WarnerMedia has revealed a number of new details regarding actress Mindy Kaling’s upcoming adult-oriented Scooby-Doo animated comedy, including its focus on a race-swapped “East Asian” version of Velma Dinkley and complete lack of both the Mystery Machine and the franchise’s eponymous Great Dane.
These new pieces of information first came to public attention during Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics President Tom Ascheim’s June 8th Keynote presentation for the TV Kids Summer Festival, a virtual event “focused on the major challenges and opportunities at play in the children’s media business today.”
When asked by panel host and TV Kids Group Editorial Director Anna Carugati about “how [he had] been finding and nurturing talent,” Ascheim asserted that “it’s always the most important thing we do no matter what generation we are in this business” before proceeding to present Kaling’s Scooby-Doo series as an example of how his studio had pursued said talent development.
“We have a not-for-children Mindy Kaling project called Velma because she was excited to reimagine what Scooby-Doo would be like if Velma were of East-Asian descent and lived in a different world,” said Ascheim.
“And that version which is going on HBO Max first, there’s no dog and there’s no van, but we have our four key characters through a different lens.” He continued. “So allowing our creators to play with our [IPs] is super powerful.”
Interestingly, this is not the first time Velma has not only been race-swapped, but race-swapped to be of Asian descent.
In the live-action universe of Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and its sequel Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster, Velma was portrayed by half-Japanese actress Hayley Kiyoko, a role which also established Kiyoko as the first non-white actor to portray a member of Mystery Inc.
First announced as in development on February 10th, the series will reportedly serve as a ‘prequel’ to the Scooby-Doo story, with Kaling acting as both the series’ writer and as the titular bespectacled detective’s voice actress.
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