Deven Mack and Logan McPherson Talk ‘Sonic Prime’, Working With Sega, Shatterverse Variants & More – Interview
From Sonic The Hedgehog 2 to Sonic Frontiers and now the new Netflix show Sonic Prime, it’s safe to say that 2022 has been Sonic’s year.
In Sonic Prime, the hedgehog dipped his red shoes into the Shatterverse. Sonic Prime takes Sonic and his friends to new worlds and gives them new character iterations that audiences have never seen before.
I had the chance to speak to voice actor Deven Mack and executive producer Logan McPherson about the series. We discussed their collaboration process with Sega and how they put their spin on this version of Sonic’s world while staying true to what makes the franchise so unique.
Check out the Sonic Prime interview with Deven Mack and Logan McPherson below:
When the discussion began, I showed them my limited edition Sonic Red shoes to show them I was part of the Sonic family. Mack’s casting announcement video on his channel mentioned how he related more to Tails when he was growing up, so I asked Mack what it was like stepping into the role of Sonic versus playing Tails or any other character. Mack said, “Oh, man, I didn’t even believe it was real. When I got that phone call, I was like this is a joke. Where are the hidden cameras at?”
Mack continued, “With Tails being my boy, I love that there’s a really unique dynamic that we get to explore with the New Yoke City Shatterverse version of him who never grew up having a sonic in his life and how that changed him. So seeing where that story went is something that hit me emotionally. And then I was able to carry that through Sonic with these genuine reactions to seeing my boy like, ‘Oh, no, what happened to you? What can I do? How can we fix this?’ It’s just been a really, really cool roller coaster ride of a journey to get to go on, and I’m loving every second of it.”
From Jaleel White to Jason Griffith to Roger Craig Smith to Ryan Drummond, and even Ben Schwartz, Sonic’s been voiced by many different actors, so Mack had big shoes to fill. His Sonic voice was perfect, feeling like a culmination of the previous versions.
When I asked Mack how he approached the role and made Sonic his own, he shared, “That’s very much what it is. It’s not like I specifically focused on any one individual who played Sonic before. And everybody brought something amazing and incredible to the table. But I didn’t look at anyone in particular and say, ‘Ah, that’s my guy. I’m doing that.’ I just took it all in and said, ‘Okay, he is this kind of amalgam of everything that I’ve heard; I’m going to put my own sort of unique spin dash on there.’ It still doesn’t feel real when I’m watching. It still feels like Sonic; it just happens to be my voice somehow.
Since this new version of Sonic will be the first some viewers will meet the character, I asked Mack what he hopes they take away from his version. Mack said, “What I think is so cool about Sonic is that he can be for everybody. Sonic’s got that kind of universal appeal. Like it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you look like; this can be a character that anybody can relate to. So honestly, I just hope what kids can take away from it is just that sense of kind of growing to know yourself better, doing inner reflection, try to grow stronger to try to help people around you.”
Mack continued, “That’s the thing about Sonic that I think is probably the most endearing for me – the fact that he cares so much about his friends, he wants to do the right thing. He wants to stand up for what’s right, and he’s fearless in doing so. He’s just a character with so much appeal that is helped so many people. I know the character helped me as the shy kid growing up, so to be able to contribute to that legacy is just a huge honor a huge blessing. I’m just very grateful to get to be part of it.”
When creating the show, WildBrain Studio and executive producer Logan McPherson worked with Sega to bring it to life. McPherson said, “We worked really closely with Sega to ensure that it had authenticity and that the characters felt like the real versions of the characters. But at the same time, we’re telling a high concept, crazy, insane, sci-fi story that needs to have a lot of fantastical elements and rich worlds and different landscapes.”
McPherson stated, “[Sega] sent us the game character models, and we imported those into our pipeline and innovated on the texturing. And the surfacing of the characters themselves, we wanted to create something that was obviously the design and proportions often familiar from the games, but some a little different that fit into the worlds that we’re building and describing.”
McPherson continued, “We came up with this kind of graphic texture treatment, a little more simplified than the realistic quills would be for Sonic and his friends. And that allowed us to bring in both an appealing cartoony aspect but a light realism in terms of like, lighting, mood and tone. There’s real grass, there’s real foliage in the world, but at the same time, it’s got that stylized feel that I think helps integrate the kind of cartoony design that the characters have into these, at times, very serious and crazy worlds that we’re building. So it definitely pushed our production capability. We innovated in a number of areas and brought new techniques to the table. And it was just an amazing experience to go through, quite honestly.”
With the introduction of the Shatterverse, we got a new version of some of Sonic’s friends. McPherson said, “With the shatter versions of the characters, we looked to draw upon a unique quality that each prime character already brings to the table and then take that element and put it into overdrive.”
Fan Favorite Amy Rose has some of the most changes, and in reference to that, McPherson said, “There are multiple versions of Amy that exist within the Shatterverse, Amy from Boscage Maze, who is ThornRose, her love of nature, and her protective side is in overdrive.”
McPherson continued, “That’s what made the Shatterverse concept so rich to us. We could have these sort of pillars in place with Green Hill and establish the sort of traditional environment that everybody loves, and then take it into wildly new directions at the same time.”
McPherson said, “With Eggman, it was like he [Sonic] has beaten Eggman a million times. We know he can beat him. So what can we do with Eggman that would present a new challenge and something unexpected for the audience? When Sonic shattered the prism, he’s at ground zero, so he’s effectively unaffected by the prism energy. Eggman was next closest, so we felt like the way the prism energy radiated out from the prism could affect Eggman a little bit differently than it did the other shatter versions.”
McPherson continued, “It was Mann of Cation that came up with the idea saying, ‘What if we split his age range, and we got an egg man at every different age group from a baby to a geriatric guy?’ And we get a ton of fun, not only with how badass that Council could be as a villain, but the dynamics within that group and how ridiculous a baby version of Eggman is that comes from that. So that was just a ton of fun to explore.”
What’s next for Sonic Prime?
Although the first eight episodes of Sonic Prime are already released, we have a confirmed 24 episodes! I asked McPherson when we can expect the rest of the episodes to start rolling out, and he said, “Well, all I can say is the first eight are dropping on December 15 on Netflix. Beyond that, we made more episodes, and they’re coming out. That’s all I can say.”
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