Scott Pilgrim & The Hero’s Journey

Scott Pilgrim & The Hero's Journey | Sc96

Here’s a deleted scene from Scott Pilgrim that screenwriters and budding scribes may get a kick out of.

Myself and Michael Bacall were struggling to make this moment in the movie work where Scott comes back to life. Originally after the dream desert, we saw Scott return to Wallace’s apartment and run through his phone call with Gideon again; but this time in a much more heroic fashion; determined to right his wrongs.

Then long after shooting, we came up with the idea of adding in a speech in the dark, literally adding black to the scene and recording a whole new monologue in the ADR studio with Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin.

(I actually did the same trick in ‘A Fistful Of Fingers’, adding a whole scene in the dark to pad out the scant running time).

Here though, the joke was to address the character arc of Scott Pilgrim with a monologue that explicitly riffs on Joseph Campbell’s monomyth; the hero’s journey. This is the basic pattern found in narratives around the world since folklore began.

Campbell posed the theory that numerous myths share fundamental structures and stages, which he detailed in his tome ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’.

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. ”

So in the spirit of Campbell’s monomyth theory, we gave Scott Pilgrim a barnstorming end-of-act-2 speech to show his path to enlightenment.

As it turned out, it was a bit too ‘in’ and didn’t get enough laughs to survive past the next test screening. But it did make JJ Abrams laugh when I showed it to him. So it was worth it for that at least.

Here’s the speech Michael Bacall me cooked up, with full credit to the assistance of Joseph Campbell and Christopher Vogler who wrote ‘The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers’, a book that makes the claim that all successful films innately adhere to the principles of ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’.

It bemused us how closely our story followed Vogler’s translation of Joseph Campbell, down to the absurdly literal “seizing of the sword”.

This originally came in right after the dream desert scene when Scott gains an extra life.

[scrippet]
INT. WALLACE’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
We FAST FORWARD all the way to Wallace’s apartment, as Scott enters. He flicks the light on.

SCOTT
…AAAAAAAAAHHH! I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAD TO SEE THAT AGAIN!

SOME GUY (O.S.)
Again?

WALLACE (O.S.)
Turn off the light!

Scott flicks the light off. On PITCH BLACK…

SCOTT
Wallace, when my journey began, I was living in an ordinary world. Ramona skated through my dreams and it was like a call to adventure, a call I considered refusing. But my Mentor, that’s you, told me if I want something bad enough I have to fight for it. So I did. There were tests, allies, enemies. I approached a deep cave and went through a crazy ordeal, during which I totally seized the sword. Sadly, I died. Then I resurrected! Now I realize what I should have been fighting for all along. But before I do that, I need to ask one final favor of you.

WALLACE (O.S.)
Uh, sure thing, guy.

SCOTT
Could you put a robe on and hand me the phone?
[/scrippet]

And there you go, you can see the actual deleted scene on the DVD / Blu-Ray.

That was a plug.

Go buy it.

  • Dannyb

    Just starting an essay on The Hero’s Journey for my narrative structure class, and I decided to do Scott Pilgrim. Having seen this, I am now really glad I did!

  • Benny Hack

    ha nice

  • Here’s the thing… stuff like this is exactly why Edgar Wright has so many devoted fans. It’s intellectually rich but not in a way that takes itself too seriously. It’s the kind of thing that makes you grin real big and say “Huh… that’s clever”. And most importantly, it’s extremely obvious that the guy loves movies. It’s an infectious love of movies that spills over into his own movies and interviews and DVD extras. And of course, that love of film only adds to the quality of his own films.

    Basically, Edgar Wright is the Movie Lover’s Movie Director.

  • Scott The Pepsi

    I have seen this movie 11-12 times. I saw it in theatres, I bought the Blu-ray, I literally forced my friend to buy the Blu-ray, I bought both soundtracks, I downloaded the movie on iTunes, I bought the digital comics online, and I have all of the actual paper books. Please post more things, I am shamelessly addicted.

    P.S My friend and I also made 10+ people watch this movie. Do I have a problem?

  • guyverxero117

    Scott Pilgrim is fucking amazing. Please check out our fandmade video!

