Geeks love Simon Pegg, and with good reason. Whether through his cinematic collaborations with Edgar Wright and Nick Frost or his small screen turns on Spaced, Dr. Who or Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Pegg has systematically inserted himself into nearly every current pillar of geek culture. Geeks love Simon Pegg. With this Friday’s release of The World’s End, now seems like an excellent time to revisit why.
Geeks Love Simon Pegg Because Simon Pegg Created and Starred in Spaced.
While Spaced wasn’t Pegg’s first work, it is perhaps the first geek touchstone of his career. Co-created with longtime collaborators Jessica Hynes, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright, Spaced aired for two series on Channel 4 in Great Britain in 1999 and 2001. It was a commercial and critical success and thrust Pegg—and his love for all things geek—into the spotlight.
Drawing heavily on popular culture of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Pegg littered the show with Star Wars, video game and comic references. What could have easily been viewed as a cynical attempt at garnering an audience was instead embraced as the love letter to geek culture that Pegg intended it to be. Its eventual release on DVD in the US was met with great fanfare, including the requisite Comic-Con panels and signing tours. Spaced placed Pegg on the radar of the collective geek consciousness and he has been here ever since.
Simon Pegg Wrote and Starred in Zombie-Film Love Letter, Shaun of the Dead
Pegg and Nick Frost wrote Shaun of the Dead, a 2004 zombie apocalypse comedy, long before zombies started to become the ubiquitous, shambling moneymakers we know today. Equal parts horror, comedy and rumination on friendship, Shaun of the Dead is a kinetic romp filled with laughs, groans and numerous nods to George Romero’s classic zombie films.
With Shaun of the Dead, Pegg’s audience—and influence—expanded to wider audience. The film, lauded by critics and fans both mainstream and geek, raised his profile to new heights. All the while, Pegg continued to let his geek flag fly, using press for the film to proclaim his hate for the Prequel Trilogy or his love of Half-Life 2. Shaun of the Dead was the first in what Pegg et al are now referring to as their Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, which includes Hot Fuzz and concludes with The World’s End.
Dr. Who. Need I Say More?
In 2005, Pegg took on the role of The Editor in an episode of the first series of the BBC’s re-booted Dr. Who. Ostensibly the “manager” of the orbital news station Satellite 5, Pegg was cast as the villain opposite Christopher Ecclestone’s 9th Doctor.
Long mooted as a “weeder” series for geeks outside the UK, Dr. Who experienced a huge surge in popularity in the mid-2000s, particularly in the US, where Pegg was already a cult star. Appearing in one of the most beloved sci-fi shows of all time seemed perfectly in line with Pegg’s career trajectory, and his menacing turn as The Editor further cemented the sentiment that he truly was “one of us.”
Simon Pegg Played Scotty in Star Trek. Game. Set. Match.
As if appearing in Dr. Who, voicing a character in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and serving as the inspiration for Wee Hughie in Garth Ennis’s critically acclaimed comic The Boys weren’t enough, Pegg hit warp speed when cast as the beloved Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in J.J. Abrams’ cinematic reboot of the Star Trek franchise. Perfectly case, Pegg managed to pay homage to the inimitable James Doohan while truly making the role his own. He returned to the role in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
No wonder geeks love Simon Pegg. His IMDB page reads like a geek’s Netflix queue. Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who—Pegg has done them all. His wit, charm and total devotion to geek culture both personally and professionally has endeared him to legions of fans that will, without a doubt, line up to see The World’s End.