Doctor Robotnik is the primary antagonist of the Sonic the Hedgehog television series. Formerly known as Julian until his coup, he overthrew the King of Mobotropolis, renamed the city "Robotropolis", roboticized its citizens to be his mindless Worker Bots and polluted the environment, becoming the dictator of Mobius. He has an army of loyal robots and is assisted by his conniving nephew Snively and pet robot chicken Cluck. His rule is opposed only by the Freedom Fighters, particularly Sonic the Hedgehog.
Robotnik is a tall human man of imposing girth with a bald, conical head, a dark orange mustache and black eyes with crimson irises. Robotnik is also partially roboticized, resulting in his left arm from the shoulder and down to be completely robotic. In the place of his ears, he had small metal stubs. Strangely enough, in the episode "Sonic Conversion", the doctor is shown to have five uvulas and a hairy tongue, and contrary to their normal, white appearance, his teeth are borderline brown and yellow, with his mouth big enough to house Snively's head.
His usual attire is a jumpsuit, red above the waist and black below, with yellow lines spanning up, down and around his body; grey leggings; black-and-red boots; wide, red shoulder pads; a black sleeve on his human arm; a yellow cape; and grey gloves.
While Minister of War for Mobotropolis, prior to his coup (before he was partially roboticized), Julian wore a white militaristic uniform with blue chains across the front, black-and-red epaulets, medals on the left side of his breast and a bearskin hat.
Robotnik was originally named Julian. He once worked as an assistant for Naugus, a wizard who discovered a limited dimension known as the Void. Julian betrayed Naugus and trapped him within the Void, but continues to dread the possibility of Naugus getting loose.
Julian later headed up the Ministry of War in the King's regime, and was instrumental in winning the Great War for the monarchy. The King allowed Julian to dismantle the military — from his perspective, this was because the War's end no longer necessitated it, while Julian's motive was to set up a coup. Julian stole the plans for the Roboticizer from Sonic's uncle, Sir Charles Hedgehog, who originally had positive intents for the device.
Julian then launched his coup on Mobius, and the King was shocked to learn that Julian betrayed him and renamed himself Robotnik. He then banished the King to the Void, so that he would not interfere with his evil plans.
Robotnik's left arm was replaced with a robotic substitute when Sonic knocked him off-balance during an early encounter (his arm getting caught in a roboticizer as he tried to steady himself). His legion of Swat-bots make up the majority of Robotnik's army. He will occasionally engage his enemies by himself if need be, using laser weapons either handheld or as part of his left arm. He also employs his nephew, Snively, as his chief adjutant and overall lackey; Snively often serves as a target for Robotnik's rage whenever his plots are foiled.
Troll Associates book
In 1994, Troll Associates published a book based on SatAM's characters and designs, but which was outside the show's continuity and told a different story. In this book, Sonic and Robotnik were both orphans raised by Uncle Chuck. Sonic spent all his time running laps around the town, trying to test his speed, and Robotnik spent all his time trying to build robot servants for himself. Even when they were young, Sonic and Robotnik did not get along. One day, Uncle Chuck created the Power Rings in order to allow Sonic to boost his speed and strength; on that same day, Robotnik stole parts of Chuck's tractor in order to use them in his robots. While Sonic was out playing with his friends, Uncle Chuck tried to use the tractor, however it didn't work and crashed, trapping both Chuck and Robotnik. Sonic heard the cries for help and rushed to save them. Unable to move the tractor by himself, Sonic got a Power Ring from Chuck's workshop and used it to move the tractor and bring Robotnik and his uncle to the hospital.
Weeks later, one of Robotnik's robots betrayed him and reveals to Chuck that Robotnik had been using household appliances to construct his machines, and that the reason that the tractor malfunctioned was because Robotnik had taken components from it. Chuck was furious, and so was Robotnik when Chuck grounded him. Sonic and Chuck continued to make more Power Rings, while Robotnik stole many household appliances to build a powerful robot (made from a fridge), which he then used to attempt to destroy Sonic and Uncle Chuck. With quick thinking, Sonic defeated the robot by wrapping it in a garden hose. His robot defeated, Robotnik disappeared to parts unknown.
Eight years later, after Uncle Chuck had opened a chili dog stand with Sonic as his speedy delivery boy, Robotnik returned. He captured the King of Mobius (Sally Acorn's father), lured Sonic into a booby-trapped factory (he escaped but his chili dog cart was destroyed), destroyed the chili dog stand and kidnapped Uncle Chuck and his dog Muttski. He had hypnotised many of the inhabitants of Mobius into "robots".
