The Twilight Cage (aka the Twilight Zone) was a zone comprised of barren islands of rock, darkness and space, where time flows at roughly one quarter the speed of Mobius Prime's—at least for the Dark Legion during their imprisonment there. It is also incredibly difficult to access or escape from the zone. The Twilight Cage is home to a number of powerful alien races that were transported to the Zone in a mysterious process called the Argus Event, the cause of which isn't known.
After the Forgotten War, the Echidna group known as the Nocturnus Clan experienced the Argus Event and managed to sustain themselves with their advanced technology. They soon conquered and enslaved the four alien races that had previously been trapped in the Twilight Cage, namely the Zoah, N'rrgal, Kron, and Voxai. (SSSM: #2; CSE)
When the Dark Legion began their attacks on Echidnaopolis, the Guardian of the time, Steppenwolf, used his vast knowledge of Chaos energies to banish Menniker and the rest of the Dark Legion to the Twilight Cage. There the Dark Legion continued to live for centuries, but they were not well received by the other residents of the Cage, Imperator Ix making the point of ignoring them due to their inferior technology. Reciprocating the hostile feelings, the Legion would steal Nocturnus teleportation technology in their efforts to escape the cage, and with it they would periodically make brief escapes only to be returned to the confines of the zone. Following one of these escapes, Grandmaster Luger was assassinated by his own children. Kragok explained to Lien-Da that at worst the left over evidence from the experimental weapon atomizing Luger would appear to be a Zoah attack. (KtE: #3, #18, #25; StH: #205, CSE)
When Dr. Ivo Robotnik fired the Ultimate Annihilator, the weapon weakened the dimensional barriers, allowing the Dark Legion to escape once and for all. The other inhabitants would remain in the Zone, and Imperator Ix continued research of the cage in preparation for the escape of his own people and their subsequent conquest of the universe. Fluctuations in the barriers to the dimension continued to linger on for months afterwards though, as Knuckles the Echidna was briefly pulled in and trapped there with the arrested Dark Legion Grandmaster Kragok while interrogating him for information about the former Guardian Tobor being replaced by the imposter Moritori Rex. They remained there for a brief period until a portal back to Mobius Prime opened and they escaped, although the real Tobor then pulled Kragok back in before it closed so he would not get away. When the Dark Legion fired the Quantum Beam to undo the effects from its first use on Angel Island, it inadvertently reopened the doorway to the Twilight Cage and both Tobor and Kragok emerged only to fall into the Dark Legion's Battle Cruiser, destroying the Quantum Beam and killing them both. (StH: #50, #100, KtE: #5, #18, CSE)
When the Prime Zone's history was rewritten by the first Genesis Wave, the Twilight Cage was implied to have existed in that reality, and that Julie-Su apparently resided there. After the wave was reversed, Julie confided in Knuckles that she felt as if she was just there. (FCBD: #6)
In 3236, the surviving members of the Brotherhood of Guardians (aside from Locke) were dumped in the Twilight Cage by Dr. Finitevus once he had completed his studies of them. After learning the fate of the Brotherhood via the former Legionnaire Dimitri, Knuckles and Julie-Su attempted to use a Warp Ring to travel the Zone and mount a rescue, but it failed to transport them between Zones. (StH: #183, #232)
List of Residents of the Twilight Cage
- Nocturnus Clan
- Dark Legion (escaped)
- Moritori Rex (reimprisoned in Zone)
- Brotherhood of Guardians
- It is likely that the Twilight Zone was the inspiration for the Twilight Cage in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, as it shared many similarities. The Twilight Zone was even called the Twilight Cage in 2009's Sonic Free Comic Book Day Special, possibly because Ian Flynn is trying to make the comic and game universes as similar as possible during his tenure as writer and has renamed the Twilight Zone to mirror or reference the game version. The usage was repeated in StH #205, establishing it as official canon. The Mobius timeline presented in Sonic Super Special Magazine #2 would appear to confirm this, and its use in The Complete Sonic Comic Encyclopedia solidified the name change.
- It is explained in Sonic Super Special Magazine #2 that the Marauders of the Nocturnus Clan had also been banished to the Twilight Zone. However, this left something of a plot hole in the fact that the Nocturnus Tribe and the alien races in the Zone have been there for over 4000 years without any of them aging, while the Dark Legion has aged one generation for every four passing on Mobius. It is notable that the Dark Legion is the only party known to have inhabited the Twilight Zone who were banished there rather than brought there by the Argus Event.
- It is also likely that it was named after the 1959 Science-fiction TV show made by Rod Serling called The Twilight Zone. By coincidence, William Windom (the voice of Uncle Chuck in SatAM) appeared in that show.
- It's also possible that the 'Zone of darkness of wasteland' was a likely reference to the Phantom Zone. In 1980 and the comic books a movie called Superman 2 appeared and it featured a zone that was made of glass but had darkness on the inside.
- It was implied in the editorial commentary of issue #244 that Julie-Su, Saffron, the echidnas of Albion and the Albion Dark Egg Legion were banished to the Twilight Cage by Thrash the Devil, however this has not yet been confirmed. Due to the legal issues surrounding the characters and the recent reboot of the series, it probably never will be.