Shadow fans, rejoice! According to IDW Sonic comics writer and artist Evan Stanley, SEGA has established some revised guidelines on how to work with the moody anti-hero, opening the door for Stanley, Flynn and co to further develop his character arc in the future.
Addressing questions about the “red tape” around writing for Shadow, Stanley revealed on Tumblr that the guidelines have become a lot clearer in recent times, allowing more freedom for writers looking to flesh out his character on paper.
We’ve gotten some clearer, more workable guidelines for how to handle [Shadow]! I had very little trouble writing his part in the upcoming issues, and SEGA’s notes actually feed me up to write him more how I’d like to.
Whereas in the past, SEGA’s strict guidelines surrounding Shadow only left enough room for comic authors to write him in as a rather two-dimensional character, there now seems to be an active interest from the Sonic Brand team to make the Chaos Controller more understood. Stanley recalls a recent situation in a separate Tumblr post about this and how SEGA’s change of heart has opened up doors for the character.
Shadow being more understood is precisely what happened. I’m reminded of a scene in an upcoming issue where in the original draft Shadow acted without explaining himself, only giving an aggressive, confident response to his team-mates. This isn’t how I would have liked him to handle the situation. But in previous issues, this is how I’ve been asked to write him… so that’s what I did.
So you can imagine my delight to get the script back from SEGA with the request to have him instead explain his reasoning when it makes sense to do so and to showcase his intelligence, pragmatism, and capacity for strategy in the future. Not only does this make him much more workable within storylines, it helps make it clear that his “pride” is, from his perspective, a non-judgemental statement of fact and not an ego trip. It’s also an honest reflection of reality– 99 out of 100 times he really IS that good.
It all sounds really promising, and hopefully this will mean Shadow will have the space to grow as a character and not just be some grumpy git without much of a motive anymore.