as it settled in this would likely mean watching a child get murdered, the dark jokes started rolling in.
Maria’s death has been portrayed in several Sonic projects—it’s a pivotal moment of Shadow’s story in the comics and the sonic x anime, which portrays the most harrowing version of the scene. Although, there are differences between the Japanese original and the English dub, as the latter doesn’t include the actual gunshot.
So now that Maria’s death could potentially be shown to the biggest possible audience, I’m genuinely curious to see how it’s portrayed—as it seems unlikely Paramount will show the military shooting of a child. Both live-action Sonic movies have been pretty light-hearted, but Shadow’s stories are where some of that early-to-mid-2000s edge starts to creep in. This movie is either going to be a pretty drastic departure from what the film franchise has been so far, or the team is going to have to find some ways to water those scenes down so children aren’t traumatized.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is coming to theaters on December 20. That’s still ten months away, but Sega announced that a Sonic Generations remaster called Sonic X Shadow Generations will launch in the fall and will add new levels featuring Shadow and possibly Maria.