‘Velma’: Mindy Kaling Says “These Characters Are So Iconic But They Weren’t Defined By Their Whiteness’

While promoting HBO Max’s Velma at New York Comic Con Thursday, star and EP Mindy Kaling admitted that she was surprised by the social media reaction to her decision to make the beloved character a South Asian girl.

“I think of the characters in this are iconic but in no way …are they defined by their whiteness,” Kaling told the crowd. “Most Indian American [women], when they see skeptical, hardworking under-appreciated characters, they can identify with her. The vast majority are ready for it. This show is for them.”

“Growing up I identified with Velma,” continued Kaling. “She was so cute but not traditionally hot .. with a questionable haircut. I feel so honored I get to do the voice … she’s a truth teller, cutting through the bullshit of life. When you are smart and under-appreciated. I hope people appreciate that.”

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Velma will tell the origin story of the Scooby-Doo crew, with all the players — including Daphne (Constance Wu), Shaggy (Sam Richardson) and Fred (Glenn Howerton) as teenage students. The show will also follow their dating lives.

“This is a journey of self discovery for her, which drew us to this character,” said Kaling of Velma, who is LGBTQ.

“It’s a high school show with the events and the dances in addition to it being a murder mystery,” continues Kaling. “Obviously, Daphne and Fred are popular while Velma is an outsider. Seeing them come together is the fun about the show.”

But don’t expect to find a goofy dog hanging out with the kids. This reimagination of the old animated comedy will not include an actual Scooby-Doo. “We couldn’t get a take on it,” said showrunner Charlie Grandy. “How do we do it in a fun modern way? What made it a kid show is Scooby Doo. This coincided with Warners telling us we couldn’t use the dog. So it’s nice to allude to dogs in the world, and leave it at that.”

Other actors who will show up for guest spots in Velma include Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Russell Peters, Melissa Fumero, Stephen Root, Gary Cole, Ken Leung, Cherry Jones, Frank Welker, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Fortune Feimster, Yvonne Orji, Sarayu Blue, Nicole Byer, Ming-Na Wen, Shay Mitchell, Debby Ryan, Kulap Vilaysak, and Karl-Anthony Towns.

Grandy serves also serves as an executive producer of Velma alongside Kaling, Howard Klein, and Sam Register. 

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