When fans first heard there would be a Scott Pilgrim anime, the assumption was that the show would be a pretty much straight adaptation of the six-volume book series by Bryan Lee O’Malley. As a bonus, the series was announced to feature nearly the entire cast of the 2010 Edgar Wright movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. But now that the series is finally live on Netflix, you might be wondering… Is Scott Pilgrim Takes Off a sequel?
To be clear, there are massive spoilers for the show past this point.
In the first episode of the series, we get a more or less straightforward adaptation of the first chunk of the movie/the first two-thirds or so of O’Malley’s original graphic novel. And then the last minute of “Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life” throws everything we know about the series out the window.
In every iteration of Scott Pilgrim, we meet the titular Canadian dude (voiced by Michael Cera on the series). He’s a slacker who loves video games and doesn’t seem that smart… But has a group of friends who hate/love him anyway. He also falls head over heels in love with Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a delivery girl from America who has seven evil exes Scott must fight to continue dating her. In both the book and the movie, Scott successfully defeats these exes, starting with the first one, Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha).
At the end of the Scott Pilgrim Takes Off premiere, Patel seemingly kills Scott. He punches him so hard Scott turns into $2.10. As Ramona discovers at the end of Episode 2, “A League of Their Own,” Scott is alive somewhere, somehow. As she unravels the mystery of Scott’s disappearance, she finds closure with her exes, ultimately leading to the revelation that this whole plot has been the machinations of Old Scott Pilgrim (Will Forte). In the finale, the whole gang beats an even older version of Scott named Even Older Scott (also Forte). And we wrap up with Ramona and Scott deciding to date.
…So is this a sequel, or what?
Is Scott Pilgrim Takes Off A Sequel? Let’s Discuss:
To cut to the end here, I would say: yes, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is a sequel to the original story told in Scott Pilgrim the books and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. However, let’s break it down a little further to make sure this is correct.
Here’s how Netflix describes the series in their synopsis:
SCOTT PILGRIM TAKES OFF revisits and reimagines the beloved cult classic, taking Ramona Flowers, her evil exes, Scott, and his friends off on a mysterious new action-packed journey to find love.
The implication here that most fans took away when this was first announced is that the series was a “reimagining” of Scott Pilgrim. Not a remake, but the assumption based on interviews with showrunners O’Malley and BenDavid Grabinski was that they were using the voice cast from the movie to adapt the books, and include things that were left out of the live-action version.
To a certain extent, that’s true. A number of the flashback sequences in Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, like when Kim Pine (Allison Pill) describes how she and Scott got together in high school in Episode 3, “Ramona Rents a Video,” are right out of the book – but were not included in the movie. Same with several of the scenes where Ramona explains how and why she broke up with her evil exes.
And there are plenty of riffs on things that happen in the books and movie but in different ways. Kim Pine and Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) controversially make out in the books (controversial because it comes out of nowhere). In the show, their connection is shown through playing music together. And instead, Kim makes out with Roxie Richter (Mae Whitman) in the same episode. Whether that works better your mileage may vary, but it’s a clear nod to the previous material.
However, the story Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is telling, other than those bits, is purely original. By the end, because Old Scott lived through the events of the first story, and has traveled back in time to change the result, that means the previous story does exist in the continuity of Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. Not to go all “Webster’s Dictionary defines…” on you, but let’s go to the official dictionary definition of a sequel:
A published, broadcast, or recorded work that continues the story or develops the theme of an earlier one.
So, yes. Whatever Netflix (and O’Malley and Grabinski) are calling it, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is not a reimagining. It is not a remake. It’s not a reboot. Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is a sequel, plain and simple. There is no way Scott Pilgrim Takes Off could exist on its own. It continues the story told in the previous iterations, develops the themes, and ultimately pushes the story forward.
And given it’s a sequel, does that mean we’re going to get a Scott Pilgrim Takes Off Season 2 to finish the trilogy? if we do, hopefully, we won’t have to wait another 13 years.
Listen To Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Podcast:
Love Scott Pilgrim? Then perhaps you would also enjoy Scott Pilgrim vs. The Podcast. Every episode we break down a volume of the book series, discuss the feature film, and it’s all leading up to Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, the new Netflix series.