Sonic and Sally infiltrated Robotnik's factory, where they were discovered by Swat-bots. Sonic used a Power Ring to destroy the robots and save Chuck and Muttski.
Robotnik is cruel, murderous, sadistic, despicable, cantankerous, ruthless, and egotistical. He has a relatively short temper and is often brash and overconfident with his designs. A personal grudge he holds against Sonic frequently clouds his better judgment. This is shown when he took the chance to fire a missile at Sonic even though his escape pod was short on fuel and if he fired the missile, he would crash (but the missile didn't fire because of damaged circuitry). However, he was still very a repulsive character, and was not above lying, backstabbing and murdering to accomplish his goals. When talking, he speaks in a very sinister tone.
Robotnik is generally calm, collected, sardonic, and calculating, and lacked the small redeeming traits, generally being a completely repulsive and irredeemable fiend. While he was initially a complete monster, the sinister and gritty tone of the series because more lighthearted in season two, and Robotnik also underwent a few changes, too. For one, he became generally obsessive over getting revenge on Sonic and was also a little cowardly and only slightly comical. Even then, he was still utterly ruthless and relentless in his quest for unquestioned dominance, and took absolute glee in terrorizing his enemies and sadistically toying with them before moving in to finish them off.
He has also tried to roboticize Sonic to be his slave several times, but this has often failed. However, he later admitted that he considered Sonic to be "a most worthy adversary" and that he was "almost sorry that it's over".
Production background and future plans
In an early prototype design made during the early development of Sonic SatAM, Robotnik was drawn as a cyborg-pirate before be drawn as a green demon overlord that almost resembled Ganondorf, the main antagonist of The Legend of Zelda video game franchise. The latter desing was most likely scrapped for possible copyrights issues with Nintendo.
Because the producers of the show had been given no definitive backstory, they created a "White Paper" setting out the histories of the characters. According to Ben Hurst, Julian and Snively were human space travelers from Earth who travelled thousands of years into the future because of time dilations effects of space travel. On returning home, they found that humans had gone extinct and animals had mutated into sentient beings and renamed the planet Mobius. In Hurst's own words:
The cartoon ended after twenty six episodes, but the same characters continued to appear in the American comic Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series based on the show.
Television writer Ben Hurst said that, had the cartoon not been canceled, it would have been revealed in the third season that Robotnik survived the destruction of Doomsday by being sucked into the Void, where he was captured by Naugus, serving as the wizard's lackey just as Snively had served Robotnik himself before.
- "I really hate that hedgehog, I hate him, I hate him, HATE HIM, hate, hate, hate, HATE!"
- "We're home, Cluck. I do miss the beauty of this place when I'm away."
- "Shut up Snively!"
- "Before this day is done, you and the Power Rings will be right in the palm of my hand."
- "Snively, what color is my heart?"
- "Excellent! Stand by for my signal! Air Command. Sweep laser fire, Forward."
- "My, such a challenging tone. Hardly appropriate for a princess. Not to mention the slander of poor Cluck's species. Where is the hedgehog?"
- "Now let's see if that Power Ring will live up to its name."
- "A nice dream. But dreams are meant to be... broken."
- "Greetings, sire, Julian, your Majesty, members of the Royal Court. Welcome to Robotropolis, the capital of my kingdom."
- Robotnik is one of only three video game characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series who appear on the show, the others being Sonic and Tails.
- This version of Robotnik was the basis for the eventually much more prominent comic book verison on him.
- This version of Robotnik is often considered by fans to be the most evil version of the character. Robotnik has also been successful in conquering the world, unlike his Sega counterpart. Some fans, however, criticized this incarnation, claiming he has less personality, and is less inventive than his video game counterpart.
- Earlier episodes of SatAM gave Robotnik a deep reverb to Jim Cummings' recordings. This was discarded fairly early in the series however, leaving Cummings' voice unaltered for most of the series.
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog, "The Void"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog, "Blast to the Past, Part 1"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog, "Blast to the Past, Part 2"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog, "The Doomsday Project"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog, "Sonic's Nightmare"
- ↑ Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series), "The Doomsday Project"
- ↑ Sonic SatAM Early Prototype Designs at PENCIL HILL ZONE
- ↑ "Ben Hurst on SatAM" (written by Ben Hurst, compiled by PorpoiseMuffins, 11/10) at Saturday Morning Sonic
- ↑ "SatAM Season Three", Sonic HQ. Retrieved from the Wayback Machine 2010-08-06.
- ↑ "The Lost 3rd Season". Fans United for SatAM. Retrieved 2012-10-17.