Idris Elba’s Knuckles Announcement is a Beloved Sonic the Hedgehog Meme

Here Idris Elba comes, rougher than the rest, the best of them, tougher than leather. You can call him Knuckles (in Sonic the Hedgehog 2)!

Idris Elba is Knuckles
Photo: SEGA

Let’s not beat around the Mushroom Hill. Sonic the Hedgehog 2, set to release in 2022, just added a major talent to its cast. Not only will Sonic’s not so chucklin’ nemesis Knuckles be making an appearance, but he’ll be played by none other than Idris Elba. WHAT?!

The news was revealed on Elba’s social media, sporting a teaser image of Knuckles’, well, knuckle. Alongside it Elba posted two words. “Knock knock”. No, this isn’t some easily made knock knock joke (though co-star Ben Schwartz did respond with, “who’s there?”) It’s actually a slick reference to one of the most (in)famous and beloved moments in Knuckles’ history as part of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

The time Knuckles was backed by rap. Let’s take it a back a bit. Sonic Adventure, released in 1998 on the Sega Dreamcast, featured an absolutely rockin’ soundtrack. Alongside the instrumental tunes each character got their own theme music and without question Knuckles has the best one.

Titled ‘Unknown from M.E. … Theme of “KNUCKLES”’ the song is a glorious rap, sung from Knuckles’ point of view, about how great he is and informs us of his back-story. Credited to Marlon Saunders & Dread Fox, the song even made a remixed appearance in Sonic Adventure 2. Notably the song includes the absolutely iconic lyrics,

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Knock, knock, it’s Knuckles, the blow thrower
Independent flower, magical Emerald holder

The song’s beloved by Sonic fans but over the years its worked its way up to meme status, with numerous remixes swapping out as many of the lyrics as possible to make the song just a near endless stream of the word “Knuckles,” occasionally punctuated with a “knock knock.”

So to see Idris Elba reveal himself as Knuckles to the whole world with a “knock knock” is a king level meme reference. Even the official Sonic the Hedgehog twitter got in on the fun, quote tweeting Elba with a paraphrased reference to a lyric from the same song. “Nothing’s gonna stand in his way!”

This isn’t the first time the Sonic movies have leaned into memes. The first film included a direct reference to the SANIC meme, a poorly drawn version of Sonic, that was utilized in the film as a drawing of a guy trying to catch Sonic.

If SANIC could make it into the actual movie, perhaps we’ll get to hear Idris Elba showing off his rap skills in character. The world needs it. It can’t be any weirder than that time Knuckles got his own comic series.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 opens on April 8, 2022. Ben Schwartz, James Marsden, and Jim Carrey are all expected to return. Jeff Fowler is once again directing, from a script by Pat Casey, Josh Miller, and John Wittington.