A latest movie has put to rest a long time of fan speculation and suggestions from previous stewards of the “Scooby-Doo” franchise by confirming that Velma Dinkley, the cerebral mystery solver with the ever-present orange turtleneck, is canonically a lesbian.
To many fans who had long presumed as much and treated her as a lesbian icon, it was not a shocking revelation. But her appearance in “Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo!,” which was released on Tuesday on several digital services, was the primary time the long-running franchise openly acknowledged her sexuality, thrilling some fans who were disenchanted that it took so long.
“Scooby-Doo,” created by Hanna-Barbera Productions, first appeared as a Saturday morning cartoon in 1969, and has been regularly reinvented in TV shows, movies and comics. It generally follows a bunch of teenage sleuths, consisting of Velma, Daphne Blake, Fred Jones and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, together with their mischievous Great Dane, Scooby-Doo.
Previous “Scooby-Doo” writers and producers have said that Velma was a lesbian, but said pushback by studios wouldn’t allow them to depict her as one on screen. The brand new movie, which was directed by Audie Harrison, leaves little doubt as to her sexuality.
In one scene of the most recent iteration, a blushing Velma, voiced by Kate Micucci, is smitten on the sight of a latest character, Coco Diablo, who mirrored Velma’s fashion sense together with her own turtleneck and oversize glasses. In a later scene, she denies Coco is her type before admitting: “I’m crushing big time, Daphne. What do I do? What do I say?”
It was the sort of overt reference to her sexuality that had did not make it into final cuts before.
Responding to a fan on Twitter, James Gunn, who wrote the screenplay for “Scooby-Doo,” a 2002 live-action film, wrote in 2020 that “Velma was explicitly gay in my initial script.”
“However 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),” he wrote within the tweet, which was reported widely on the time and has since been deleted.
That very same yr, Tony Cervone, the co-creator of “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated,” a 2010 series on Cartoon Network, posted a picture on Instagram of Velma standing in front of a Pride flag.
“We made our intentions as clear as we could ten years ago,” Mr. Cervone wrote. “Most of our fans got it. To those who didn’t, I suggest you look closer.”
In response to a fan, he said specifically that “Velma in Mystery Incorporated is just not bi. She’s gay,” in keeping with a screenshot saved by Out Magazine.
While many of the gang has had many romantic interests, notably between Fred and Daphne, Velma “has never really had a most important love interest,” said Matthew Lippe, a 22-year-old marketing student who runs the Scooby Doo History account on Twitter.
She had occasional flirtations and temporary relationships, notably with Johnny Bravo in a ’90s cartoon crossover, but her romantic feelings were rarely as central to the story as other characters, Mr. Lippe said. When she dated Shaggy in “Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated,” he said, “it’s something that doesn’t feel natural for each of them.”
More recently, the shows and flicks have increasingly hinted at her interest in women, so “it’s not something that’s coming out of the blue,” he said. He said Velma is a fan favorite because she speaks to a standard struggle: She’s the smart, awkward one who often leads the gang in the correct direction but doesn’t get as much credit because the others.
“A variety of young women, and quite a lot of people typically, could just look to her as an incredible example and role model to look up toward,” he said.
One other change to Velma’s character is coming soon. In 2021, HBO Max ordered a by-product adult animation series called “Velma.” Mindy Kaling will voice the character, who might be South Asian within the show.
“No one ever complained a couple of talking dog solving mysteries,” Ms. Kaling told a crowd in May at a Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront presentation, which offered a primary have a look at the show, expected later this yr. “So I don’t think they’ll be upset over a brown Velma.”
Warner Bros., which owns the “Scooby-Doo” franchise, declined to comment.
The rise of lesbian characters on television was a slow process, marked often by gimmicks and blatant plays for rankings. It often got here in the shape of “lesbian kiss episodes,” written largely to titillate slightly than to explore real relationships.
In recent a long time, lesbian relationships on television have turn out to be more complex, even when the tropes aren’t entirely gone.