Knuckles: Why Is James Marsden Missing from the Show?

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Knuckles, James Marsden

Tom Wachowski, portrayed by James Marsden in the Sonic the Hedgehog movies, was completely omitted from the Knuckles spin-off.

Everyone’s favorite echidna warrior returns in Paramount+'s new series Knuckles, and he is just as honor-bound and stoic as he was in 2022’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Idris Elba returns to voice the titular hero, and many other cast members from the Sonic movies reprise their roles for the show, including Sonic himself. But there is one particularly curious absence from the six-episode event.

Where Is James Marsden’s Tom Wachowski in Knuckles?

James Marsden Tom Wachowski Sonic poster

James Marsden starred in both Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as the Blue Blur’s best friend/father figure, Tom Wachowski. 

But when it comes to the spin-off streaming series Knuckles, Marsden's character is nowhere to be found (he is referenced by name, though), which has left longtime fans scratching their heads.

The most likely explanation for Knuckles’ Tom Wachowski-less run is that Marsden was simply too expensive to make an appearance in the series. 

The show contains excellent, cinema-caliber visual effects, particularly for the computer-generated creation that is its lead character. That sort of stuff is extremely expensive to achieve, especially for a television project.

Ergo, there was probably not much money left in the budget for Marsden’s salary, which is likely higher than his fellow Sonic co-stars.

It is worth noting though, that James Marsden has done TV work before. He has acted in shows like Jury Duty, Westworld, and 30 Rock. But it seems like Paramount+ was unwilling or incapable of ponying up.

It is also important to point out that it’s virtually impossible the actor’s recent controversy surrounding his letter of support for Brian Peck (subject of the recent documentary Quiet on Set) impacted his potential for showing up in Knuckles.

The series was developed and filmed in 2022 and 2023, long before those details about Marsden came to light.

Tom Wachowski Will Be Back

Despite his notable lack of presence in Knuckles, James Marsden will indeed return as Tom Wachowski in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, which is due out on December 20.

He plays a crucial role in the Sonic films, and if he were not to have a role in the threequel, it would be an even more glaring exclusion than in Knuckles.

And even though Tom’s not in Knuckles, that’s okay! The show understandably focuses firmly on Knux himself as he forges new friendships, battles new villains, and finds his true purpose on his new home planet of Earth.

All six episodes of Knuckles are now streaming exclusively on Paramount+. 

- In This Article: Knuckles
Release Date
April 26, 2024
- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.