The cult classic is even getting an anime series on Netflix

BY PHOEBE IRIS, IMAGE BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES

In August 2010, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World was released to UK audiences. After 13 years, it was announced in April that Netflix is working on an Anime series of Edgar Wright’s iconic film, featuring many of the original cast members.

Although the film initially flopped at the box office (making back just $31 million of the $85 million budget), in the intervening years it has solidified its status as a modern cult classic.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World tells the story of 22-year-old Scott (played by Michael Cera) as he pursues a relationship with ultimate manic-pixie-dream-girl Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winsted). Ramona reveals that in order to be her boyfriend, Scott must first defeat her “seven evil exes” including a famous actor, a vegan, a pair of twins and even a woman. 

The exes promptly begin popping up to challenge Scott, with the film culminating in an epic showdown at the “battle of the bands” where Scott’s band, Sex Bob-omb, are competing to win a record deal. The film ends with Scott and Ramona reckoning with their previous toxic behaviour and deciding to start their relationship afresh. 

The movie was first conceived in 2004 after the release of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel Scott Pilgrim. It spent years in development and in 2009 production began on location in Toronto where the film is set. Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World: The Game (a videogame version of the story) was released in 2010 and was well received by both fans and critics. 

The studio spent months carefully curating the cast we know and love, but things could have been very different. Shortly before the release of Twilight, Robert Pattinson read for the role of Lucas Lee, an arrogant actor and one of Ramona’s evil exes. This part was later given to Chris Evans. Beloved character, Kim Pine, was read for by Betty Gilpin (GLOW, The Hunt), Rooney Mara (Carol, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks, The Big Sick) before it was ultimately given to Alison Pill. 

Casting director, Jennifer Euston (Orange Is the New Black, Girls), certainly knew what she was doing. Some call Scott Pilgrim a “star-making” movie due to it featuring so many actors who are now household names. Chris Evans, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick, Kieren Culkin and Brie Larson have all gone on to work on massive projects since the film’s release, which only further entrenches Scott Pilgrim’s cult status.

The film features a number of queer characters, as well as some openly queer actors. Scott’s best friend and roommate Wallace (Culkin) is gay and in an open relationship, although these are minor details in his characterisation as it’s his quippy dialogue and charm that makes him a firm fan favourite. Queer cast members include Plaza, Kendrick and Satya Bhabha, who played Ramona’s first evil ex Matthew Patel, and has been married to his husband since 2016.

Mae Whitman, who came out as pansexual in 2021, plays lesbian Roxie Richter, Ramona’s only ex-girlfriend. And, of course, we have Ramona herself. Ramona describes her relationship with Roxie as “just a phase” (to which Scott replies “You had a sexy phase?”), but Roxie’s inclusion in the “League of Evil Exes” gives validity to the relationship and many fans see Ramona as canonically queer. Reddit users were keen to point out that Ramona sports the bisexual flag colours on her first date with Scott. 

By today’s standards, the bisexual storyline comes across as tokenistic, perpetuating the male gaze and reinforcing biphobic stereotypes. While this is a minor plot point which hasn’t hampered people’s love of the film, fans will be watching keenly to see if the Anime gets it right this time around.

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