Repurposing Characters is when a fan takes an existing character (from Sonic or another franchise) to represent a different character than originally intended. In many cases, this means a single character can represent more than one distinct characters.
They are NOT repaints.
Official repurposing happens when a character in a fiction uses the character model and color scheme of someone else's design. The repurposed character has no official look of his/her own, but they can take on double-duty representing both the character was originally intended to be and the repurposed character established later on in fiction.
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