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Keanu Reeves to play Shadow in the Sonic 3 movie as Sega announce the Year of Shadow

I'll take it over another year of mass layoffs

Shadow the damn Hedgehog, with a gun
Image credit: Sega

I've been watching this year's ostensible "major" news developments - the launch of a Fallout TV show, the impending release of Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree, to pick a couple - with a sense of zealous disapproval and weary resignation as to the hubris of human beings. Do these brazen publishers and developers not know that this, the year 2024, is the Year of Shadow the Hedgehog?

Sega said as much only a few days ago. They've announced a series of fan celebrations for Sonic Adventure 2's Ultimate Lifeform, beginning in the traditional style with a Shadow-themed MotoGP bike and an associated LEGO tie-in. And now, the earth quakes underfoot as we learn via The Hollywood Reporter that Keanu Reeves, forgotten star of 90s romantic drama A Walk in the Clouds and also those recent John Wick films, will play Shadow in the forthcoming movie adaptation Sonic 3.

If you've never encountered Shadow before, know that he is the Badassiest of Badasses, the Edgiest of Edges and the Antiest of Antiheroes. He's got jet-powered shoes and gold wristbands and sometimes he uses a gun. Also he swears. Swearing, in a Sonic game! Suck on that, Red Dead Redemption. Shadow has two major interests: Chaos Emeralds and his tragic repressed past. Or at least, that was the case back in 2005. Shadow's character may have matured over the years, I guess. I mean, he lends his likeness to motorbikes these days, which is probably some kind of midlife crisis. I bet he keeps expensive tropical fish and has started a garage rock band somewhere.

As for Keanu Reeves, his videogame credits include Jonathan Harker in the NES adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula and also, ugh, what's it called, the cyperpunk one, I feel like he's been in a cyberpunk game? Oh that's right, Johnny Mnemonic: The Interactive Action Movie. Oh hang on, that wasn't Keanu. It was Christopher Gartin, who also played "Sexy Waiter Scott" in Black Swan. I think Keanu makes a pretty natural Shadow, myself. He's got the toneless antihero shtick down to a fine art and he's also refreshingly happy to be the butt of the joke, as per this scene from John Wick 4. He'll appear in the film alongside Idris Elba's Knuckles and Jim Carrey's Dr Robotnik - Shadow's creator. Seems like a team-up with decent comic chemistry. I hope the writing carries it. Perhaps they can do a tie-in with some of Keanu's recent flicks and have the plot begin with somebody killing Shadow's dog?

There's no Sonic 3 movie release date yet, nor even a proper trailer. While you wait for more news, spare a thought for those videogame companies and their cross-media allies who must find what limelight they can in the face of a Shadow/Keanu team-up. Take heart, friends. We all survived the Year of Luigi, didn't we?

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