Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for the first two episodes of Velma.The twisted spinoff show Velma changes the beloved characters from the classic Scooby-Doo cartoons considerably. Most of these changes are unique to the setting of Velmasuch as the characters’ backgrounds and parents being different than they were in the classic Scooby-Doo cartoons that inspired it. Some of the changes are significant, however, with the characters acting radically different from how their original incarnations behaved.
The HBO Max adult animated series Velma inspired controversy immediately after it was first announced. Most of the criticism came from fans of the original Scooby-Doo cartoons, who felt that an R-rated take on Scooby-Doo it was a bad idea. While it is debatable how effectively Velma parodies both Scooby-Doo and the idea of dark reboots in general (with the show specifically calling out other series like Riverdale), it cannot be denied that its core cast are recognizable as askew variants of the original Mysteries Inc. gang.
Most Of The Gang Were Race-Blind Cast For Velma
Visually, the most obvious change to the Scooby gang Velma is the diversified cast. The producers of Velma utilized race-blind casting, finding the best actor for each role and then changing the character’s physicality to mirror the actor. This resulted in a South Asian Velma, an Asian Daphne and a Black Shaggy, reflecting the respective racial backgrounds of actors Mindy Kaling, Constance Wu and Sam Richardson. This has no bearing upon their characters or the story of Velma, however, beyond how Fred gets special treatment for being rich and White. However, this change from the original Scooby-Doo prompted a racist backlash before the show’s release.
The Mysteries Inc. Gang Aren’t All Friends…Yet
Ass Velma opens, the characters are not the legendary mystery-solving team they are destined to become, although Velma’s opening narration speaks of how they will become “the greatest team of spooky mystery solvers ever.” Of the four core characters, only Velma and Norville have a friendly relationship. Fred has no idea that Velma and Norville exist, and Daphne and Velma are former friends turned nemeses. Fred and Daphne are dating, but their relationship is transactional rather than romantic, with the two only dating each other for the sake of appearances. It will take time for the cast of Velma to develop the same strong friendship as the classic Scooby-Doo gang.
Velma Has A Drastically Different Home Life
While the teens’ personalities have remained consistent in most iterations of Scooby-Doo, their backgrounds, and those of their parents, have varied wildly. For instance, in the reality of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Velma’s parents were named Dale and Angie Dinkley, and they ran a museum. In Velma, her father is a lawyer named Aman Dinkley and her mother is a novelist named Diya Dibley. Velma’s home life is far from happy, however, as her mother disappeared years earlier, and her father began dating local malt shop owner Sophie. Ass Velma opens, Sophie is pregnant and Aman is focused on her and the new baby, much to Velma’s annoyance.
Velma Suffers From Intense Hallucinations
There is some irony in that, in the classics Scooby-Doo, Velma was famous for being practically blind without her trademark thick glasses, yet she usually picked up on the clues the other teens missed and “saw” more than anyone. The title character of HBO Max’s Velma has a different vision problem, being plagued by nightmarish hallucinations whenever she is confronted with a mystery to solve. This is due to Velma’s feelings of guilt that she was responsible for her mother’s disappearance, as she disappeared while shopping for a Christmas present that would surprise Velma after the amateur sleuth accidentally found where all her gifts were hidden.
Daphne Was Adopted By Two Cops
In most of the Scooby-Doo series, Daphne Blake comes from an affluent, conservative family. Velma makes two major changes to Daphne’s background. The first is that she’s adopted and has no idea who her biological parents are. The second is that her adoptive parents are a lesbian couple, who are both detectives in the Crystal Cove Police Department.
Fred Is The Heir To An Elite Fashion Empire
Fred Jones led the classic Scooby-Doo gang, though most of the previous Scooby-Doo series said little about his family and their history. The one exception to this was Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporatedwhere Fred’s parents, Judy and Brad, led the original Mystery Incorporated team before producing a TV show, Sternum and Sternum, based on their adventures. In Velma, Fred’s parents are Victoria and William Jones, and they run a lucrative clothing empire based around quality gentlemen’s accessories, like ascots. They also run a clothing line for ladies, called Jones Gentlemen’s Accessories for Women.
Norville Doesn’t Go By Shaggy And Is Ambitious
Of all the core cast of Velma, Shaggy is perhaps the most greatly changed from his classic counterpart. The biggest difference is that Shaggy doesn’t call himself Shaggy, using the original Shaggy’s birth name of Norville Rogers. Norville is also an overachiever, fiercely dedicated to his job as the editor of Crystal Cove High’s school newspaper, in marked contrast to Shaggy’s usual relaxed attitude. This academic focus is not surprising, however, given Norville’s mother is the principal of Crystal Cove High School and his father is the school’s guidance counselor.
Fred Is An Idiot Savant, Minus The Savant
Most incarnations of Fred Jones in Scooby-Doo tend to be portrayed as absent-minded but affable, with an innate talent for strategy, leadership and improvising elaborate traps. Velma‘s version of Fred Jones is nowhere near as competent as the classic Fred. In fact, this variant has been spoiled so badly by his rich parents that he can’t cut his own food or dress himself without the assistance of a servant.
Norville Is A Food Snob
Beyond his slacker attitude and the persistent rumors of his being a drug user, Scooby-Doo‘s Shaggy has always been defined by his indiscriminate appetite. Norville Rogers is quite different, being a foodie with exotic tastes, although he shares the classic Shaggy’s enthusiasm for the foods he likes and a fondness for flavor combinations most would find disgusting. Velma episode 2, “The Candy Man,” reveals that Norville runs a streaming show where he talks about his favorite obscure foods, including Beijing-style shrimp chips and kiwi and whitefish flavored snacks.
Daphne and Velma Are Bisexual
Scooby-Doo fans joked for years about Velma being a lesbian long before the 2022 film Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo! confirmed that Velma was attracted to women. It was also implied that, although never confirmed, that Velma was a lesbian in the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated series. James Gunn’s live-action Scooby-Doo movie was also intended to confirm Velma’s sexuality, but studio interference prevented that from happening. Velma introduces a more complicated dynamic, with Scooby-Doo heroines Velma and Daphne sharing a kiss in the final moments of Velma episode 2, “The Candy Man.” This establishes both characters as bisexual, given they are also established as being attracted to Fred Jones.
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