ICYMI, the animated spin-off focussing on Scooby-Doo’s Velma is going to be out in January and will feature the brains of the Mystery Inc. gang as a person of South Asian descent.
Indian-American actress Mindy Kaling will be voicing the titular character and will also be acting as an executive producer on the series.
According to Kaling, the series will be “modern and adult-oriented” and tells us the origin story of Velma and the Mystery Inc. gang.
In the show, Velma (Kaling) discovers a corpse in her high school and teams up with Daphne (Constance Wu), Shaggy (Sam Richardson), and Fred (Glenn Howerton) to solve the murder.
During the last New York Comic-Con, Kaling had confirmed that the iconic Great Dane Scooby Doo would not be making an appearance in the spin-off.
The fact that Velma will not be white in the show has, predictably, invited flak on the Internet. Kaling addressed the backlash at the Comic-Con panel, saying, “I think of the characters in this as so iconic, but in no way is the gang defined by their whiteness, except for Fred. So, I was a little bit surprised and I think most Indian-American girls when they see this sceptical, hardworking, kind of underappreciated character, can identify with her.”
She elaborated on her bafflement with the Internet’s reaction to the news during an appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, saying, “First of all, I didn’t know that she elicited such strong reactions in either direction. She’s such a great character, she’s so smart and 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.”
Back in October, it was revealed that Velma is a part of the LGBTQ+ community after a clip of her being stunned while looking at a beautiful new female character while blushing was released online. The makers, and voice actor for the character, confirmed the news, much to the joy of fans around the world.
I remember booking Velma in 2008. It was my first big role in a movie. I also remember thinking ‘I wonder if they know they hired a lesbian as Velma’ here we are, 14 years later……😂 love you all so much— Hayley Kiyoko (@HayleyKiyoko) October 4, 2022
The news even got Google to make it so that when you typed ‘Velma’ in the search engine and hit enter, a flurry of progress pride, lesbian flags and confetti fell down the page.
While we don’t know whether Velma’s sexual orientation would be addressed in the show, Kaling has admitted that the series would deal with a lot of “unresolved sexual tension with a lot of characters”. On the NYCC panel, she said, “This journey of self-discovery for her is something that really drew us to this project and this character. So we want to honour other interpretations and what we think feels really modern.”
Other voice cast members include Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovich, Russell Peters, Melissa Fumero, Fortune Feimster, Sarayu Blue, Nicole Byer, and Shay Mitchell.
The series will premiere on January 12, 2023.