Velma: Kaling & Grandy on Inclusion, Comedy, Scooby-Doo Canon & More

As far as Scooby-Doo goes, it's nice to see Velma Dinkley getting a ton of attention lately when it comes to giving the character the well-rounded attention they deserve. First, we learned that Velma would be reimagined as South Asian for star & executive producer Mindy Kaling, Warner Bros. Animation & HBO Max's ten-episode "Scooby-Doo" prequel spinoff, Velma. And then, in the direct-to-video animated feature Scooby-Doo Trick or Treat!, Velma's sexuality was established with the introduction of a female love interest in "big bad" Coco Diablo. With the streaming series set to tell the origin story of the unsung & underappreciated brains of the group, Kaling and EP Charlie Grandy have shared their thoughts on the issues of sexuality and race, as well as other factors that will be in play during the "Scooby-Doo" prequel series- here's a look:

velma
Image: HBO Max Screencap

Kaling Teases More "Velma" Sexual Tension Than Viewers Might Expect: "I don't want to give any spoilers away but a lot of the characters have sexual tension with Velma, which is fun. The journey of self-discovery for her is something that really drew us to this story and this character. So we want to honor other interpretations of what we think feels really modern."

Grandy on Tackling Social Issues "With a Really Light Touch": "We do not tackle big issues of race. We do not tackle big issues of gender identity. I think this was a lot of just us deciding, 'OK, we have this really aggressive mystery, and we want to kind of service this. How can we do all this stuff?'"

Kaling on Seeing Herself in Velma: "I always, growing up, identified with Velma. She was so cute but not traditionally hot – [she was] super-smart [with] super-thick glasses, a questionable haircut. I think most Asian American girls may see this skeptical, hardworking, and underappreciated character, and they can identify with her."

Grandy on Not Being Defined by Canon: "I watched the original and there's some canon, but they've reinvented it. So it's not like you're doing Batman. That gave us a little bit of freedom. And I think everyone has that feeling of 'I'm the one doing all the work. I'm the smart one, but I'm not in the front seat. Fred and Daphne are in the front seat. I'm in the back seat with Shaggy and the dog.' It's not only aspirational. It's relatable."

Grandy on How the "Scooby Gang" & Comedy Combine to Make Velma a "Great Character" to Spotlight: "From a comedy standpoint, it's such a great character. Velma is the smartest person in the room, but no matter what gets no credit. So what would it be like to do an origin story of that person when they were still pretty rough around the edges, before everyone in this gang was getting on… when they could still be wrong from time to time and could be a little bit flawed?"

Joining Kaling in the main voice cast is Sam Richardson as Shaggy, Constance Wu as Daphne, and Glenn Howerton as Fred. In addition, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Russell Peters, Melissa Fumero, Stephen Root, Gary Cole, Ming-Na Wen, Ken Leung, Cherry Jones, Frank Welker, Fortune Feimster, Yvonne Orji, Sarayu Blue, Nicole Byer, Shay Mitchell, Debby Ryan, Kulap Vilaysak, and Karl-Anthony Towns will also lend their voices. Kaling and showrunner Charlie Grandy will executive produce alongside Howard Klein and Sam Register.

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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