Scooby-Doo, where are you? Not in the upcoming Velma series in the works at HBO Max, apparently. Back in February, it was reported that The Office alum Mindy Kaling was teaming up with the WarnerMedia-backed streamer to develop an animated series about Mystery Inc. crime solver Velma Dinkley. It was described as an "adult-focused" origin story for the popular Scooby-Doo character, and it was also revealed Kaling would be voicing Velma in addition to executive producing.
At the TV Kids Summer Festival, Warner Bros. President of Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics, Tom Ascheim, shed some more light on the Velma series. He confirmed that the animated series is intended for more mature audiences and revealed that the show will reimagine Velma as a character of East Asian descent. Ascheim then dropped the bombshell that "there's no dog" in the series, suggesting that this reboot won't include Scooby-Doo as a character, for better or for worse.
"We have a not for children, Mindy Kaling project called Velma because she was excited to reimagine what Scooby-Doo would be like if Velma were of East Asian descent and lived in a different world. And in that version, which is going on HBO Max first, there's no dog and no van but we have our four key characters through a different lens and I think it's great. Allowing our creators to play with our IP is super powerful."
Ascheim's comments do suggest that Velma's human pals - Daphne Blake, Fred Jones, and Shaggy Rogers - will be a part of the series. It isn't clear if there will be any particular changes made to those characters. In the spirit of the Velma character, it seems probable the show will include some elements of mystery solving, but with perhaps more of an adult edge compared to the typically family-friendly incarnations of the franchise. Either way, it will seem odd to follow the Mystery, Inc. gang without Scooby-Doo or even just the van.
This doesn't mean Scooby-Doo is necessarily going anywhere. Our favorite cartoon dog is here to stay as well. After many different versions of television shows over the years, Scoob has recently been starring in his latest show, Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, which teams up Mystery, Inc. with various special celebrity guests. Last year, a different iteration of Scooby and the gang starred in the new movie Scoob!, another reboot of the long-running franchise.
The CW is getting in on the fun with Scooby-Doo as well. It was recently announced that the network was developing a holiday special called The Scooby-Doo Reunion Special with plans to release it on TV this year. Featuring Scooby, Velma, and the others breaking character and speaking about their experiences making Scooby-Doo cartoons, the special serves as a spoof of the many cast reunions that have become popular over the past year.
There isn't a release date yet attached for Velma. Meanwhile, HBO Max has several other animated projects in the works, such as new incarnations of Gremlins and The Boondocks. A third season of Harley Quinn is also in development. This news comes to us from The Mary Sue.