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The director of Disney’s Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers movie has explained how a cameo featuring ‘Ugly Sonic’ – the axed original version of Sonic from the Sonic movie – came about.
In the new Disney+ movie, Ugly Sonic has his own guest booth at a comic convention, and is trying to make the most of his infamy by selling signed photos of himself.
Speaking to Polygon, director Akiva Schaffer said that Ugly Sonic’s appearance was a highlight of the movie for him, but wouldn’t explicitly discuss what was involved in securing the character for his film.
“It’s one of my favourite [cameos in the film],” he said. “I can speak to that. It’s one of my favourite things in the movie. And I’m very excited for people to see it … I don’t know what I should, what I’m allowed to say [about it]. I think I will actually plead the fifth.”
Rescue Rangers features other animated cameos ranging from classic Disney characters to more obscure creations. Speaking broadly about the process of securing them, Schaffer said he wanted to “thank the lawyers”.
“It was super-important to me to get a bunch of third-party cartoons, because if this is going to be some sort of a celebration of animation, it can’t just be a celebration of Disney animation,” he explained.
“The [characters] you see in the movie — sometimes we had to try two or three other things before we found one that could be licensed.
“It was a process. […] You don’t usually come out of a movie and want to thank the lawyers, but we genuinely owe the Disney lawyers for being team players.
“[They] super stayed optimistic about it, and really saw the value of the third-party stuff, and they had to really work hard. […] It’s easy for me to go, like, Oh, it would be cool if My Little Pony was in the movie, and they’re like, running in the hallways […]
“But then [the lawyers] have to go call Mattel and pitch them the movie, and tell them it’s not making fun of [the characters], and then I have to get on, and then blah, blah, blah. So it was a process. But you know, it makes [the movie] so much better.”
The original Sonic design, which had a more ‘realistic’ appearance, was scrapped following a backlash after the first Sonic movie trailer (which can be seen embedded below) was shown.
Sonic was redesigned into something more aesthetically pleasing, and the movie went on to enjoy the best opening weekend of any video game adaptation at the time.