Although today James Gunn is best known as the creative force behind the MCU's hugely popular Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, he is also responsible for writing the screenplay for the 2002 live-action Scooby Doo film. While that movie was not a huge success upon release, it has since come to be regarded as something of a cult classic. Recently, a fan asked Gunn on Twitter if he ever considered leaning into the 'Velma Dinkely is gay' fan theories while writing the script, and the filmmaker responded firmly in the affirmative.

"I tried! In 2001 Velma was explicitly gay in my initial script. But the studio just kept watering it down & watering it down, becoming ambiguous (the version shot), then nothing (the released version) & finally having a boyfriend (the sequel)."
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Velma is the brains of the Mystery, Inc. gang that comprises of the lead characters of the Scooby-Doo franchise, based on the classic Hanna-Barbera animated television show. While the earliest cartoons did not carry too many hints as to romance or sexual tension between characters since they were aimed at children, the live-action film explicitly set Fred and Daphne up as a couple. Even Shaggy found a love interest, while Velma was shunted off to the side.

Velma's lack of a romantic partner now makes sense, if she was intended to be a gay character before the studio got cold feet. In the past, James Gunn had explained the long battle that was fought to make his script for Scooby-Doo into something more family-friendly.

"The movie was originally meant to be PG-13 and was cut down to PG after like 3 parents were outraged at a test screening in Sacramento. The studio decided to go a more family-friendly route. Language and jokes and sexual situations were removed, including a kiss between Daphne and Velma. Cleavage was CGI'd over. But, thankfully, the farting remained. I thought at the time the rating change was a mistake. I felt like a lot of teens came out for the first film and didn't get what they wanted (and didn't come back for the sequel). But today I don't know. So many young kids loved those movies, which is pretty cool."

In case fans think Gunn is trying to pull a J.K. Rowling, in retroactively announcing a character is gay, as happened with Albus Dumbledore, there is an interview that Scooby-Doo lead Sarah Michelle Gellar gave back in 2002 that mentioned a kiss between her and Velma which was cut from the movie.

"It wasn't just, like, for fun. Initially in the soul-swapping scene Velma and Daphne couldn't seem to get their souls back together in the woods. And so the way they found was to kiss and the souls went back into proper alignment."

So expect a campaign to start up soon demanding the #GunnCut of Scooby-Doo featuring a fully out and proud Velma Dinkley, presumably fighting with Fred for Daphne's affections.

Neeraj Chand