Edgar Wright's cinematic take on Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series has been relatively faithful to the source material, at least as far as movie adaptations of comic books go. However there are quite a few differences in Scott Pilgrim vs The World and the books. These changes are both major and minor but add up to a unique, one of a kind experience separate from the Oni Press comic books.
If you're interested in the differences between the Scott Pilgrim movie and the book, read on to find out about all of the changes.
BE WARNED: There are spoilers for both the movie AND the comics in this article!
Scott Pilgrim's Ending Changes
The finale of the movie is vastly different from the final chapter of the comic books. Filming began before the completion of the volume 6 of the Scott Pilgrim comics and you can see how they veer off entirely.
Unlike the film, Ramona never returns to Gideon. She leaves Scott to spend time "finding herself" at her parents and returns to save him after Gideon beats him up. Later, they travel into subspace together where she manages to put her baggage aside and claim an emotional victory over her ex-boyfriends.
Gideon has been trying to capture all of his ex-girlfriends and place them in deep, cryogneic slumber. Scott and Ramona fight Gideon together before defeating him with an ex-strike. His other ex-girlfriends are freed.
In the movie, Scott uses his extra life to replay the entire final scene and do it right. Knives is the one who helps him fight GIdeon while Ramona spends most of the fight watching and emotionally conflicted.
Ramona and Knives Fight Altered
In the book, Ramona and Scott's sister take a trip to the Toronto Reference Library where she's attacked by Knives. This is the first meeting between the two of them and they have an epic ninja battle in the fancifully designed public building. By the time the end of the books roll around, Knives is mostly over Scott and dating Young Neil seriously.
In contrast, Knives and Ramona get into a huge battle at the end of the film which is only stopped by Scott admitting he treated them both wrong.
This changes the dynamic between the two characters; in the book, Knives hates Ramona but gets over things on her own. In the film, Knives grows to resent her and eventually becomes an "evil ex" on her own who is able to move on once Scott manned up to being the problem in the relationship.
It also omits the growing friendship between Stacey Pilgrim and Ramona, an uncomfortable situation for Scott.
Changes to Stephen Sills, Kim Pine and Sex Bob-omb
One of the biggest changes between the Scott Pilgrim books and the movie is his relationship between his band members in Sex Bob-omb.
A good portion of the middle chapters of the book were dedicated to Sex Bob-omb's attempts to record an album. Naturally, this doesn't go very well at all and leaves the trio under prepared for live shows. This also introduces Neil to Joseph, who owns the recording equipment they use. Eventually Stephen Sills and Joseph will begin dating.
Yeah, that's right movie fans: Stephen Sills realizes he's gay, dumps Julie, and starts dating a dude. Joseph isn't even in the movie so there's no queering out.
Instead, Sex Bob-omb gets a record deal with Gideon and sells out, greatly dissatisfying Kim. Speaking of Kim, much more time is spent in the comics following her and Scott's relationship. Although the two of them almost get back together, she puts a stop to it before it goes too far. In the end, the two of them remain best friends and form a two person band after Sex Bob-omb breaks up.
You can see more of what it might have looked like in the movies in Scott Pilgrim vs. The Animation.
Ramona Fights Roxy Instead of Envy
Another major change from the book-to-movie is that Ramona and Envy never get in a fight. Instead, a fight between Ramona and her ex Roxy takes its place. This is a bit surprising, because in the comic,she and Roxy and a mostly positive relationship.
Much of the Envy is replicated by the battle with Roxy, from Ramona using her giant hammer (+2 versus girls) to tickling her under her knee being her weak point. Unlike Envy, this causes Roxy to orgasm and die (eew? Eew.).
This drastically changes the fight between Scott and Roxy. In the comics, he has to fight her while Knives jealous father attacks her. The two have a classic Kurasawa inspired samurai showdown. The movie battle requires Ramona to fight for Scott as he refuses to hit a woman.
Envy's plot is over after their initial meeting, unlike the books where she plays a much larger role in the storyline. She eventually begins to form a relationship with Gideon and mends fences with Scott.
No B-b-b-b-ionic arm!
A very small change, but notable nonetheless. Although you see her briefly, there's no speaking role for the third member of Envy's band. In the book, she has teleportation powers and a bionic arm she uses to beat up Knives. Her affair with Todd (the third evil ex) leads to his downfall.
In the movie, most of her lines and actions are rolled into Todd's dialog.
Other Changes To the Scott Pilgrim Movie From The Books
Here are some of the other changes that happened between the books and the movie.
- Scott never works with Stephen Sills at the Happy Avocado. In fact, very little mention of any of Scott's employment woes are ever made during the movie.
- He never lives with Ramona and her pet cat, Gideon (...)
- There's a very large subplot in the books regarding "glowing heads." This is eventually revealed to be technology used by Gideon to allow people to retreat inside their own minds to escape pain, but it makes them outwardly very mean. This is replaced in the movie by a computer chip Gideon implants into Ramona.
- Knives and Kim have a brief hook-up during a party in the books.
- We never meet Wallace's psychic boyfriend in the movie.
Regardless of the changes, the I would have to call the film adaptation of the Scott Pilgrim series a success. It stays true to the spirit, even accurately recreating scenes and dialog almost flawlessly. Although I would have enjoyed more time spent on side characters like Kim, Stephen Sills, and Envy, the finished product is still great.
Be sure to check out both the books and the new film if you're into comic books, video games, indie music, or just can't get that one guy or gal who got away off your mind.
J. Cook on August 29, 2010:
I just wanted more Joseph!
Steven Daniels on August 23, 2010:
pretty good compare and contrasts between the comic books and the movie. although i don't read comics anymore, i would definitely read this series if i ever did again, as it sounds very interesting. to be honest, im not really surprised by the number of changes they made because ALL comic book adaptations get changed when being converted to the big screen. Even the most successful ones like "The Dark Knight" and "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World", to name a few. That's why I never understood why some comic book nerds whine and complain about the slightest change to a comic book adaptation. Seriously, it happens all the time, even to ones that's openly received. Anyways, thanks again for the great read!
John B Badd from Saint Louis, MO on August 15, 2010:
I am book marking this page. I will be back to read after I see the movie.
Dallas W Thompson from Bakersfield, CA on August 15, 2010:
Thanks for sharing... Flag up!