Of all the properties in the Hannah-Barbera library, the Scooby-Doo franchise is not only the most popular and well-known, but it’s also become one of the animation legend’s most timeless. Since the original series premiered in 1969, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Incorporated gang have seen numerous iterations, with several shows, games, movies, and more released over time, each adding a different spin on the cast and offering a new mystery to solve. Though Mystery Inc. typically keeps things family-friendly, dealing with people dressed as monsters, there is the off occasion where things get a bit more mature for younger audiences, such as when the gang went toe to toe with real zombies in the surprisingly dark (and fantastic) Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998).
The Scooby-Doo franchise almost did go even darker when Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn pitched an R-rated adventure for Scoob and the gang. An idea that was ahead of its time, but ultimately was passed on by Warner Bros., and Gunn’s script was tweaked for wider audiences and instead turned into the 2002 Scooby-Doo film, which then bred a subsequent sequel two years later with Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004). Ever since Gunn’s original concept for the project was revealed, older Scooby fans have been interested to see what a more adult-oriented version of the characters could be like, and it looks like we’re finally getting that with Mindy Kaling‘s Velma (2023).
This new version, as the title implies, will focus on the legendary brains of the series, Velma Dinkley, voiced by Kaling herself. Though plot details on this bold animated reinvention are slim, Kaling will be bringing with her a star-studded cast, some of whom will be playing some familiar faces that fans will no doubt recognize. Before Velma hits screens next year, here is everything we know so far about the mysterious mystery series.
Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on December 25 with the release date.
The debut trailer for Velma features a tone and animation style that seems remarkably similar to that of HBO Max’s Harley Quinn (2019-2022), complete with some on-the-nose meta humor.
The trailer begins with Velma contacting HBO Max directly in regard to an announcement that the streamer would be making a spin-off series of The Jetsons (1962-1963) following Judy Jetson. In what’s an obvious jab at internet outrage culture for beloved IPs, Velma expresses her criticism with extreme disdain, until she gets a mysterious phone call. In a clear homage to Scream (1996), the call is from a serial killer inside Velma’s house, and the teaser ends with Velma screaming and blood splatter on her window (though it’s unlikely that the star of the show would have died in the trailer).
If one were to look closely at the trailer, one may notice some Easter Eggs referencing the rest of the Scooby gang. This includes an ad on the television showcasing “Jones Gentlemen Accessories” including blue clothing like Mystery Inc. leader Fred Jones’s (Glenn Howerton) iconic mascot. Velma’s room also contains a picture of her and what appears to be Daphne (Constance Wu), though the redhead’s eyes are crossed out with a red x on each of them, and the wall also features a missing person’s poster of a family member named Diya Dinkley. Finally, the trailer ends with a final shot of Velma’s mailbox with cryptic words etched into it reading “What is Scoobi??”
When and Where Is Velma Releasing?
No specific date was given in the reveal trailer for Velma, but the teaser did confirm that Velma is still planned to hit streaming sometime in 2023. We now have confirmation that Velma will arrive on January 12, 2023. The HBO Max jab in the trailer wasn’t just a funny bit, as Velma is clearly willing to make fun of itself a little as the show will be an HBO Max exclusive, showing that Warner Brothers Discovery still has some faith in the franchise after canceling the sequel to Scoob! (2022).
What Is the Plot of Velma?
The official poster and plot synopsis for Velma confirms that the series will take place in a time before Velma joined Mystery Incorporated, reading as follows:
VELMA is an adult animated comedy series telling the origin story of Velma Dinkley, the unsung and under appreciated brains of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. gang. This original and humorous spin unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America’s most beloved mystery solvers.
Obviously, a genuine serial killer being involved means that this story will be far darker with higher, bloodier stakes involved, but it will still have a heavy emphasis on solving a mystery, likely having something to do with Velma’s family member Diya that we mentioned earlier.
Who Is Making Velma?
Surprisingly, details on the creative team making Velma haven’t been fully credited and revealed just yet. Basically, all we know is who is the executive producing the project, which includes Mindy Kaling herself, as well as her collaborators on The Office (2005-2013) Charlie Grandy and Howard Klein, and Primal (2019-2022) producer Sam Register.
We’ve known since the show’s announcement that Mindy Kaling, who has already become a force in the world of comedy with The Office and The Mindy Project would be voicing Velma Dinkley, but we also learned who will be voicing the rest of the gang that will ultimately become Mystery Incorporated. These include Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as Fred, Constance Wu (Fresh off the Boat) as Daphne, and Sam Richardson (Hocus Pocus 2) as Norville (aka Shaggy). Veteran voice actor Frank Welker (Mortal Kombat), who has been a part of the Scooby-Doo franchise since the beginning of the original series as Fred and then eventually Scooby himself, is also returning, presumably as the gang’s canine mascot once again.
The show is also boasting an impressive cast of supporting characters, consisting of Ming-Na Wen (Mulan), Gary Cole (Bob’s Burgers), Debbie Ryan (Jessie), Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Stephen Root (Barry), Ken Leung (Old), Jane Lynch (Glee), Cherry Jones (Succession), Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars), ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (Milo Murphy’s Law), Sarayu Blue (The Unicorn), Nicole Byer (Grand Crew), Wanda Sykes (Harley Quinn), Fortune Feimster (Office Christmas Party), Yvonne Orji (Insecure), Russell Peters (Source Code), Kulap Vilaysack (Bajillion Dollar Propertie$), Minnesota Timberwolves basketball star Karl-Anthony Towns (What Men Want), and Cameron Hales (My Virtual Escape).
Is Velma Getting a Season 2?
A second season has not yet been confirmed, so we’ll have to wait and see what Velma has in store for audiences when it premieres later next year.