The “Scooby-Doo” universe is about to come back in a big way, but don’t expect Scooby-Doo to be involved. “Velma,” a new adult animated series that features Mindy Kaling as the voice of the titular character, promises to satisfy longtime fans of the cartoon series who want to pair their nostalgia with a more mature sense of humor. It features adult versions of the crew from the mystery machine, but in order to ensure that Velma is front and center, Scooby himself won’t be making any appearances.
Appearing on a panel for the show at New York Comic-Con (via Insider), showrunner Charlie Grandy explained that the decision to omit Scooby-Doo from the series was an attempt to differentiate the adult show from the family friendly property that inspired it.
“When we were going into the show and thinking about adapting it, we wanted to be respectful,” Grandy said. “We didn’t want to just kind of take these beloved characters and put them in outrageous or gross situations and say, ‘Isn’t it crazy you did that to Velma?'”
While they considered finding ways to add Scooby-Doo to the show, the creative team just couldn’t find a way to balance the two sensibilities.
“We couldn’t get a take on it that was like, ‘How do we kind of do this in a fun, modern way?'” he said. “That felt like what made it a kid show was, Scooby-Doo.”
Grandy also made it clear that even though Scooby-Doo won’t show his face, the new series still exists in the same universe as the iconic mystery-solving canine.
“I think it’s nice to kind of allude to dogs in the world,” he said. “It’s fun and let’s just kinda leave it that.”
The more adult subject matter in “Velma” is likely to please James Gunn, who attempted to write an R-rated live action “Scooby Doo” movie in 2002 before studio interference ultimately led to the script being watered down into a family friendly film.
“The first Scooby-Doo was originally intended (by me, the producers & the director, Raja Gosnell) to be PG-13, but we never got a PG-13 rating,” Gunn recently wrote on Twitter. “The first rating from the MPAA was R, & then a bunch of stuff was changed, & that cut ended up being rated PG.”
“Velma” is set to begin streaming on HBO Max in 2023.