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Sonic the Hedgehog 2 refers to the live-action sequel of the 2020 film Sonic the Hedgehog. The movie, releasing April 8th, 2022, builds on the Sonic the Hedgehog universe of the first movie, keeping Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, Tika Sumpter, and Jim Carrey as voice actors but adding in other actors like Idris Elba, who voiced Knuckles.
The sequel was announced on March 15th, 2021, via a tweet posted by the director of the movie Jeff Fowler. He announced that production for the movie would start that day. The tweet (shown below) received roughly 40,600 likes over the course of nine months. Additionally, the official Facebook  page of the movie posted a screenshot of the tweet that received 6,100 reactions in the same amount of time.
People within the replies of Fowler's tweet began speculating as to what new characters would be included in the upcoming movie. For instance, Twitter user @Chris2k201 tweeted about wanting to see Shadow added to the character roster in the sequel.
Idris Elba as Knuckles
The online buzz surrounding the sequel picked up again most notably in August 2021 when the actor Idris Elba announced he would be voicing Knuckles in the upcoming movie. This is was announced via a tweet from Elba, posted on August 10th, 2021 (shown below). The tweet included an image of Knuckles' fist clenched with the caption, "Knock, knock…." It received roughly 428,900 likes over a four-month span.
Users on Twitter and across other platforms started reacting and making memes about the announcement, mostly excited for Elba's role. For example, on that day, Twitter user @CHELSOFARK posted an Idris Elba Choking on Hot Wings meme that gained over 7,100 retweets and 30,500 likes in one day (shown below).
Knuckles in the ending cutscene when he sees a bat with big tits fly by with the master emerald pic.twitter.com/YpMu2zBmfv
— 𓆩♥︎𓆪 (@CHELSOFARC) August 10, 2021
Other Twitter users made jokes about the role on August 10th, like Twitter user @taizou_hori who referenced the James Bond movie franchise as being something Elba turned down for the Knuckles role. Their tweet (shown below) received roughly 2,600 likes in four months' time.
Inclusion of Crush 40
Also in August 2021, discussion about the sequel within Sonic circles was sparked up again regarding the band Crush 40's involvement in making the music for the upcoming film. Crush 40 is a Japanese-American hard rock band that composed music for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise starting in 1994 when they composed two songs for Sonic the Hedgehog 3. One of their more well-known tracklists made for the franchise was for the Shadow the Hedgehog game developed in 2005. For instance, the song, "I Am… All of Me," was made by them (a YouTube video of this song is shown below)
On August 15th, 2021, the lead singer of the band, Johnny Gioeli, hinted at the band's involvement in the upcoming sequel via a quote tweet of a 2020 tweet he posted that received roughly 4,000 likes. The new quote tweet (shown below, left) received 232 likes but also attention in an article posted by the Sonic news site Sonic Stadium. Twitter users reacted to the hopeful news as well, like @ildrewvenire, whose tweet (shown below, right) was posted on August 18th and referenced feelings voiced by the Sonic community about the music in the first film not feeling like "Sonic songs."
On December 8th, 2021, the Twitter account @SonicMovie posted an announcement tweet that not only included an official poster for the new sequel featuring Sonic, Tails and Doctor Eggman, but also that the world premiere of the new movie's trailer was to be released the following day, December 9th. The tweet (shown below) amassed roughly 136,900 likes in only two days.
Twitter users like @virtanderson started to make memes with the poster before the trailer's release. His tweet (shown below) was posted on December 9th, 2021, and included a video that found Phineas from Phineas and Ferb in the logo. It received roughly 44,200 likes in less than 24 hours.
couldn't unsee this so now you all have to see it pic.twitter.com/SXe3PyeCdw— Aaron Hammerstrom (@virtanderson) December 9, 2021
On December 9th, 2021, the trailer (shown below) was posted to YouTube by the official account of IGN after it debuted during the Game Awards 2021. In less than 24 hours, the video amassed 3.9 million views and 194,000 likes. The official Twitter account of the Sonic movie also tweeted the trailer the same day. There, it received 65,300 likes and 24,900 retweets, also in less than 24 hours.
The trailer featured scenes of Sonic fighting crime in New York City, Tails jumping through a portal and introducing himself to Sonic, Doctor Eggman shooting rockets at them, and Knuckles catching an attack from Sonic and offering a verbal clap-back.
The most viral reaction inspired by the trailer were memes and tweets related to Idris Elba "sounding sexy" when voicing Knuckles. Multiple Twitter users resurfaced an old October 25th tweet from @screenrant that featured a link to an interview with Elba where he stated that Knuckle's voice would not be sexy in the upcoming film. However, once the trailer released and internet users heard his voice, they thought it was sexy. For instance, Twitter user @Miexriir posted a quote tweet that said, "ok so this was a lie," on December 9th, which received roughly 57,500 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below).
Other users made reaction-based memes to both Tails and Knuckles in the day after the trailer's release. For instance, Twitter user @MonoHollow posted a meme (shown below) featuring MS Paint versions of Tails and Sonic, referencing Idris Elba's sexy voice in the speech bubbles. The tweet received roughly 36,600 likes, again, in less than 24 hours.
Final Trailer Release
On March 13th, 2022, the official Twitter account @SonicMovie tweeted a promo for a secondary trailer they were going to release the next day, earning roughly 632,700 views and 30,400 likes in one day (shown below, top). On the 14th, they tweeted the final trailer for the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 movie, earning roughly 865,400 views and 16,000 likes in less than 12 hours (shown below, bottom).
— Sonic the Hedgehog (@SonicMovie) March 13, 2022
— Sonic the Hedgehog (@SonicMovie) March 14, 2022
Reactions to the first tweet on March 13th, 2022, centered on Twitter users trying to screenshot or slow down the sped-up part of the video that flashed through the trailer yet to be released. For instance, Twitter user eric_gameing posted a tweeted that caught a screencap, earning roughly 3,100 likes in one day (shown below, left). Another Twitter account, moon_hedgehogs, also captured screencaps despite the speed, earning roughly 1,200 likes in the same amount of time (shown below, right).
Once the actual trailer was released on March 14th, fans centered their reactions on one scene within it where Knuckles is throwing multiple punches at Sonic as he dodges them. The clip was reposted by Twitter user Crunchy_The_Kid on the 14th who edited in a Stand Cry sound effect from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, earning roughly 1,500 likes in less than 12 hours (shown below, top). Twitter user XionTheDark also edited in a different sound for the scene referencing the Raiden Punching Armstrong meme, earning over 200 likes in three hours (shown below, bottom).
— 🏵Crunchy the Kid🏵 (@Crunchy_The_Kid) March 14, 2022
I had to
STANDING HERE I REALIZE pic.twitter.com/kfz4eZe3IB
— Xion Archaeus 💀 (@XionTheDark) March 14, 2022
Do I Look Like I Need Your Power?
On Reddit, a new meme template emerged after the trailer. It used the moment in the trailer where Knuckles stopped Sonic from attacking him with a ball of energy and said, "Do I look like I need your power?" Redditor I_like_reddit_memes_ was the first to use this template, posting their meme to the /r/Charmx subreddit on December 9th, 2021. The meme (shown below) received 85 upvotes in fourteen hours.
Other Redditors started using the screenshot and quote for their own memes going into the days following. For instance, Redditor RadicalCharizard posted the first-known variant to r/dankmemes also on December 9th, referencing in it Crypto Bros, NFT artists and NSFW furry artists. The meme (shown below) received 809 upvotes in thirteen hours of being posted.
The meme also spread to platforms like Twitter on December 10th.