Sonic 2 ending explained: your biggest questions answered

Sonic 2
(Image credit: Paramount)

Spoilers for Sonic 2 follow. If you haven't seen the movie, turn away now!

Now it's out around the world, we can talk about the Sonic 2 ending. All told, it was probably everything a Sonic mega-fan could ask for – and was certainly entertaining enough for those who aren’t as familiar with the Blue Blur.

As is always the case now in modern blockbusters, however, the finale wasn’t just a case of wrapping things up and sending everyone home happy. The closing moments of Sonic 2 act as a springboard for bigger and better things for the series, including adapting one of the franchise’s most iconic stories, and a fan-favorite moment that many will have been waiting for.

On top of that, there are still plenty of questions you might have while leaving the cinema. The film gets pretty deep into the weeds of Sonic lore and there are a few loose plot threads that need to be explored further. And that’s what we’re here for!

So speed on down below as we dig into the Sonic 2 ending: its Sonic 3 setups, secrets, and a breakdown of the major moments that flew by in a flash. But first, to ensure we are on the same page, let’s quickly retrace our red-and-white steps and fly through the ending’s events in mach-speed fashion.

Sonic 2 ending: the recap

Sonic 2

(Image credit: Paramount)

Sonic 2 revolves around the hunt for the Master Emerald. Idris Elba’s Knuckles has quite literally shaken hands (in brutal fashion) with Robotnik to ensure they gain the "ultimate power." Sonic, now joined by new BFF Tails, is out to stop them – and Robotnik’s not-so-secret plans of world domination.

After Sonic and Tails pick up a compass to the Master Emerald in Siberia, the two head to Hawaii via ring portal and crash the wedding of Maddie’s sister, Rachel, and her fiancée Randall. The wedding, though, is revealed to be a sham. Codenamed Operation Catfish, Randall unveils himself as an agent of GUN, a new taskforce designed to monitor extra-terrestrial activity. They capture Sonic, Tails, and Tom – but are soon rescued by Maddie.

The compass is then used to light the way to the Master Emerald on a now-activated island temple, which has levitated out of the ocean. Inside, Knuckles and Robotnik make their way through the labyrinthian (and trap-laden) ruins and are followed in hot pursuit by Sonic. In the Master Emerald’s chamber, Robotnik betrays Knuckles and becomes possessed by the Emerald’s Chaos Power. He departs, leaving Sonic and Knuckles to perish.

Sonic saves Knuckles and follows Robotnik back to Green Hills, where Jim Carrey’s villain puts his Chaos-powered masterplan into action: a giant Egg Smasher robot which wants to use to take over the world.

Sonic realizes he can be used as a distraction for the Egg Smasher. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles all team up to take down the Egg Smasher. Tails and Knuckles sneak inside the giant robot and Knuckles takes down Robotnik, punching the Emerald out of him.

But we’re not done there. Robotnik unleashes one final assault and Sonic – with Master Emerald in hand – is only saved by an onrushing Tom and Maddie.

The Master Emerald cracks and the seven Chaos Emeralds that make up the power source come tumbling out. Robotnik goes to crush the trio, but Sonic transforms into Super Sonic, saving the day and defeating Robotnik, who tumbles from the Egg Smasher and is presumed dead.

In a post-credits scene, GUN are seen looking for Robotnik’s body. A GUN agent informs the commander that, when going through Robotnik’s archives, they uncovered a file dating back 50 years that mentions a top-secret research facility and something called ‘Project Shadow.’ Finally, a black-and-red hedgehog is shown in stasis in the facility.

Who is that black and red hedgehog?

Shadow the Hedgehog

(Image credit: SEGA)

Game fans will know him immediately, but a more casual audience will be scratching their heads at a black-and-red hedgehog that looks suspiciously like Sonic. Say hello to Shadow the Hedgehog.

Shadow first debuted in 2001 video game Sonic Adventure 2 as a science experiment gone wrong that was described as the "Ultimate Life Form." 

Much like with Knuckles in Sonic 2, Shadow’s function in a potential threequel should follow many of the same beats: a collision course with Sonic and a hunt for the Master Emerald, before learning the error of his ways. We’d put a pretty penny – and a few Chaos Emeralds – on Shadow being the next movie’s Big Bad. No word on who is voicing him yet, mind. Is Chris Pratt available? 

What is Project Shadow?

Sonic 2

(Image credit: Paramount)

Whatever it is, it happened a long time ago – and might run a similar course to the events of Sonic Adventure 2.

The story goes: 50 years ago (just like in Sonic 2), Robotnik’s grandfather kickstarted the Shadow Project to help cure his granddaughter Maria’s Neuro-Immune Deficiency. The end result was Shadow, a hedgehog that could be used as an immortal weapon. Unfortunately for Maria, she perishes on the space station where Shadow was built but, in her final moments, asks her new hedgehog friend to give the people of Earth a "chance to be happy." He is then locked away in stasis and re-awakened by GUN. Sound familiar?