  • Derek

    This is my favourite deleted scene on the DVD. I take animation, and we’ve had to learn the Hero’s Journey every year in this program. I laughed out loud at this, so did my friends I’ve shown it too. I can see why it was cut since most people are probably not familiar with Joseph Campbell, but this had my friends and I going, for sure.

  • AH

    I’m totally writing a college paper about the monomyth and The Lord of the Rings. Why didn’t I think to use Scott Pilgrim!! Would have saved me a lot of time…

  • I have been so busy filming that I haven’t been checking your blog but I did buy Scott Pilgrim on Blu-ray and then I had the crew watch it the day before shooting. I’m looking forward to going through the extras when all this madness is over.

  • Daryl Sudden

    Saw the movie yesterday in theaters (Switzerland), and afterwards on BluRay (a friend imported it) – we also went through the bloopers, extras, deleted scenes.

    I did find it a bit long if it would’ve made it in the movie, but it was very interesting to see… or should I say “hear” 🙂

    Now that I’ve finally seen the movie, I want to thank you for making such an awesome movie. Sorry if I went a bit Off-Topic here. 😀

  • Daryl Sudden

    Saw the movie yesterday in theaters (Switzerland), and afterwards on BluRay (a friend imported it) – we also went through the bloopers, extras, deleted scenes.

    I did find it a bit long if it would’ve made it in the movie, but it was very interesting to see… or should I say “hear” 🙂

    Now that I’ve finally seen the movie, I want to thank you for making such an awesome movie. Sorry if I went a bit Off-Topic here. 😀

  • Daryl Sudden

    Saw the movie yesterday in theaters (Switzerland), and afterwards on BluRay (a friend imported it) – we also went through the bloopers, extras, deleted scenes.

    I did find it a bit long if it would’ve made it in the movie, but it was very interesting to see… or should I say “hear” 🙂

    Now that I’ve finally seen the movie, I want to thank you for making such an awesome movie. Sorry if I went a bit Off-Topic here. 😀

  • Daryl Sudden

    Saw the movie yesterday in theaters (Switzerland), and afterwards on BluRay (a friend imported it) – we also went through the bloopers, extras, deleted scenes.

    I did find it a bit long if it would’ve made it in the movie, but it was very interesting to see… or should I say “hear” 🙂

    Now that I’ve finally seen the movie, I want to thank you for making such an awesome movie. Sorry if I went a bit Off-Topic here. 😀

  • Daryl Sudden

    Saw the movie yesterday in theaters (Switzerland), and afterwards on BluRay (a friend imported it) – we also went through the bloopers, extras, deleted scenes.

    I did find it a bit long if it would’ve made it in the movie, but it was very interesting to see… or should I say “hear” 🙂

    Now that I’ve finally seen the movie, I want to thank you for making such an awesome movie. Sorry if I went a bit Off-Topic here. 😀

  • Bastard_robo

    On a side note.. I’ll never understand why “You stole him with your advance American slut technology” didn’t make the cut…..

  • Anonymous

    I still think someone needs to make a movie about Joseph Campbell that adheres to the Hero’s Journey, “Joseph Campbell Saves The Universe” or something ridiculous like that.

  • Iamthebrentman

    That’s brilliant! I knew there was something nagging at me when I watched that deleted scene, but I didn’t make the connection. Thanks for sharing that with us!

  • Martin Vargas (Mexicali)

    Mr Wright. I have a question. How you decide to change the ending to the movie???

  • AmberGrindstaff

    Love my blu-ray SP There is so many goodies on it! Thanks again EW

  • AmberGrindstaff

    Love my blu-ray SP There is so many goodies on it! Thanks again EW

  • AmberGrindstaff

    Love my blu-ray SP There is so many goodies on it! Thanks again EW

  • raylai328

    I haven’t watched the deleted scenes yet, this is f-ing blowing my mind. Last week I began working on a new screenplay, and thought I would, for the hell of it, watch Scott Pilgrim for the 5th time, and break it down utilizing Chris Vogler’s interpretation as a framework, just to see what would happen, and to make seem as though I was doing some work, instead of just watching the movie again. Immediately, I was struck by how closely it adhered, and pointed this out to my wife. She rolled her eyes, and went back to sleep.

