Mindy Kaling revealed the first look at her new adult animated re-imagining of Scooby-Doo, Velma. The first look at Velma came with the Warner Bros. TV upfronts this week, and as you can see below, Kaling is ging with a very different kind of Scooby-Doo lore! The photo image shows Velma discovering a women's corpse with the skull lopped off and brain removed, on the floor of a girls locker room where several female characters (including Daphne?) are in states of undress.
Some of the biggest buzz around Velma has been the fact that Kaling is making the titular a woman of color in this version. The writer/actress/producer/comedienne was unabashed in her defense of that decision: "Hopefully you noticed my Velma is South Asian. If people freak out about that, I don't care." She also added that if Scooby-Doo had a talking dog that could solve crimes, then her Velma "can be brown."
When Kaling appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers last year, she addressed the social media backlash to her new vision of Velma, head-on:
"When it was announced that I was going to do the voice of Velma, people were very supportive and happy on Twitter," Kaling told Meyers. "So I felt great because these are really intense fans—cartoon, comic book fans. And especially [for] a legacy show like this… People were not happy. There was a lot of, 'So, not Velma?' Those kind of tweets. 'Not the classic Velma that I'm always thinking about?'
First of all, I didn't know that she elicited such strong reactions in either direction," she added. "I just couldn't understand how people couldn't imagine a really smart, nerdy girl with terrible eyesight who loved to solve mysteries could not be Indian. There are Indian nerds. It shouldn't be a surprise to people, but people are like, 'No, no, no.' But it made me think, 'OK, we've got to be really careful with this character,' which we will be because we love her."
For the record, while Linda Cardellini (Hawkeye) played Velma in the famous live-action Scooby-Doo movies, actress Hayley Kiyoko (who is part Japanese) played Velma in the Scooby-Doo TV movies The Mystery Begins (2009) and Curse of the Lake Monster (2010). So technically, having an Asian Velma in a Scooby-Doo live-action project has already been done, and it didn't seem to hurt anyone.
Velma will stream on HBO Max.