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Hey, A-ca-ballers, pull out your rape whistles. Stop eating your twins, and throw on your Bumper-sponsored sports sandals. We’ve got some important news to talk about. Pitch Perfect is coming back in all its hysterical and catchy glory. There will be renditions of hit songs, hilarious dialogue and some of our favorite characters.
I say some because we don’t really know who will actually be in the movie. Original screenwriter Kay Cannon, who is returning, hasn’t completed a studio-approved draft of the script yet, and apart from Rebel Wilson, Anna Kendrick and Elizabeth Banks, who will direct, it’s unclear if anyone else has even been contacted to gauge their interest levels at returning. Consequently, there’s an overwhelming likelihood that some of the more important faces from the first film will not be returning, but that’s actually a good thing.
You can’t make the exact same movie over again, especially when it involves college students who are graduating and going on to different things. It works okay to make up an excuse for one or two graduates to come back, but to be true to life, you really need to inject new blood. That was part of the secret of Friday Night Lights. People grow up. They graduate. New spots open up. New conflicts arise, and for that to happen, some favorites have to go.
So, without further ado, here is a round up of the main characters and some words on whether or not I’d like to see them come back.
Come Back: Beca MitchellBeca is the anchor of Pitch Perfect. Despite her hatred of movies and her angsty personality, her life outlook and clever comments are what propels the film forward. I would watch an a capella movie without her, but there would be no point in calling that film Pitch Perfect. She’s the only character that is an absolute prerequisite for the new film. She’s the only possible dealbreaker, at least as far as my excitement level.
Besides, there’s plenty more about Beca’s life we can easily look into. Now that she’s 20% less angry, we could get some awkward failed bonding scenes with the step-monster. We could look into her taking some real shifts as a radio DJ on the campus, and (gasp) we could potentially see her on some dates with different types of dudes who might not pursue her as aggressively as Jesse did during Round 1.
Fine To Leave: Jesse SwansonI really like Jesse. His unrepentant optimism and endless array of goofy jokes are the perfect counterpoint to Beca’s mopey nonsense, but it’s really hard for a girl in her late teens/ early twenties to grow as a movie character with a stable, long-term boyfriend. There has to be some kind of conflict, and considering much of the first movie was spent with him trying to win her over, I highly doubt Banks and company are going to want to travel along that same route again.
So, as much as it pains me to say it, Jesse may have to get kicked to the curb in the interest of the larger film. Or he may have to be comfortable accepting a far smaller role, one in which he isn’t the single biggest influence on Beca’s personality. In a perfect world, there would be enough time to follow a boy’s and a girl’s a capella group, but this franchise has always been and will always be primarily focused on the ladies.
Come Back: Bumper AllenLast time we saw Bumper, he was hitting the road and throwing up his middle finger at his a capella mates following a surprise offer to sing back-up for John Mayer. In a perfect world, I’d like to give that hysterical sideplot its own spin-off movie (kinda like Get Him To The Greek), but since that’s not going to happen, I think we all need to take more Bumper scenes wherever we can get them, especially when they involve the awkward sexual tension with Fat Amy.
Maybe a horrible experience with Mayer has shattered his confidence, and he’s returned to school to get his mojo back. Maybe he’s churned out a few hit songs and will cameo as the head judge for Pitch Perfect 2’s final a capella contest. I don’t really know how it should happen, but I need Bumper’s swaggy awesomeness. I need to hear him tell people to fuck off in perfect key at least one more time in order to die a happy man.
Fine To Leave: Aubrey PosenAubrey is a great foil for Beca in the first film. With her obsession with appearance and heavy reliance on the past, she’s very much our star’s opposite, and watching her slowly change over the course of the film is one of the more rewarding journeys we get. I wouldn’t change a thing about her role in Pitch Perfect, but considering she’s much older and presumably would have graduated by the time any sequel takes place, it doesn’t really make much sense for her to be around.
Besides, I’m not really sure where her character could go. The last thing you want in a sequel is for someone to complete the exact same character arc all over again. With Beca inserted as the woman the other ladies look up to, there’s just no place for her anymore that doesn’t involve morphing into some kind of supervillain that starts a rival a capella group. And who wants to see that?
Come Back: Lily OkanakamuraShe starts fires. She eats fetuses she certainly shouldn’t be eating. Altogether, she’s the single most ridiculous member of the Barden Bellas. It’s many of her lines that have become the most quotable entries from the original film, and it would be an absolute shock if she wasn’t back in a key supporting role in the next film. The requirement, however, is to keep her role in the supporting category.
Lily works as an absurd counterpunch to the other characters. Her lines need to be heavily regulated. Too much and she could easily turn from a breath of fresh air to an annoying and over the top caricature that ruins the overall flow and helps the entire franchise to jump the shark. She’s like The Hangover’s Leslie Chow in that way. In five or ten percent of the film, she’s comic gold. In twenty-five or thirty percent, that weirdness is likely to become off-putting.
Fine To Leave: Benji ApplebaumI love bad magic. Failed illusions delivered with misguided confidence add up to roughly half of the reason why I’m all about Phil Dunphy on Modern Family, but there’s just not a whole lot of things to do with Benji, especially if Jesse is written out of the second movie. The only way he would make sense is if the new film followed a men’s a capella group the whole time too, and even then, said a capella group couldn’t involve Bumper. There’s just no way he would ever be okay singing alongside Benji.
Nope. Benji probably needs to be left out of the new film, but honestly, I’m sure anyone will really have a problem with that. I’ve never heard a single person cite Benji as one of their favorite characters. He’s, at best, a slightly amusing distraction. If producers loved him, maybe he can show up for a scene or two, but in general, it would be better for everyone involved if he’s basically out of the way moving forward.
Come Back: Fat AmyThere are more than a handful of ridiculous characters in Pitch Perfect, but the key to Fat Amy is she’s on the right side of the human line. She’s outlandish and goofy, sure, but she always feels like a real person with real emotions. So, she can not only steal scenes with her hysterical quips, she can also come up with real ideas, give other characters real feedback and even make astute observations about the larger Pitch Perfect world.
Technically, a sequel could be done without Fat Amy, but apart from Beca, she’s the one character whose absence might keep fans away. With a ton of untouched personal life backstory and individual relationships with Bumper and many of the girls, there’s plenty of different places Banks and company could hypothetically take her, and at this point, there’s no reason to think she won’t steal damn near every scene she’s in in the upcoming film too.
Fine To Leave: Chloe BealeEveryone be quiet for a minute. Let’s have a moment of silence for poor Chloe and her nodes. All she wanted to do was sing. Instead, her vocal chords betrayed her, deepening her voice and nearly removing her ability to sing. Miraculously, the bass in her new voice really helped to round out the arrangement during the first film, but considering her age, it’s hard to imagine there will be space for her or her Barry White voice in the upcoming film. She’s not capable of being the villain. She’s not really funny enough to be a random supporting character. She only works as a sort of peacekeeper, but if Aubrey is gone, who would she be keeping the peace with?
I’m a Chloe fan. She’s one of my favorite characters in the first film, probably because she likes surprising people naked in the shower and carefully knows how to push Aubrey without making her stress vomit (usually), but sometimes tough choices need to be made in the interest of the larger material.