Scott Pilgrim Takes Off: The legacy of Edgar Wright's cult movie

Scott Pilgrim lives to fight another day - this time in anime form… Continue?

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (Netflix)
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (Netflix)

Edgar Wright’s 2010 cult-favourite Scott Pilgrim Vs The World has just received an extra life, with brand new anime series adaptation Scott Pilgrim Takes Off heading our way with an all-star cast.

This eight-episode small-screen take on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s hugely popular graphic novel series features almost all of the primary cast of Wright’s big-screen version, each reprising the roles they played so memorably in the Canada-set film.

Michael Cera reprises his role as Scott Pilgrim, the titular bassist slacker who must defeat seven evil exes in order to successfully date his new ladyfriend, Ramona Flowers. Played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Wright’s film, the star also return to voice Flowers in anime form.

Chris Evans is back playing Evil Ex number 2, Lukas Lee, while Asteroid City star Jason Schwartzman voices Gideon Graves, Ramona’s final big-boss ex-boyfriend.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (Netflix)
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (Netflix)

Meanwhile, Anna Kendrick will lend her voice to Scott’s sister, former Superman Brandon Routh will play super-powered vegan ex Todd Ingram, Captain Marvel Brie Larson returns as Scott’s pop-star ex and Succession’s Kieran Culkin will play Scott’s gay roommate Wallace Wells once more.

Other returning stars include Aubrey Plaza, Mae Whitman, Satya Bhabha and Ellen Wong who also reprise the same roles they brought to life back in 2010.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (Netflix)
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off (Netflix)

With a teaser trailer recently dropping, we got our first real look at anime Scott and the visual treat that's in store. Soundtracked to Sex Bob-omb's scuzzy garage rock, the show brings O'Malley's books to life in vivid and dreamy colour complete with their trademark videogame energy.

Watch it below before the show gets its Netflix premiere on Friday, 17 November.

What is the plot of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World?

Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs The World. (Alamy)

Devised by Canadian illustrator and author Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim is the central character in a six-part book series that was released between 2004 and 2010.

The story follows Scott (Cera), a video-game-obsessed musician and all-around layabout who falls in love with a new face in his Toronto stomping ground. After spotting the mysterious Ramona Flowers at a house party, he’s determined to get to know her better and sets out to meet her.

However, in doing so, he discovers that there are a few barriers standing in the way of their relationship — specifically, Ramona’s seven evil ex-partners who must be defeated in combat before he can win his new GF’s heart.

Read more: Hot Fuzz at 15: Its best hidden cameos

Each book in O’Malley’s six-part adventure sees Scott battle a different evil ex — starting with the mysterious Matthew Patel and ranging all the way to local movie star Lucas Lee, vegan bassist Todd Ingram and the ninja-like Roxy Richter — before going head-to-head with Gideon Graves for a big boss battle.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World. (Alamy)

Throughout it all, O’Malley infuses his story with plenty of homages to popular video game characters and motifs, while using his kinetic art style to bring Scott’s epic battles to life.

The story concluded with Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, the final book in the story which was written while Shaun of the Dead director Wright was making his big screen adaptation.

When was Scott Pilgrim Vs The World released?

Prod DB © Universal - Marc Platt Productions - Big Talk / DR  SCOTT PILGRIM (SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD) de Edgar Wright 2010 USA/GB/CAN. avec Mary Elizabeth Winstead adolescente, masse d'apres le roman graphique de Bryan Lee O'Malley autre titre: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (USA working title)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Scott Pilgrim vs The World. (Alamy)

Condensing the entirety of O’Malley’s six-part story into one feature film, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World was originally released in the UK on 25 August 2010.

Wright’s lightning-fast cutting style married well with the fast-paced action sequences that made Scott Pilgrim’s adventures so fun to read.

What’s more, with Wright’s previously-established fascination with pop-culture references — as seen in his hit show Spaced — and immaculate dedication to detail, he emerged as the perfect filmmaker to bring this story to life on screen.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World. (Alamy)

The end result was a rapid-fire and hugely faithful take on O'Malley's story, brought to life with an eclectic cast that suited their characters' print descriptions down to a tee.

Wright blended various familiar comic-book elements and visual onomatopoeia with reality to create a kind of comic-book-reality hybrid, all while packing his fourth feature film with plenty of colourful Easter Eggs that rewarded die-hard fans of both O’Malley’s work and pop culture in general.

As if that wasn’t enough, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World also boasted a stellar soundtrack to boot, with mega-musician Beck composing a number of original songs that served as the music for Scott’s garage band, Sex Bob-omb.

Was Scott Pilgrim Vs The World a box office success?

Edgar Wright, director of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.
Edgar Wright, director of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic).

After a successful debut airing at 2010’s San Diego Comic-Con in July, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World hit UK cinemas in late August of that same year.

While reviews of Wright’s film were largely positive (it currently holds a solid 82% on Rotten Tomatoes), praising its bold visual style and slick humour, it wasn’t a huge box office success.

With a budget of approximately $60 million, the film ultimately pocketed a worldwide gross of just over $47 million following its initial debut, with many fingers pointing to how the film was marketed as being to blame for this lacklustre reception.

However, despite its lukewarm financial return, Wright’s movie has attracted a strong cult following since its 2010 release, with its starry ensemble cast frequently returning to sing its praises and support its afterlife.

Cast members (l-r) Ellen Wong, Satya Bhabha, Anna Kendrick, Michael Cera, director Edgar Wright, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson and Brandon Routh arriving for the premiere of Scott Pilgrim vs The World at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London   (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
Ellen Wong, Satya Bhabha, Anna Kendrick, Michael Cera, director Edgar Wright, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson and Brandon Routh at the Scott Pilgrim vs The World London premiere. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Shortly after the film’s 2010 release, a video game adaptation was hit Playstation and X Box Live Arcade which brought Scott’s adventures into a hand-held format. Meanwhile, O’Malley later re-released his original graphic novels in a colour format as opposed to their original back and white iterations.

In the years since, various cast members have attended post-film Q&A sessions at special screenings across the world, with the film returning to cinemas for its 10th anniversary back in 2020 during a year plagued by the pandemic.

The bulk of the film's cast also reunited for a video script reading in promotion of this re-release and in support of the charity Water For People.

Cut to 2023 and with Scott Pilgrim’s adventures due to continue in anime form, this love for O’Malley’s world looks set to continue long into the future.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World is streaming on Prime Video. Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is coming to Netflix on Friday, 17 November.