There’s a lot for fans of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim comic books and their big screen adaptation Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World to love in the new animated series Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, which combines elements of both to tell a new story… albeit one that plays on familiar material.
The 2010 movie featured an astounding “before they were famous” line-up of actors who would go on to have stellar careers. In addition to Michael Cera as the titular character and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as object of his affection Ramona Flowers, we were introduced to a league of “evil exes” played by future Captain America star Chris Evans, Wes Anderson muse Jason Schwartzman, Superman actor Brandon Routh, as well as Oscar-winner and Avenger Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, and Succession‘s Kieran Culkin.
This all-star cast has reunited 13 years later to reprise their roles for Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, this time in voice form. This new iteration of Scott Pilgrim’s story begins in a very familiar way, with Scott attempting to woo Ramona while doing battle with her rogue’s gallery of ex-lovers. But in a twist on the version of events we know, Scott seemingly dies in his first duel.
What follows is a departure from the source material which gives the supporting cast of characters plenty of screen-time, while the not-quite-dead Scott finds himself propelled forward in time, where he meets his future self, who is voiced by none other than comic actor Will Forte.
Without getting too spoiler-y, it’s fair to say that Old Scott—and Older Scott, who we meet in the further future and who is also voiced by Forte—is very different from Cera’s younger version, and has been affected deeply by the intervening years. But Forte is able to bring out the humor and zaniness in an otherwise quite unsympathetic character.
For co-writers BenDavid Grabinski and Bryan Lee O’Malley, Forte was the first and only choice to portray Old Scott, “because he can sell the pathos, and the patheticness, and the menace and weirdness.”
“Will is so likable, no matter what,” Grabinski told Rolling Stone. “There’=’s so many characters he plays, where if you gave it to another actor, I would turn it off. But with him, I find it always so endearing and likable, even when he’s playing a psychopath. Which is not the point here, but it felt like the exact right sensibility for him. And it’s so funny to me, the idea of Michael and Will. Him being the different actor as the 37-year-old version will never not make me laugh.”
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.