As fans of “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Far Side,” and Talking Heads are well aware, all good things must come to an end. And the old English proverb rings true once again as Bryan Lee O’Malley’s critically acclaimed indie series href="http://www.scottpilgrim.com" target="_blank">“Scott Pilgrim” takes its final bow on July 20 with the release of the 248-page “Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour.”
For the uninitiated, Scott Pilgrim is a lazy 23-year old who lives in Toronto with his gay roommate, Wallace. He’s also in a band and loves video games. ‘Nuff said, right? Well, not quite. You see, Scott fell in love with the new girl in town, Ramona Flowers, and to win her heart he has to defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. And that is where readers picked up with Scott Pilgrim when Oni Press released “Scott Pilgrim Vo. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life” on August 18, 2004.
Since then (for those counting at home that’s six years, five volumes and 1,000 pages ago), “Scott Pilgrim” has garnered Harvey, Doug Wright, Joe Shuster and National Cartoonists Society Reuben awards, has been named Entertainment Weekly and Wizard Magazine’s Independent Comic of the Year and has spawned a legion of loyal fans.
With a movie adaptation directed by Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”) and starring Michael Cera (“Arrested Development”) hitting theaters August 13 and a videogame from Ubisoft currently in production, this is inarguably Scott Pilgrim’s hour. And no doubt, it will also be his finest.
CBR News spoke with href="http://radiomaru.com" target="_blank">O’Malley about the little series that could, and the Eisner nominated creator shared his thoughts on writing and drawing the characters of Scott’s universe one last time, the possibility of a “Scott Pilgrim” prequel and which actor steals the show in the upcoming movie.
With “Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour” fast approaching, your six-year long journey with these characters is coming to an end. Did that make it any more difficult writing and drawing the final volume?
It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve had to write, mostly because it’s a lot easier to drop hints and dangle plot threads than it is to bring everything together. So logistically, in terms of putting all the pieces back in the right order, that was hard. Emotionally, there were only a few moments towards the end where I felt a single tear trickling down my face. The drawing, well, the drawing is always hard.
What will you miss most about the process? And conversely, anything you are happy to leave behind?
I’m happy to be able to stop drawing Scott Pilgrim’s stupid face. Seriously, those giant eyeballs are a nightmare after a while.
How do you feel you have evolved as both a writer and an artist since the release of “Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life” in 2004? What about as a businessman?
It’s been almost six years, so it’s pretty hard to disentangle “Scott Pilgrim” from my actual development as a human. It’s really sort of been my vocation.
While we’re on the subject of growth, do you feel Scott has matured as a character? And what major changes, if any, do you see in his characterization and personality?
I don’t know. I have no idea. Hopefully it’ll seem like everyone has learned at least something by the end of the last book.
Near the end of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe,” it looked liked we have may have seen the last of Kim Pine. But there she is on the cover of “Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour.” Did you have second thought about removing her from the series or was her return always the plan.
Yeah, she’ll be back. When I took her out of play in Book 5, I was just messing with your head, as usual.
In prepping for this interview, I read that Wallace was inspired by one of your friends. Is this the case with most of these characters…not including the mystics and half-ninjas?
No, it isn’t. Wallace is based on my former roommate and Stacey is based on my sister. The others are fictions or inspired-bys or amalgamations, all those things that writers do.
Now, I know you don’t want to give too many spoilers, but with Gideon’s ominous question: “When would it be convenient for you to die?” floating in the ether these past 400 days, can you give us a few teases of what’s ahead for Scott, Ramona and the leader of the Evil Ex-Boyfriends in “Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour?”
Scott is going to fight Gideon. Yeah, that was pretty much inevitable.
Any chance we’ll ever see new stories set in the Scott Pilgrim universe? Maybe a prequel like “Phantom Menace?”
I really, really hate prequels and after-the-fact origin stories. They are the worst thing. Just enjoy the mystery, people. I liked Wolverine back when his past was an ambiguous blur. I did not need to know about the time he got a stylish leather jacket from a farmer who saved his life, or any of that other shit.
Have you started work on your first project post “Scott Pilgrim,” and can you give us any teases on what it might be?
I’ll never tell. If there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s to not tell anyone anything about what I’m doing. It just creates weird and false expectations.
How heavily involved have you been with the filming of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World?”
I have been heavily involved since day one. If I wasn’t busy writing and drawing the comic books, I think they would have had me working on the movie full-time. They really like my brain.
Were there any actor choices that you thought were absolutely bang-on when they were decided? And once you started seeing some dailies, which ones really nailed his or her parts. Did anyone surprise you?
You know, pretty much everyone was perfectly cast right from the start. The evil exes in particular were mostly no-brainers. I would say that Kieran Culkin as Wallace owned the role from the minute he walked in the room, and he’s a major scene stealer. So is Chris Evans as Lucas Lee, who has since become comic-movie-ubiquitous. And I think even if Aubrey Plaza didn’t play Julie in the movie, I’d be writing the character as her anyway – she’s dead-on and very terrifying.
Have you had a chance to test drive the Ubisoft video game, and have you been involved in that creative process as well?
I have done a bunch of writing and storyboarding for the game. I doubt I’ll get to see it put together until the rest of the world does, though. Those things just take a long time to put together. I was definitely involved in most of the major decision making, though, and I think it’s going to be a blast to play.
Finally, are you surprised/shocked/thrilled/undecided about the overall success of “Scott Pilgrim” franchise? When you first conceived the character and his universe all those years ago did you have any idea what you were about to unleash on an unsuspecting public?
I’m still in awe and humbled by the whole ride, especially the last year and a half or so. I’ve done things and met people and had experiences that I never expected as a cartoonist. I was just supposed to draw the little pictures in the boxes and die in obscurity, I thought.