The games dive deeper into the lore – including introducing Black Doom, an evil alien ruler who wanted to gather the Chaos Emeralds for his own ends – but Sonic 3 (or wherever Project Shadow is explored further) will surely keep it simple: Project Shadow is Shadow the Hedgehog, a nigh-on indestructible machine. If the movies follow the games, Shadow will lash out at the people of Earth after Maria’s death – all thanks to a convenient bout of memory loss.

What was Robotnik's plan? And is Robotnik dead?

Sonic 2

(Image credit: Paramount)

Robotnik has always had a scheme or two up his sleeve – but decided to dream bigger after he was imbued with the Master Emerald’s powers. He mentions that he was going to take his newfound abilities (which includes teleportation and the ability to manipulate matter) to take over the world, universe, and even the “multiverse.” That last one may have been a nod to the multiverse seemingly becoming ever-present in pop culture, but it’s fun to think about there potentially being an infinite amount of Sonics and an infinite amount of Robotniks out there.

Robotnik also isn’t dead. At least, we think so. No body = no death is pop culture’s golden rule, after all.

Jim Carrey’s moustachioed scientist may have taken a fall from the Egg Smasher, but he’s still at large out there somewhere. Given his ties to a certain post-credits character – more on which below – and his lapdog Stone being on the hunt for his master, there is every chance Robotnik will return for a third time in Sonic 3.

What did Sonic transform into?

Sonic 2

(Image credit: Paramount)

Sonic transformed into Super Sonic. First seen in 1992’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the yellow version of Sonic is essentially the hedgehog’s answer to Dragon Ball’s Super Saiyan abilities, giving him super strength and near-invincibility.

Like with the games, Sonic doesn’t stay as Super Sonic forever. In the movie, he gives up the Chaos Power – after wishing for a chilli dog, naturally – because he “still has some growing up to do.” If Sonic 2 was all about Ben Schwartz’s speedster finding his place in the world – and his newfound family – then giving up the Super Sonic powers marks a big leap of maturity for Sonic. But the Master Emerald and the Chaos Emeralds are still around, so Super Sonic could rise again if another threat looms…

What happens to the Master Emerald now?

Sonic 2

(Image credit: Paramount)

First things first, Knuckles has fixed the Master Emerald. Despite the fact they mistakenly left it in an ice cooler during their pickup baseball game, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles have all agreed to protect the giant jewel from those who want it in their clutches.

What next? Whatever happens to the Master Emerald, it’ll likely all be covered in the upcoming Knuckles spin-off series, starring Idris Elba. That’s slated for a 2023 release on Paramount Plus, so it’s not too long to wait for another dose of Emerald excitement.

Are Sonic and Knuckles allies now?

Sonic 2

(Image credit: Paramount)

It sure seems that way. Knuckles and Sonic came to blows multiple times during Sonic 2, but put their differences aside once the red echidna realized that the war between his race and Longclaw ended with casualties – and trauma – on both sides.

Knuckles aided in the effort to strike back at Robotnik, and the pair saved each other’s life too. Far from being on shaky ground, the duo appear to be fast friends by Sonic 2’s end. They each joke around during the closing baseball scene, while the two end up going on their way to get ice creams (and sprinkles) as Knuckles slowly becomes accustomed to life on Earth. If the echidna returns in a threequel then he’ll surely be on Sonic and Tails’ side – and the trio will probably set up camp in the leafy town of Green Hills.

What is GUN up to?

Sonic 2

(Image credit: Paramount)

One of the movie’s weirdest side stories was GUN (Guardian Units of Nations) and its plot to track alien activity after Sonic left a trail of destruction in his wake in San Francisco during the events of the first movie.

They were introduced during Rachel’s ‘wedding’ as a means to entrap Sonic and are later seen in Green Hills doing – honestly – very little against Robotnik. They’re then seen cleaning up Robotnik’s mess in the post-credits scene.

It’s there where we see more of what GUN’s true intentions are. It seems they’ve uncovered a research facility and a secret weapon that has been hidden out of sight for several years. Given how trigger-happy the GUN Commander was throughout the film, it’d be no surprise to see them try and take on ‘Project Shadow’. If they achieve their goals, that would position them as the overarching villains of the next film. That is, unless Robotnik is found…

What's next for Sonic and the gang?

Sonic 2

(Image credit: Paramount)

Sonic, Tails, and the rest of the Green Hills crew will return in Sonic 3. No release date for that yet, though 2024 is a distinct possibility given how quickly director Jeff Fowler and his team are pumping these out.

Paramount has also greenlit a spin-off series starring Idris Elba’s Knuckles. That will air on Paramount Plus from 2023. If Sonic 2 is a success, we wouldn’t put it past the franchise to grow further. The likes of Amy Rose, Rogue, and *shudder* Charmy the Bee are all characters that could make the leap to cinema in the near-future.

For more from the Blue Blur's big-screen sequel, check out our interview with Tails actor Colleen O'Shaughnessey and our guides to all the Sonic 2 Easter eggs and our Sonic 2 post-credits scene explainer.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.