James Marsden in Westworld
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Credit: HBO

James Marsden cast as lead opposite Sonic the Hedgehog

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May 30, 2018, 9:50 PM EDT

Sonic the Hedgehog is a franchise built upon a foundation of contrarianism. The blue speed demon was originally a fanged rock star with a human girlfriend, all created to out-edge Nintendo’s very safe and inoffensive superstar, Mario, Sonic’s (and Sega’s) competitor. And he was ultimately chosen to be a hedgehog because he's pointy, while Mario is pudgy.

This is all to say that racing through courses, saving animals, collecting rings, and battling the evil Dr. Robotnik is only secondary to Sonic’s main cause, which is thumbing his nose at the establishment. So it makes sense that his film adaptation's development would take some people for a spin. Yes, despite the rumor mill running rampant, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie coming from Paramount has actually found its human lead, and it's one that screams "authority figure": James Marsden.

According to Variety, the Westworld and X-Men star will be the human lead of the live-action/animation film. Paramount nabbed the rights for the long-gestating film in 2017 from Sony, with the film currently scheduled for a Nov. 15, 2019 release. With its star now in tow, that date looks realistic and the film seems closer than ever to a reality.

There’s no word on if Marsden will play the rumored police officer that teams up with Sonic to find the Chaos Emeralds, or someone for the hedgehog to playfully spar with. Either way, it’s certainly fun to imagine what producers Tim Miller (Deadpool) and Neal H. Moritz (I Am Legend) -- not to mention first-time director Jeff Fowler -- could do with a star of Marsden’s caliber.

With Pikachu sharing the screen with Ken Watanabe in Detective Pikachu, there’re a lot of A-listers teaming up with video games’ finest. But video game movies have had big stars before (Angelina Jolie’s turn as Lara Croft and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Prince of Persia), so we’ll have to wait with fingers crossed for quality -- and if Sonic’s known for anything, it’s for thumbing his little hedgehog nose at the status quo.