    Then on Saturday night we went to the New Beverly midnight screening with Doug Benson, and I really wanted to ask of whether this was a conscious choice, or if the hero’s journey was just so ingrained in yours’ and Michael Bacall’s psyche, that it just happened subconsciously. But as usual, I didn’t have to courage to ask, and was a bit sleepy.

    These are actual passages from my notes: “Scott meets Ramona in his dream, can’t get her out of his head. This is his call to action.” “Wallace is his mentor, tells him to fight for what he wants.” “Gets on The Road Back to the Chaos Theater and after Gideon again.”

    So yes, as a budding scribe, I most definitely got a kick out of this.

    PS. Since it seems like you are a pretty avid fan of the DLM’s podcast, just thought I would mention that I am Rav-Ray from the TJ Miller VS. the World episode, or evil audience member #1. Not sure if you heard that episode or not, but if you didn’t I was hilarious. If you did, sorry for not being hilarious.

  • raylai328

    I haven’t watched the deleted scenes yet, this is f-ing blowing my mind. Last week I began working on a new screenplay, and thought I would, for the hell of it, watch Scott Pilgrim for the 5th time, and break it down utilizing Chris Vogler’s interpretation as a framework, just to see what would happen, and to make seem as though I was doing some work, instead of just watching the movie again. Immediately, I was struck by how closely it adhered, and pointed this out to my wife. She rolled her eyes, and went back to sleep.

    Then on Saturday night we went to the New Beverly midnight screening with Doug Benson, and I really wanted to ask of whether this was a conscious choice, or if the hero’s journey was just so ingrained in yours’ and Michael Bacall’s psyche, that it just happened subconsciously. But as usual, I didn’t have to courage to ask, and was a bit sleepy.

    These are actual passages from my notes: “Scott meets Ramona in his dream, can’t get her out of his head. This is his call to action.” “Wallace is his mentor, tells him to fight for what he wants.” “Gets on The Road Back to the Chaos Theater and after Gideon again.”

    So yes, as a budding scribe, I most definitely got a kick out of this.

    PS. Since it seems like you are a pretty avid fan of the DLM’s podcast, just thought I would mention that I am Rav-Ray from the TJ Miller VS. the World episode, or evil audience member #1. Not sure if you heard that episode or not, but if you didn’t I was hilarious. If you did, sorry for not being hilarious.

  • raylai328

    I haven’t watched the deleted scenes yet, this is f-ing blowing my mind. Last week I began working on a new screenplay, and thought I would, for the hell of it, watch Scott Pilgrim for the 5th time, and break it down utilizing Chris Vogler’s interpretation as a framework, just to see what would happen, and to make seem as though I was doing some work, instead of just watching the movie again. Immediately, I was struck by how closely it adhered, and pointed this out to my wife. She rolled her eyes, and went back to sleep.

    Then on Saturday night we went to the New Beverly midnight screening with Doug Benson, and I really wanted to ask of whether this was a conscious choice, or if the hero’s journey was just so ingrained in yours’ and Michael Bacall’s psyche, that it just happened subconsciously. But as usual, I didn’t have to courage to ask, and was a bit sleepy.

    These are actual passages from my notes: “Scott meets Ramona in his dream, can’t get her out of his head. This is his call to action.” “Wallace is his mentor, tells him to fight for what he wants.” “Gets on The Road Back to the Chaos Theater and after Gideon again.”

    So yes, as a budding scribe, I most definitely got a kick out of this.

    PS. Since it seems like you are a pretty avid fan of the DLM’s podcast, just thought I would mention that I am Rav-Ray from the TJ Miller VS. the World episode, or evil audience member #1. Not sure if you heard that episode or not, but if you didn’t I was hilarious. If you did, sorry for not being hilarious.

  • Anonymous

    Approximately in two weeks I will have my first pay day. I hope it will cover the BD price AND delivery (Russians reporting in :D). Or, alternatively, I can wait till the 25th of January — that’s when Universal is going to release the localized version (which is suprsisingly well made).

