HE is one of the world’s best known video game characters who is also the star of a long-awaited new movie that takes to the silver screen this week - after a bit of a bumpy start.

Who is he?

Sonic the Hedgehog, which also happens to be the name of this week’s new blockbuster, starring US actor Ben Schwartz as the voice of the supersonic blue creature and Jim Carrey as Dr "Eggman" Robotnik.

Why the bumpy start?

As a much-loved character, Sonic’s fanbase sent Twitter into a meltdown when the original trailer for the movie appeared last spring. They took an immediate dislike to the animated Sonic’s overall design, particularly despising his “disturbingly human teeth”, as well as his long legs and fur placement.

Social media was scathing?

One Tweeter was particularly aggrieved, saying: “If we had not committed great sins, god would not have sent punishment like this upon us. It is what we deserve. it is what we are owed. This disgusting Sonic the Hedgehog."

Meanwhile, reviewer Keith Stuart from the Guardian described the original design as resembling “a cheap knock-off Sonic toy your child might win at a fairground stand and then be terrified of”.

The director listened, though?

Making his feature film debut, US director Jeff Fowler said at the time that “the message is loud and clear…you aren't happy with the design and you want changes”. He then promised such changes were "going to happen”, saying that he and Sega were "fully committed to making this character the best he can be.” And so, the movie’s November release date was delayed.

Sega?

The Japanese video game company released the first Sonic the Hedgehog game in 1991, after asking its research and development department to come up with a character to rival Nintendo's flagship character, Mario. And so, the bright blue hedgehog - who can run at supersonic speeds and curl into a ball hedgehog-style to attack enemies - came into being.

He’s become a phenomenon?

You could say that. The most recent figures suggest the manic Sega mascot has sold more than 800 million games, with around 171 million software sales and 600 million free-to-play mobile downloads. It is estimated that in terms of revenue, the Sonic franchise has grossed around £7 billion globally.

The new trailer was a hit?

Released in November, fans were pleased overall, with one calling it “the glow up of the century”.

Hopes are now high for the film?

Unlike the Cats catastrophe earlier this year - where there was a similar social media response to early trailers for the lavish production of the stage musical, with similar criticism that the cats were too human-like - it seems Sonic is not set to bomb in the same way it eventually went on to do. The £80 million silver screen Sonic offering enjoyed a £36 million opening weekend in the US, with fans there embracing the redesign and the movie finding itself seemingly on track to recoup its costs at the very least.

MAUREEN SUGDEN