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Mike Reyes

Ben Schwartz Explains How Sonic 3 Can Start 'The Villainous Stage' Of His Career

Ben Schwartz wielding twin pistols, surrounded by his thugs in a red lit restaurant, in Renfield.

For the most part, audiences know Ben Schwartz as a comedic relief or a heroic smart ass. Considering his roles in series like Parks and Recreation and Space Force, as well as his status as the lead of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, the comedian’s resume has scored him a lot of laughs. Schwartz continues to do so in the 2023 new movie release Renfield although, this time out, he exudes more of a villainous presence when he’s not freaking out over Nicolas Cage’s Dracula. It’s an experience that, through some creative casting in Sonic 3, could see Schwartz starting "the villainous stage" of his career. 

Thanks to the Universal press day for Renfield, I had the privilege of sitting down with Mr. Schwartz to discuss his role as the vibrantly evil Teddy Lobo. The son of crime lord Bella (Shoreh Aghdashloo), Teddy gets up to the usual mischief you’d expect from someone so tied to the criminal underworld. And by mischief, I mean wielding twin pistols and a colorful wardrobe a la Castor Troy from Face/Off while engaging in various activities involving the distribution of cocaine.

It’s a performance that, frankly, got both of us thinking that if Sonic 3 wants to cash in on this mayhem, the powers that be may have found its Shadow the Hedgehog. Don’t take my word for it,, though, as Ben Schwartz shared these devious thoughts with CinemaBlend:

Can I tell you, I think it’s time to start the villainous stage of my career. Maybe it’s now that I just do this, because The After Party was kind of villainous, and then this. I think maybe pushing into all that stuff would be incredible.

Potentially casting him as the anti-heroic Shadow the Hedgehog isn’t due to a lack of good candidates. With Sonic The Hedgehog 2’s cast having offered some fantastic A-list picks upon the picture’s release in 2022, a lot of different names are in the mix.

And yet, there’s a lot of potential for the man behind the Blue Blur himself to get really nasty in the role the iconic character revealed as a sequel tease during Sonic 2’s ending. Of course, on that note, fans are wondering if there are any updates regarding what’s happening with Paramount’s Sega-produced threequel.

Unfortunately, even with the next film being planned for a Christmas 2024 release, there’s not much to report, at least on Ben Schwartz’s end. But as you’ll see below, he’s anxious to get the ball rolling on the beloved video game characters next big-s outing:

I don’t know anything. No. … I can’t wait to learn anything about that movie. I’m just as excited as you to learn things.

There is a silver lining though, and it comes from a more recent status update. Ahead of Sonic 3, the Knuckles spin-off series -- which was announced last year -- has just gone into production. So there’s news to be reported, it’s just not directly connected to Ben Schwartz just yet; though one could assume we’ll see his character appear at some point in that streaming narrative. At least, that's what a true hero would do when building their own franchise.

Should Sonic the Hedgehog 3 choose to go with another voice of villainy in Shadow the Hedgehog’s casting, there’s always the chance that Ben Schwartz could maybe return to the role of Teddy Lobo. If Renfield’s ending is compelling enough to build strong word of mouth for the horror/comedy, then there could be some sequel potential in the air. 

Whatever the case, he's ready to become a big screen force for evil and, after watching him begin to experiment with that sort of role, it feels like that villain era he wants to launch could become a reality. While we wait for these next moves to become clearer, you can catch all things Sonic the Hedgehog by streaming them with a Paramount+ subscription.

That’s where you’ll be able to find those first two films, and the eventual Knuckles series spin-off at some point in the near future. But if you want to see Ben Schwartz acting like a menace to society and hurling cocaine bricks at Awkwafina, then you’re going to have to head to the movies and see Renfield now.

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