Long lost 1994 Sonic the Hedgehog movie treatment from Trilogy Entertainment Group uncovered and archived

In 1994, Trilogy Entertainment Group, who were behind such films as Tank Girl and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, partnered with MGM and SEGA to develop a movie that would evoke the same sense of entertainment found in films like Batman and Jurassic Park. The first of these attempts to be publicly known was actually the second attempt (we’ll get to the first attempt shortly).

Written by contracted screenwriter Richard Jeffries, “Sonic: Wonders of the World” was an eight page treatment written in 1995 that saw a Roger Rabbit-esque story of Sonic and Robotnik emerging from a child’s television as the video game world met the real world in a high stakes adventure. This treatment was discovered in March 2022 by Jacob Berkley who was researching for his book “The Complete History of Sonic SatAM”, and despite missing pages 6 and 7, the treatment gives a solid idea of how the film would play out.

However, little did Sonic fandom know that an earlier treatment existed. In fact, it has been something of a white whale for me for the past eight years and something I’ve kept a secret until recently. The first treatment sees a totally different take on the story of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic is a teenage boy named Jimmy Hedgeman who fights a fingerless bioengineer named Dr. Paul Elleson. But before we get to the content of the treatment, let me tell you how the treatment was discovered…

In 2016 I was contacted by a friend in the video game industry who knew an owner of several rare SEGA items who was in need of identifying and pricing out said items. Being the SEGA history buff that I am, I jumped at the chance and soon was given several grainy oddly framed photos of items I had never seen before. One such item was a treatment titled “Sonic: The Movie” written by Trilogy Entertainment Group founders Pen Dansham and Richard B. Lewis. I immediately reached out to my friends at SEGAbits sister site Sonic Retro (Sister Sonic?) to ask if such a document was ever heard of before or archived, and they confirmed that this was a newly discovered piece of media. The only other lead I had was “Console Wars” writer Blake J. Harris who did make mention to me of Sonic movie pitches that saw a boy turning into Sonic as well as a movie about video game Sonic entering our world.

This all but confirmed to me that the treatment was legitimate and, outside of a handful of folks in Hollywood and at SEGA, nobody had heard of or seen this treatment before. After some back and forth, the treatment’s owner, who I only knew as Tyler, appeared uninterested in selling the treatment or offering scans, even at a price. And so the treatment disappeared for nearly eight years, and much like young Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade, I felt that I had a major find slip through my fingers. But as it is said in that movie, “You lost today kid, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it.”

Fast forward to 2022, I was scrolling Facebook and came across a post in a private Sonic collector’s group showing off a previously unseen Knuckles design document. The document, which can be found in our news post on the discovery, sparked a discussion in the private group and one member named Will made mention that he too owned that document as well as some other rare SEGA documents. Unbeknownst to me, I knew Will under another screenname as a fellow collector and as the person who helped dump the Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car ROM in 2015. It was only after I got to know him through our own private messages that I made this connection.

Jump ahead to 2023. An eBay listing appeared for a treatment titled “Sonic: The Movie”. The listing was clearly the same item I saw seven years earlier, and the asking price was about $1,850 more than the low ball estimate I offered in 2016. At the time I thought that unless somebody purchased the treatment with intent to release it, the additional listing photos were the next best thing we would ever get. At this point, the internet caught on to the treatment’s existence and the 2022 discovery of “Wonders of the World” had even more context. The listing ended and a short while later I learned that Will, who now runs the Twitch channel The Game Show Game, was the buyer of the treatment.

Through private conversations between myself, Will and Sonic Retro’s David the Lurker, we discussed how we might facilitate the release of the treatment and the idea of a live read through came about. Will suggested we invite Sonic YouTuber Cybershell, and some time later David’s podcast Sonic Weekly had Cybershell on as a guest which in turn allowed David to bring up the idea. Cybershell was up for it, and at the time it was late January 2024. My idea was that the stream take place on the anniversary week of the 2020 Sonic movie, as sort of a joint celebration of the four year anniversary and the 30 year anniversary of the 1994 treatment. The stream took place on February 12, 2024 and can be seen here in its entirety.

As for the treatment itself? It remains archived and digitally preserved in a Sonic Retro wiki article for all to enjoy. You may have noticed that I held off talking about the treatment’s content here as I really think David’s wiki article should be read in full to appreciate just how wild the proposed film treatment is. So click on over to Sonic Retro for the second half of the story! 

A huge thank you to Will of The Game Show Game for acquiring and allowing us to read through the treatment and for letting us facilitate the public unveiling. Also thank you to Sonic Retro’s David the Lurker and Cybershell for reading through the treatment and for helping make the release possible.



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