Movie Reviews

Why Skylar Astin & Ben Platt Are Not In Pitch Perfect 3


  • Skylar Astin and Ben Platt did not return for Pitch Perfect 3 due to creative differences and other acting obligations.
  • The absence of Jesse and Benji in Pitch Perfect 3 left fans wondering about their relationships with the Barden Bellas.
  • Despite their absence in the third film, both Astin and Platt have continued to take on musical roles in other projects.

While Pitch Perfect 3 tells a new story about the acapella group the Barden Bellas, with many cast members such as Anna Kendrick coming back, Skylar Astin and Ben Platt didn’t return to Pitch Perfect 3 for a reason. The first two films in the franchise see the Bellas striving to win both collegiate and global competitions. In the third entry, they are unhappy after graduating from Barden University. In Pitch Perfect, Beca’s (Kendrick) love interest Jesse Swanson (Astin) joins the successful all-male group the Treblemakers alongside his roommate Benji Applebaum (Platt). In Pitch Perfect 2, the Bellas have a new rival in Das Sound Machine, and the Treblemakers only appear briefly.

Pitch Perfect 3 received negative reviews, with Jesse and Benji’s notable absences being critiqued. While the Treblemakers play a bigger and more significant role in the first movie than the second, it is odd for them to not have some screen time in the third entry. Since Jesse and Beca have a serious romance and Benji falls in love with Emily Junk (Hailee Steinfeld), there are questions surrounding these relationships and what the next phase of Jesse and Benji’s lives look like. Given the fact that Pitch Perfect 3 delves into the Bellas’ post-college lives, it’s a shame not to follow up with these two other significant characters, and it leaves the audience wondering: why weren’t Benji and Jesse in Pitch Perfect 3?


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Skylar Astin & Ben Platt Are Not In Pitch Perfect 3 Due To Creative Differences

They Were Not Included In The Original Script

Split image of Benji and Emily in Pitch Perfect 2 and Jesse smiling in Pitch Perfect

Ben Platt’s controversial Dear Evan Hansen role is only one reason why the actors didn’t return. Trish Sie, the director of Pitch Perfect 3, explained that Astin and Platt had other acting obligations. Sie said that when she received the script, the characters weren’t included, and that felt right. However, she noted that these male characters wouldn’t be the focal point of the story anyway.

Sie explained there “was some scheduling stuff involved — Ben Platt is busy winning awards on Broadway [for Dear Evan Hansen] — but I think the main purpose was these girls are moving on with their life. Maybe they’ll get back to these guys at some point” (via Benji and Jesse weren’t in Pitch Perfect 3 then, because it wasn’t their story being told.

…it doesn’t make sense for Benji and Jesse to be left out.

But if Jesse and Benj had been included in Pitch Perfect 3, it wouldn’t have comprised the integrity of the plot. Even though they have love interests, Beca and Emily always maintain a strong sense of self, and with several Pitch Perfect cast members coming back for the third entry, it doesn’t make sense for Benji and Jesse to be left out.

Beca and Jesse’s relationship in particular is a positive part of the franchise, with them connecting over a shared love of music in the original film despite their differences. There easily could have been room for Jesse to appear in Pitch Perfect 3 in a supporting role.


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How Pitch Perfect 3 Explains Jesse And Benji’s Absence

Only Jesse’s Absence Is Noted

Although Pitch Perfect 3 explains that Jesse and Beca split up because they were unable to maintain a long-distance relationship with Beca living in New York City, the movie doesn’t mention what happened to Benji. The characters’ absence from the movie is a disappointment given their importance in the other two installments. Since Jesse and Benij travel to Copenhagen in the sequel to see the Bellas perform, it feels strange to see Beca singing as part of DJ Khaled’s tour without her friends cheering her on.

While Pitch Perfect 3 has great songs, the movie falls flat in some ways, most notably because the characters are miserable in their jobs and no longer having fun while attending the same college. Even if Beca and Jesse are no longer together, they could still remain friends and that would allow him to be part of this movie. However, given the popularity of this romance, it’s disappointing that the characters don’t get back together. The fact that there is no announcement for Pitch Perfect 4 leaves this couple’s storyline hanging.

Skylar Astin & Ben Platt Have Continued To Sing Outside Of Pitch Perfect

They Have Worked On Stage And Screen

A split image features Jane Levy and Skylar Astin in Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist and Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen

Despite Ben Platt and Skylar Astin not appearing in Pitch Perfect 3, both actors have continued to take on musical roles. Astin has been doing most of his singing in television series, and he appeared as Greg Serrano in 10 episodes of the musical dramedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Most of those episodes featured him singing as well. He also starred as Max in the short-lived Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Another musical dramedy, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist was sadly canceled, though it did receive a Christmas special, and Astin appeared (and sang) in the special as well.

Between the filming of Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, Ben Platt was working in the stage musical The Book of Mormon, so it only makes sense that he returned to the stage as well. While Pitch Perfect 3 was filming, as a matter of fact, Platt appeared in the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, for which he won a Tony Award for Best Actor In A Leading Role In A Musical (the show won six Tonys total).

He also reprised the titular role for the movie and wrote and recorded an album following his appearances in the Pitch Perfect movies. Platt will also star in Richard Linklater’s big screen adaptation of the musical Merrily We Role Along with Beanie Feldstein and Paul Mescal, a project that was started in 2019 and set to film over the course of 20 years.

Astin and Platt continuing to appear in projects that involve singing isn’t unusual for the Pitch Perfect cast. The cast is full of performers who grew up singing as much as they did acting. Though Benji and Jesse didn’t appear in Pitch Perfect 3, the actors will likely continue to lend their vocal talents to future roles.


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Did Their Absence Hurt Pitch Perfect 3?

Benji And Jesse’s Absence Was Not What Hurt The Movie

Ultimately, because the Pitch Perfect movies are the stories of the young women who make up the Bellas, their absence didn’t truly harm Pitch Perfect 3. The movie already had a lot going on with the reunion of the Bellas, a music competition, Amy getting caught up in her father’s spy world, and Beca ultimately deciding to become a recording artist instead of a producer. There might not really have been room for Jesse and Benji’s stories to be included.

Of course, if the script had included Benji and Jesse, it could have possibly eliminated the spy storyline altogether, which was the biggest complaint about the movie. Having Amy trained from a young age to engage in spycraft by the father she can’t stand is a storyline that comes out of nowhere and feels shoehorned into the movie. It makes the movie stray from its musical-comedy format into campy action territory as well, distracting the audience from the real story of Beca’s journey.

Including Jesse and Benji in the movie could have been extensions of Beca’s journey. After all, she mentored Emily in the Bellas in the second movie and recorded her original song with her before Emily and Benji decided to give things a try. Jesse helped her realize in the first movie that she didn’t always have to go it alone. Both of those characters could have been included in her story, even if Beca and Jesse had decided to break up during the events of Pitch Perfect 3.

Pitch Perfect 3 Movie Poster

Pitch Perfect 3

Pitch Perfect 3 is the final installment in a musical comedy trilogy. It features a final performance by the Barden Bellas on a USO tour right before graduation. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfield, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Chrissie Fit, Alexis Knapp, and others reprise their roles, with Elizabeth Banks both acting and directing.

Trish Sie

Release Date
December 22, 2017

Kay Cannon

John Lithgow , Anna Camp , Matt Lanter , Brittany Snow , Ester Dean , Rebel Wilson , Ruby Rose , Hana Mae Lee , Elizabeth Banks , Kelley Jakle , Anna Kendrick , Alexis Knapp , Hailee Steinfeld , Shelley Regner


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