This article contains major spoilers for Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.
The cult classic movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, adapting the Scott Pilgrim comic book series created by Bryan Lee O’Malley, has been lovingly adapted into the Netflix original anime series Scott Pilgrim Takes Off.
Though boasting the cast from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World reprising their fan-favorite roles and an animation style lovingly recreating O’Malley’s own art style, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off features some significant deviations from both the comic story and cinematic adaptation. With O’Malley himself, joined by co-writer and executive producer BenDavid Grabinski (and movie director Edgar Wright), Scott Pilgrim Takes Off subverts the expectations of even the most diehard Scott Pilgrim fans, keeping the story feeling fresh and exciting without compromising what made it great in the first place.
Here are the biggest changes that Scott Pilgrim Takes Off brings to the seemingly familiar Scott Pilgrim saga and how they alter the trajectory of the story and its characters.
Scott Pilgrim Straight Up Dies … Or Does He?
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off begins relatively faithfully to the comic story and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, with indie rocker slacker Scott Pilgrim falling head over heels in love with the mysterious Ramona Flowers. In order to win Ramona’s affections, Scott must battle her seven evil exes and, as with previous iterations of the story, the first of these is the vengeful Matthew Patel. In the movie, Scott defeats Matthew with relative ease after displaying a surprising amount of video game-inspired combat prowess.
However, in Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, it’s Matthew who emerges victorious in his showdown with Scott, seemingly killing him to everyone’s surprise after Matthew attacks a battle of the bands where Scott is playing. Scott’s death shifts the narrative focus to the rest of the show’s cast as they react to a world without their unassuming friend while Ramona investigates further to learn what Scott’s true fate actually is. This plot twist especially benefits expanding Ramona’s character, giving her agency and depth beyond merely being an elusive love interest for Scott.
Gideon Graves Is Overthrown and Matthew Patel Triumphs
In earlier versions of the story, the final evil ex that Scott battles is Gideon Graves, a successful businessman and the founder of the League of Evil Exes. Scott Pilgrim and its cinematic adaptation place Gideon as a shadowy figure who pulls the strings behind the evil exes confronting Scott in escalating progression. In Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, Gideon not only appears much earlier in the story but is deposed from his leadership position on the League of Evil Exes by none other than Matthew Patel.
Emboldened by his triumph over Scott, Matthew refuses to bend the knee for Gideon any longer and, in a stylized skirmish, succeeds in overthrowing Gideon and taking control of the League. Scott Pilgrim Takes Off really does justice for Matthew, no longer the brief villain who goes out as weakly as he does quickly in the movie but a force to be reckoned with. Gideon survives, brought to his personal rock bottom and apparently powerless, adding a layer of vulnerability and nuance that previous versions of Scott Pilgrim’s true nemesis ultimately lacked.
Scott Pilgrim Enters the Multiverse
In the end, the person responsible for whisking away Scott during his battle with Matthew isn’t any of the evil exes but Scott himself, but rather a middle-aged Scott from an alternate future. Scott is determined to stop his younger self from romantically pursuing Ramona to save himself from the heartache of their marriage failing years into the future. When the future Ramona rescues Scott and sends him back to the past with her blessing to continue his courtship with her younger self, an enraged future Scott battles his past self and the evil exes in an epic showdown. Ultimately, the two Ramonas merge into a demigod, sending the future Scott back to his own timeline while finally embarking on a relationship with Scott having learned from their future selves.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World had Scott learn the power of self-respect and, in Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, he literally confronts an older, embittered version of himself for a chance at true love. That it’s Ramona who ultimately defeats the future Scott and chooses to embark on a romance with Scott anyway gives the character even more agency and arguably makes her the most powerful heroic figure in the series. This impromptu alliance with the evil exes also completely reconfigures Scott’s dynamic with them… while not so subtly leaving room for a potential second season.
More using the comic book source material and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as a jumping-off point, Scott Pilgrim Takes Over takes the core Scott Pilgrim premise and its characters in an exciting new direction. Offering some major changes to the expected trajectory of the story, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off isn’t so much an adaptation as it is a remix and an expansion. These are all the characters fans know and love, but in a way they’ve never seen them before as Scott Pilgrim gets his second wind in animation.
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is available to stream on Netflix now.