When planning a story, whether it be in movies, television or books, many ideas are considered for how to progress with the narrative. Ultimately, not all ideas make it into the final product for various reasons.
Over the years, the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog publications have had many unused ideas and concepts. Reasons can range from the creatives deciding that something doesn't work, plans changing, or (in the majority of cases) the idea is not approved by Sega.
Unused and Altered Villains
One of the earliest story ideas pitched by Ken Penders involved two villains who where essentially parodies of the Super Mario Bros. in reference to Sega and Nintendo's fierce rivalry in the 90's. (Early Drawings) This idea was rejected by Sega for being too obvious. However, this did not stop Fleetway from introducing their own take on the idea in the Marxio Bros.
Princess Sally Miniseries
- The first pitch revolved around an alternate origin for Alicia Acorn. Sally would discover that her mother was Roboticized and was currently leading an underground civilization. Had the plot come to fruition, the Robian Alicia would've gone on to become a reoccurring threat to both the Knothole Freedom Fighters and Dr. Robotnik.
- The second pitch involved Sally and Bunnie Rabbot doing a "Thelma and Louise" and heading off on a road trip to stop a threat that had come about on the other side of Mobius.
One of the most famous instances of story plans being drastically changed was the "Endgame" story arc (StH#47-#50). At the time, it was believed "Endgame" would be the comics finale, with the arc being written to bring to an end the battle against Robotnik.
Infamously, Sally Acorn was originally intended to die after her fall in issue 47, with Ken Penders explaining that Sally was a redundant character now that her father was back on the scene. When the series ended up continuing, Ken intended for Sally to be replaced a robot douppleganger. Sally's death was quickly reversed at Sega's request, as the company apparently had marketing plans for the character. Had the plot involving the robot double gone forward, it would've been the focus of many issues to come. The cancellation instead brought about the "World Tour" storyline.
Back when "Endgame" was planned as the final arc of the comic, the 50th (and final) issue would've been an extended issue featuring more story content. It later had to be reduced to a normal-sized issue, resulting in many scenes being cut. The original extended cut of issue 50 was later released in Sonic Super Special #6.
Knuckles Comic Cancellation and Sonic Adventure
Originally, the comics full-length adaption of the game Sonic Adventure was slated to run between four issues of Archie Sonic the Hedgehog and two issues of Archie Knuckles the Echidna as well as a Sonic Super Special. Knuckles portion would've began in issue 33 of his series, however the series was cancelled after issue 32. As a result, the adaption underwent a reformatting. The two Knuckles stories where split into four back-up stories that ran in the back of the main Sonic issues, meaning the main Sonic stories also had to be halved, making it so that the adaption took up 6 issues rather than four.
The cancellation of the Knuckles series also meant that Knuckles ongoing storyline had to be continued as back-up stories in the main Sonic series. The back-ups ran semi-regularly from #88 to #125. This reformatting reportedly caused many minor script changes.
Mobius 20 Years Later
The story was originally planned to be done in a Sonic Super Special issue. According to Ken Penders, the comic would have been kicked off with Julie-Su being informed of being pregnant. Originally, the main villain for the story would have been Dr. Ian Droid, the main baddie from Sonic Super Special #7. Somewhere along the line, it was just simplified to just Dr. Eggman.
Post-Tossed in Space
Karl Bollers posted a number of plans he had intended to implement in the comics following issue #134 that were ultimately never used (2), lasting as far as issue #150.
The Freedom Fighters would have been converted into a new team comprised of Sonic, Tails, Amy, Bunnie and Fiona. Having separated from Sally due to personal differences, Sonic would seek new potential love-interests in the form of his teammates, but it wouldn't interfere with their professional relationship. Fiona and Amy would have a rivalry of sorts over Sonic's affections, which would culminate in Amy and Sonic having a secret relationship after being stranded at sea together (during which, Amy's origins would've been explored in a fuller adaptation of Sonic CD). Tails' feelings towards Fiona would also bring him into conflict with Sonic, but would set them aside to focus on refitting the Tornado for space-travel so that he can reunite with his parents on Argentium. Rotor would retire from field duty in order to pursue a role analogous to that played by "Q" of James Bond fame. In addition, A.D.A.M. and NICOLE would form a relationship, culminating in A.D.A.M. rebelling against Eggman and joining the Kingdom of Acorn with Eggman's army of Shadowbots.