    Wait, how about this: I’ll buy BOTH editions xD

  • Anonymous

    Approximately in two weeks I will have my first pay day. I hope it will cover the BD price AND delivery (Russians reporting in :D). Or, alternatively, I can wait till the 25th of January — that’s when Universal is going to release the localized version (which is suprsisingly well made).

    Wait, how about this: I’ll buy BOTH editions xD

  • Kevin D.

    When I saw this, I literally burst out laughing because of two things: How over the top it was, which was in this sense a good thing and because of the fact that we’re studying Joseph Campbell in my English class right now. So this whole thing is great but I can see why it was left on the cutting room floor, as it was too long and for a movie that was basically based around fast paced dialogue and action scenes, this slowed it down and seemed out of place. That doesn’t mean it was a bad scene, not at all it was great, just didn’t fit right into the movie.
    Still Michael Cera did a great job delivering that speech, so kudos to him.

  • Kevin D.

    When I saw this, I literally burst out laughing because of two things: How over the top it was, which was in this sense a good thing and because of the fact that we’re studying Joseph Campbell in my English class right now. So this whole thing is great but I can see why it was left on the cutting room floor, as it was too long and for a movie that was basically based around fast paced dialogue and action scenes, this slowed it down and seemed out of place. That doesn’t mean it was a bad scene, not at all it was great, just didn’t fit right into the movie.
    Still Michael Cera did a great job delivering that speech, so kudos to him.

    • I have to agree, Cera had a lot of fun with it. I told him it was his ‘Braveheart’ speech. Originally we had it temp sountracked with ‘Il Triello (The Trio)’ by Ennio Morricone from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

      • Kevin D.

        The song from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly just added so much, dare I say, epicness, to the scene but what I particularly liked the most, as you stated in the post, was the fact that it was all in the dark. Most speeches you see the character’s expression but in this one, you have to guess what he’s doing in the dark. He might be walking from left to right, moving his hands a lot, you can’t tell. Which just adds to the overall humor, so that’s something I really did enjoy.

      • I laughed out loud when the music from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly began…

        Speaking of music, still curious what other songs Falkner and his friend riffed on (other than “Another Brick In The Wall”) in the Bass Battle…

    • I have to agree, Cera had a lot of fun with it. I told him it was his ‘Braveheart’ speech. Originally we had it temp sountracked with ‘Il Triello (The Trio)’ by Ennio Morricone from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

  • I just saw this last night for the first time on the Blu-Ray. I agree with almost all of the cuts, edits that were made except for maybe one or two — because they made me laugh. Looking back though, those had to be cut because it really would have interfered with the pacing.

    Watching the extras really gives people an idea how much work was put into this film. People assume that people in the movie business make a lot of money, but the fact is — you — and others began working on this film in 2006 if I remember correctly, and since I consider interviews work, didn’t finish until this month. Factor in all of the hours you worked on this film, and people would realize that you didn’t get paid very much for the work you actually put into the film.

    After seeing some of the different edits of shots on the blu-ray, I’d like to send some applause toward the editors of this film. A lot of unsung heroes — your brother’s work for example — that most people don’t realize had a big part in making this film so great. While we couldn’t clap for them at Comic-con, the Q&As, screenings, etc — I (and I’m sure many others) applaud their work here. Thankful we were able to do that for Paul Robertson, Brad Allan, Bill Pope…

  • I just saw this last night for the first time on the Blu-Ray. I agree with almost all of the cuts, edits that were made except for maybe one or two — because they made me laugh. Looking back though, those had to be cut because it really would have interfered with the pacing.

    Watching the extras really gives people an idea how much work was put into this film. People assume that people in the movie business make a lot of money, but the fact is — you — and others began working on this film in 2006 if I remember correctly, and since I consider interviews work, didn’t finish until this month. Factor in all of the hours you worked on this film, and people would realize that you didn’t get paid very much for the work you actually put into the film.

    After seeing some of the different edits of shots on the blu-ray, I’d like to send some applause toward the editors of this film. A lot of unsung heroes — your brother’s work for example — that most people don’t realize had a big part in making this film so great. While we couldn’t clap for them at Comic-con, the Q&As, screenings, etc — I (and I’m sure many others) applaud their work here. Thankful we were able to do that for Paul Robertson, Brad Allan, Bill Pope…