There’s a lot of classic characters that just didn’t need voice actors at first. Mario is one of the most famous examples; Nowadays, nobody can picture a Super Mario game without Charles Martinet voicing the charismatic plumber. Martinet’s performance brings Mario to life in a way that’s impossible to imitate. Another character whose voice precedes him is Sonic. The star of Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most recognizable video game characters that fans can imagine. However, his voice might be changing soon, because Roger Craig Smith has announced that he’ll be retiring from the role after playing Sega’s super-speed star for more than a decade.
That begs an obvious question: who will take up Smith’s mantle? There’s no way the next Sonic the Hedgehog game will lack a voice for Sonic, but it’s not easy to replace Smith either. Although it might seem like Sega has some interviews to do, it might already have the perfect candidate. If Sega so chooses, it could enlist Ben Schwartz to play Sonic from here on out. Schwartz was the one who voiced Sonic in 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog movie, not Smith. Considering all the praise he got for his work in the film, he’s the perfect candidate to voice Sonic from here on out.
Not every critic was delighted by Sonic the Hedgehog, but Schwartz’s performance got plenty of praise. He came into the role without any experience playing the character before, and was lauded for representing the character faithfully, and with plenty of heart. Sonic the Hedgehog was only the latest of Schwartz’ forays into voice acting. He’s represented beloved characters before — for instance, he plays Leonardo in Nickelodeon’s recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. His acting credits include appearances on other acclaimed programs like Parks and Recreation and DuckTales as well.
Schwartz is going to come back for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie sequel scheduled for next year. That means his voice is going to become a little more synonymous with Sonic overall. Sega would be wise to consider keeping Sonic’s voice consistent and letting Schwartz voice him across the board. There’s no need for Sonic to sound two different ways in different media when Schwartz can be locked into the character. He’s proven that he has the acting chops necessary to play Sega’s star. If he can voice Sonic in a movie, he can voice him in a video game too.
Further Sonic media released from here on out will probably give players clues as to who will be voicing Sonic from here on out. Netflix’s animated series Sonic Prime was just announced and details are scarce, but Schwartz could show up to reprise his role from the movie. It sounds like it could easily take place in the same setting as the Sonic movie, so it would be logical for Schwartz to get tapped to play the titular character in the show as well. If Sega states in the near future that Schwartz is in the show, it’ll be a plausible sign that he simply is the voice of Sonic now.
Roger Craig Smith wasn’t just Sonic’s voice in video games. He also played Sonic for a few years in Sonic Boom, the TV show spin-off of the Sonic game of the same name. If Smith can expand his performance of the role into other media, then so can Schwartz. His background in comedy gives him the sense of humor he needs to play the character, and he’s done plenty of voice work on huge projects like Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There’s no reason that Schwartz shouldn’t take up the Sonic mantle; on the contrary, he’s the perfect heir to Smith’s throne.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is scheduled to release on April 8, 2022.