Eggman would find himself with multiple rivals beyond Sonic, including Shadow and a mysterious, fifteen foot-tall robot known as Skarkus. Eggman would later kidnap Hope Kintobor under the pretense that he is the only correct choice to be her legal guardian, while genuinely using her as bait to lure Shadow the Hedgehog (acting as a mysterious guardian angel for Hope). Skarkus is eventually revealed to be Snively in disguise, having formed an alliance with Shadow to try and get revenge on Eggman for leaving him to die during the Xorda invasion. In addition, Coconuts would find a de-roboticized and amnesic Nate Morgan (having survived the destruction of Robotropolis), turning his still-incredible genius into a weapon; rebuilding the original Metal Sonic, as well as a Tails Doll, Metal Knuckles and Metal Amy. These four robots would attack New Megaopolis and Knothole City with everyone believing they've been roboticized. During the conflict, Metal Sonic would gain enough power to morph into Metal Overlord.
Sally would have been revealed to be a pawn in a villainous plot by the Source of All, having survived the destruction of Robotropolis and reconstituting itself in a remote mountain range, set to prevent the future seen in Sonic In Your Face. To protect it, the children of Uma Arachis would have been gathered as a group known as The Strand, due to being corrupted by Naugus. Naugus would have possessed King Max through the crown and used him as a puppet in attempt to gain a physical form; transforming Max's body into a duplicate of his own, only to be thwarted by the destruction of the Crown of Acorns.
Antoine's darker demeanor and loss of innocence is revealed to be the result of him subcoming to the Source's will to, one day, marry Princess Sally without any given reason; which would result in the Source bonding with Sally permanently. In hopes of winning Bunnie back, Antoine allows himself to be possessed by a corrupted Source, turning him into a villain. Bunnie's breakup with Antoine would later lead to Bunnie's origins being explored and her true name being revealed as Scarlette O'Hare (which may have served as the inspiration for Scarlette Rabbot and Bunnie's codename when she was in the Metropolis Egg Army).
Locke and Lara-Le would've set aside their previous disputes to help raise Kneecaps after his father ends up in the Egg Grape Chamber. Meantime, Knuckles would depart Angel Island, after learning that his presence exposes the location of the Master Emerald, going on a global pilgrimage to learn martial arts, and battling Monkey Khan while under the control of the Iron Queen before discovering the Master Geode, a powerful gemstone capable of restoring one's life. Mammoth Mogul, beginning to age rapidly due to his original Chaos Emerald running out of energy, forces himself to seek out an alternative source through illicit archaeological expeditions and hiring mercenaries like Nack the Weasel. The Master Geode would be contested by him, the Iron Queen, Dr. Eggman, and Rouge the Bat.
A new Dingo Regime leader named Colonel Mange would've been introduced, with Croctobot, Jack Rabbit, and Gala-Na being reintroduced as Eggman's Sub-Bosses over Downunda, the Great Desert, and Albion. This would have led to the disappearance of the Downunda Freedom Fighters and a confrontation involving the Mercian Freedom Fighters. In the meantime, Evil Sonic would come to enjoy impersonating Sonic and enjoying the love of his parents and adulation of his people, leading him to plan to eliminate Sonic and permanently take his place.
When Karl left, Ken had a number of plans set up, the biggest of which was that he was going to try to fix the break-up between Sonic and Sally. The Mobius: 25 Years Later story would have concluded with King Sonic being unable to fix the damage, leading Rotor to send NICOLE into the past, as per Sonic In Your Face.
Another romantic plotpoint would have been between Antoine and Bunnie as Antoine would ask Bunnie to marry him, but wouldn't get an answer until #175. Their marriage would have happened around issue #200.
Sonic would be shaken up by a number of status quo changes, including the death of Snively and becoming a Gentleman-At-Arms for Sally, which makes things awkward for them.