This Article Contains Spoilers -
WARNING: This article contains major spoilers. If you do not wish to know vital information on plot / character elements in a story, you may not wish to read beyond this warning: We hold no responsibility for any negative effects these facts may have on your enjoyment of said media should you continue. That is all.
|“||Turns out, with great power comes great power-hungry bad guys!||„|
The Echidna Tribe is the overarching antagonistic faction of the Sonic the Hedgehog film series. They appear as the overarching antagonists of Sonic the Hedgehog and the posthumous overarching antagonists of its sequel Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
They are a tribe of Echidna warriors that seemingly attempted to kidnap the young Sonic the Hedgehog for his unique abilities, resulting in him hiding on Earth. However, it is later revealed that their real goal is to reclaim the lost Master Emerald and use it for their own purposes, and destroy anyone who gets in their way.
Decades prior to the events of the series, the Echidna tribe collected the seven Chaos Emeralds and forged them into the Master Emerald—a gem that provided the wielder with unlimited power, allowing a single Echidna to battle entire armies. For a time, the Echidnas used the Master Emerald to conquer their enemies, until one day, a group of Owl warriors managed to steal the Emerald from them, believing that no one should possess such power.
The Echidnas became the sworn enemies of the Owls afterwards, waging war with them for years over the secret hiding place of the Master Emerald; unbeknownst to the Echidnas, the Owls had stored the Emerald in a hidden temple on the planet Earth. The Echidnas' war with the Owls would take a heavy toll on both sides, dwindling the Echidnas down to a much smaller group, and leaving only one Owl, Longclaw. Longclaw later went into hiding on a small island, adopting a hedgehog with superhuman speed named Sonic, while the Echidnas dedicated themselves to tracking her down, intending to force her to reveal the Master Emerald's hiding place.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Prior to the events of the film, when a young Sonic still lived with Longclaw, the Echidnas attacked them one day; having presumably tracked them down because of Sonic recklessly exposing himself. When they finally confirmed Sonic's home location, the tribe decided to attack him, only being obstructed by Longclaw and repelled. However, as Longclaw took Sonic to safety, the Echidnas' leader, Pachacamac, shot her down with an arrow. With Longclaw injured, the Echidnas quickly began to enclose upon her and Sonic.
To save Sonic, Longclaw gave him a bag of rings, using one of them to create a portal to Earth, instructing him to hide there and never stop running. Longclaw guards the portal from the Echidnas as they run towards her, saying her goodbyes to Sonic before the portal closes. It is left unclear what happened to both the Echidnas and Longclaw afterwards. As a result of these events, Sonic spends years secretly hiding Earth and settles in the small town of Green Hills, until he is eventually discovered by the U.S. government and the mad scientist Dr. Robotnik and decides to use his powers to protect his new friends.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Following the events of the previous film, it is established that the Echidna Tribe has been succeeded by their sole surviving member, Knuckles the Echidna, who teams up with Robotnik to hunt down Sonic and complete the tribe's mission of locating the Master Emerald. With the help of his new friend, Miles "Tails" Prower, Sonic begins a quest to find the Master Emerald first, discovering the Echidna's creation of the Emerald and war with the Owls over it. During their second encounter, Knuckles reveals to Sonic that, as a child, he witnessed the tribe preparing to hunt down Longclaw once her location had been discovered, and was prevented from joining the hunt by his father. Although he waited for his tribe to return, they never did, leaving him as the last Echidna; implying that Longclaw either killed the Echidnas after saving Sonic, or they had perished for unknown reasons following their attack.
Sonic begins to sympathize with Knuckles knowing that he too had lost everything because of the Echidnas and Owls' war, and eventually joins forces with him to defeat Robotnik after he betrays him and steals the Master Emerald. Once Robotnik is defeated and Sonic scatters the Chaos Emeralds to keep them from being used, Knuckles decides to form a new tribe with Sonic, Tails and the Wachowski family on Earth to protect the Master Emerald; thus undoing the Echidna Tribe's violent legacy.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic's narration states that the Echidna Tribe were attracted to his power, and attacked him and Longclaw specifically to capture him. However, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 explains that it was Longclaw the Echidnas were really after, since she was aware of the Master Emerald's hiding place. This is possibly a retcon to the events of the first film, although, given that Sonic was unaware that the Master Emerald even existed, it's likely that he was simply misinterpreting the situation at hand.
- However, it's implied that the Echidnas still wanted Sonic anyway, with one of the Echidnas shown prepared with a bag to capture him. It's possible that they saw Sonic as an additional source of power, and/or as a way of forcing Longclaw to give up the Master Emerald's location.
- The Echidna Tribe is directly based upon the Knuckles Clan from the Sonic the Hedgehog video games, first appearing in the 1998 video game Sonic Adventure. Like in the games, they are the tribe from which Knuckles the Echidna comes from, and their deaths led to him becoming known as the last Echidna.
- Like the Knuckles Clan, the Echidna Tribe's quest for power with the Master Emerald is ultimately what leads to the destruction of their species, although they are caused by different events. In the games, the Knuckles Clan were led by Pachacamac into trying to steal the Master Emerald in order to increase their own power and rule the world, which resulted in most of the clan being destroyed by Chaos; the repentant members of the Knuckles Clan would guard the Emerald for decades, until only Knuckles remained. In the films, the Echidna Tribe created the Master Emerald to be used as an unstoppable weapon, and warred with the Owls for years over control of it, leaving Knuckles as their sole surviving member.
- Many fans thought that Knuckles appeared within the Echidna Tribe, given the extreme resemblance these Echidnas have to Knuckles. But this is impossible, since considering the history of video games, Knuckles is almost the same age as Sonic.
- This is proved correct in the sequel as Knuckles appears as a child when the tribe starts raiding Longclaws' place.