An electric, yellow mouse. A pair of plucky Italian-American plumbers from Brooklyn. A kick-ass female archaeologist from Blighty with a serious aptitude for raiding tombs. Given their exploits on the silver screen, it’s often easy to forget that such a hefty handful of pop-culture’s quirkiest, most memorable characters have come from the world of video games.
Such console powerhouses have gifted us heroes we’ve embraced, cherished, endlessly quoted and grown up with. Arguably the most beloved of these, and one with a longevity that few others can keep up with, comes in the form of a lightning-quick blue hedgehog.
In more ways than one, Sonic — the speedy, spiked staple of the Sega franchise for the best part of 30 years — has real legs. It’s hardly surprising then that rumours of a feature-length Sonic film have been dashing around Hollywood for what feels like a lifetime. In 2020, fans will finally get their fix of blue fur and gold ring-chasing when Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwarz) sprints into Cineworld cinemas, bringing with him a high-speed live-action comedy adventure boasting the talents of James Marsden and Jim Carrey – who plays arch-nemesis Dr Robotnik.
We’re loading up five more video game characters we’d love to see get their moment on the big screen…
1. John Marston – Red Dead Redemption
If the triumph of the Red Dead Redemption series is any indication, then gritty storytelling about layered, morally conflicted anti-heroes really sells. As an infamous gunslinger and murderous outlaw on a mission to save the those closest to him, John Marston — the protagonist of the franchise’s first instalment — is as layered, morally conflicted and anti-heroic as they come.
Against the vast, sweeping backdrop of the American West, gamers, playing as Marston, must navigate the lawless towns and baron wastelands during the frontier’s final years, battling both blackmail and the elements, while facing off with foes who were once friends. Boasting a character arc that is both dense, intriguing and satisfying, and occupying a video game world that is pretty darn cinematic, Marston is, quite simply, made for the movies. Make it happen.
2. Samus Aran – Metroid
In the video game world, female heroes have been doing the business for years. From Lara Croft to Street Fighter’s Chun-Li, many of the greatest, and most intriguing, heroes from video games are women. One of the earliest and most popular, but who’s rather surprisingly evaded the transition to the big screen, is Samus Aran from the Metroid series.
Revealing herself at the end of the very first Metroid game back in 1986 — a moment still widely regarded as one of video gaming’s finest — Aran, typically seen wearing the famous ‘Power Suit’, is a dominant, righteous, driven soldier-turned-galactic bounty hunter who executes missions on behalf of the Galactic Federation. Her true motivation, however, lies in the pursuit of Ridley: a feared extra-terrestrial dragon and leader of the notorious Space Pirates who murdered her parents when she was young.
If this tale of heroism and redemption doesn’t scream “make me a movie”, then we really don’t know what does.
3. Link – The Legend of Zelda
As video game icons go, they don’t get much more feted than Link. The hero of the sumptuously imaginative and gorgeously crafted Legend of Zelda franchise, the plucky Hylian is known best for his green get-up, impressive swordplay and keen eye for a trendy shield. However, it’s the underlying idiosyncrasies — namely, his lack of spoken dialogue throughout — that truly give Link his alluring mystique.
A quick spot of IMDb rabbit-holing will tell you that a feature-length Zelda film already exists somewhere in the ether. An aggregate score of 5.2 will tell you it might be time we got another one. If anyone’s deserving of a shot at the silver screen, it’s the quiet lad from Hyrule with a big heart.
4. Crash – Crash Bandicoot
The first iteration of the PlayStation console is synonymous with the denim-wearing, mutant bandicoot called Crash. The whacky, mid-90s brainchild of Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, Crash Bandicoot spent his infancy as Sony’s quirky answer to Nintendo’s podium-topper, Mario Kart. Garnering an immense and proud following in the years following, the Crash series has earned its rightful place among the upper echelons of the gaming elite, with its protagonist now widely celebrated as one the racing genre’s pioneering speed demons.
Hollywood has always seemed to curb any talk of a Crash movie; but, with locations like the Wumpa Islands and villains with names like Doctor Neo Cortex at one’s disposal, who wouldn’t want to steer this fast, furious and furry franchise onto cinema screens?
5. Spyro – Spyro The Dragon
From the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy to Game of Thrones, large, winged, scaly, fire-breathing reptiles are very much the in thing right now. And what better way to continue the Dragon renaissance than by bringing one of its most famous to the silver screen?
Spyro, the plucky little dragon whose video game franchise is already comfortably into double figures (and counting), is perfect cinema material: he’s cute, kind, purple and brings with him one gargantuan cult following. A vast world of wonder and whimsical beauty lies in wait for any filmmaker willing to help Spyro’s movie career take flight. Hollywood, take note.
Sonic the Hedgehog is released on 14th February 2020, so tweet us @Cineworld with the video game characters you want to see on the big screen.
George Nash is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.