Mindy Kaling shocked by backlash to South Asian ‘Scooby-Doo’ spinoff


Zoinks! Mindy Kaling quickly uncovered who was causing her trouble.

In February, HBO Max announced plans for a “Scooby-Doo” spinoff series titled “Velma,” an adult animated comedy detailing the character’s origin story.

At the time, the streaming service revealed that executive producer Mindy Kaling also would be the voice of Velma. While the casting garnered a lot of excitement, there were also haters — and criticism intensified in June when HBO Max revealed Velma would be reimagined as South Asian.

On “Late Night With Seth Meyers” Thursday, Kaling addressed the uproar over the character getting a reimagined look.

“It was announced about a month ago that the Velma character would be reimagined as South Asian. And people were not happy,” said Kaling, 42.

Mindy Kaling will bring a new perspective to Velma (inset), the classic "Scooby-Doo" character, in a spinoff HBO Max series.
Mindy Kaling will bring a new perspective to Velma Dinkley (inset), the classic “Scooby-Doo” character, in a spinoff HBO Max series.
Lloyd Bishop/NBC

Mindy said that the initial reaction to her involvement was positive overall. “When it was announced that I was going to do the voice of Velma, people were very supportive and happy on Twitter, and so I felt great,” she said.

But Kaling explained that, with a beloved show such as “Scooby-Doo,” there are typically very dedicated fans who are wary of prequels of classic shows.

“These are really intense fans, you know? Like cartoon, comic book — those are huge fans,” Mindy continued, acknowledging the ‘toon’s significance. “And especially a legacy show.”

Original "Scooby-Doo" cartoon characters Velma, Shaggy, Fred, Scooby and Daphne.
Original “Scooby-Doo” cartoon characters (from left) Velma, Shaggy, Fred, Scooby and Daphne.
©Warner Bros/courtesy Everett C

Fans weighed in about how this reimagined Velma was not what they pictured, Kaling recalled. “There was a lot of ‘So not Velma’ . . . ‘Not the classic Velma that I’m always thinking about,’ ” she said.

But Kaling offered a defense of the reimagining.

“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, and who loved to solve mysteries, could be Indian.

“Like, there are Indian nerds. It shouldn’t be a surprise to people,” Kaling joked.

Mindy Kaling on "Late Night with Seth Meyers," on Thursday.
Mindy Kaling on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” on Thursday.
Lloyd Bishop/NBC

The actress noted how the upset fans were just “a small percentage of people,” but the outcry over the announcement did cause her to reflect on how the show will depict the character.

“It really made me think, ‘OK, we’ve got to be really careful with this character,’ ” she acknowledged, adding, “Which we will be, because we really love her.”

The upcoming project will be “an original and humorous spin that unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America’s most beloved mystery solvers,” according to a WarnerMedia press release.

The 2020 film reboot "SCOOB!" featured Velma, as voiced by Gina Rodriguez ("Carmen Sandiego," "Jane the Virgin").
The 2020 film reboot “Scoob!” featured Velma, as voiced by Gina Rodriguez (“Carmen Sandiego,” “Jane the Virgin”).
©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett C

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