While the entirety of Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is great, there’s one episode that stands out the most. And showrunners Bryan Lee O’Malley — who also penned the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series — and BenDavid Grabinski seem to agree.
Episode 4, titled “Whatever,” takes a keen interest in the character Lucas Lee, who is voiced by Chris Evans.
In the episode, Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) confronts Lucas, her movie star ex, as she tries to figure out where Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) has disappeared after losing a battle with another member of the League of Evil Exes.
“Whatever” is a daring play on skateboard culture and the Hollywood grind, with Evans lending a delicious, gruffy voice to the “too-cool-for-school” character.
“The character was a quick one-and-done thing in the book,” O’Malley explained over a Zoom call with Decider. “When I wrote those books, I had never been to L.A. or been on a movie set, or any of that. I really knew nothing about Hollywood.”
The co-creator went on to praise Edgar Wright’s ability to flesh out the character in his movie adaptation, saying, “It’s really hard to go back from that, because it’s just so delightful what they did with him.”
“Chris [Evans] embodied him so perfectly! Not to say that Chris is like a bad guy, but he does the voice and he does the brows, and he becomes ugly. It’s magic. So, of course, we wanted to tap into that,” O’Malley added.
Given O’Malley’s eventual relocation to Los Angeles and his proximity during his previous projects, he is confident that he knows how “this Hollywood stuff works now.”
Grabinski also feels tickled by the particular episode, stating that it’s a “gigantic collection” of his “favorite shit in the world,” such as Tony Hawk games, skate culture, and movies. “I love all action movies! If Lucas Lee was a real-life person, all the movies he has starred in are things that I would own on a 4K disk. It felt like the easiest playground to work with creatively. Episode 4 could have been 10 hours long, but luckily, we have restraints, so we didn’t overdo it.”
Additionally, O’Malley said that a major appeal of the series was being able to expand beyond the limitations of a graphic novel. “Like, the scene where Knives and Kim start playing music together. Obviously, you can never do a music-based scene in a comic book, so that was really appealing to me.” He also cites the flashbacks with Ramona and Roxy as something that was “really rewarding” to expand.
Grabinski, on the other hand, never thought about adapting Scott Pilgrim until the Netflix anime, but has been a longtime fan of the graphic novels, video game, and the movie. “Once we began working on the story, it became so fun. We were like, ‘What if Gideon and Julie become friends? Or would these people fight if they met? Would they hate each other?’ The most organic thing in the world, to me, was Todd and Wallace totally falling in love and having an affair.”
All said and done, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off has plenty of surprises in store for fans, but still stays true to the source material. I believe I speak for everybody when I say: I’d like the 10-hour Chris Evans cut, please.
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off is streaming on Netflix.