As previously discussed in our coverage of the SatAM Bible (not to be confused with the Sonic Bible, which contains the story of Sonic's origins) and in the Secret Vault, the cartoon we all know and love went through several changes BEFORE it even hit the airwaves, but few know just how drastic those changes were. However, thanks to our friends at SonicHQ.net and Sarah "Samanfur" Rose, we are able to finally take a look at what might have been...
It appears that the show would have been just like AoStH: heavy on the slapstick, but with more of a Hanna-Barbera appearance. Interestingly, ABC was shown AoStH as a proposal for their Saturday morning lineup at the time, and rejected it in disgust, causing DiC Entertainment to make a newer, darker Sonic the Hedgehog series (which as we all know, ABC loved and scooped up, only to cancel it later on
). Now, this is only the sneak peek at the earliest draft of SatAM, and was *never* made into a full series... if anything, it would be split into two series (AoStH, which was finalized shortly after this was show; and SatAM, which is what this evolved into).
Apparently, this was shown in an issue of Sonic the Comic
(the official Sonic the Hedgehog comic franchise for fans in the United Kingdom and Europe), before SatAM premiered in England. These pictures were shown as advertisements, telling kids to watch for the new Sonic cartoon that was coming soon. However, what would become known to fans in England as "The Mystery Cartoon", and known only to few Sonic fans in Canada and the United States, serves as a glimpse of what might have been in SatAM, before drastic changes were made in both style (and possibly substance) of the cartoon. And now, with out any further interruption... Ladies And Gentlemen: Meet The Freedom Team...
Let's take a close look at the cast of "The Freedom Team": The team includes Johnny Lightfoot (a rabbit), Tux (a penguin), Princess Acorn (presumably a squirrel, but she doesn't look like it), Sonic, Joe Sushi (a walrus), Chirps (a chicken), Porker Lewis (a pig), and Flicky (a bird). Tails isn't pictured, which suggests that this concept art might have been made before Sonic 2
was even released, placing this firmly within early to mid-1992.
These characters are obviously based on the animals that Sonic rescues in his first game. Even their names are the same as the ones that Sega of America and Sega of Europe used for the animals (except that the squirrel was called Sally Acorn, not Princess Acorn or Princess Sally).
It's probably a safe assumption that Sally, Bunnie, and Rotor developed from Princess Acorn, Johnny Lightfoot, and Joe Sushi. Well, maybe "developed" is the wrong word. These guys are like the antitheses of their SatAM counterparts. It's as if someone told the SatAM staff to turn them into their polar opposites. Similarly, this Porker Lewis is nothing like the version in Fleetway's Sonic the Comic.
Wow, just... wow. This Robotnik has not been eating his Wheaties. Maybe they were trying to suggest strange lighting, but he has a white moustache, green tongue, and black fingernails. His head is just like in SatAM, but his suit looks a lot closer to the one worn by Eggman in the games.
This conveyor belt roboticizer is totally different from the cartoon version, which was a glass capsule, though is fairly similar to the one in Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine.
Also featured is a character who doesn't have a corresponding animal in the games. Was this a regular character or just a random anthromorph thrown in for this picture? This is pure unsubstantiated conjecture, just a theory, but I wonder if this mowhawk-sporting, leather jacket-wearing canine might be the predecessor of Antoine.