Mindy Kaling & ‘Velma’ Cast Talk M.I.A. Scooby-Doo & ‘Modern’ Changes at NYCC 2022 Panel

Mindy Kaling as Velma
Getty Images; HBO Max

HBO Max‘s upcoming animated series Velma made its New York Comic Con 2022 debut with its very own panel on Thursday, October 6, where audiences got a sneak peek at the first episode and its newly announced cast. Executive producer Mindy Kaling will voice the titular character, and it was announced that Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Sam Richardson (The Afterparty), and Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat) will lend their vocals as Fred, Shaggy, and Daphne, respectively, in the adult series.

During the panel, hosted by TV Guide Magazine’s Damian Holbrook, the voice actors of The Gang took the Main Stage (save for Howerton and Richardson, who Zoomed in) alongside showrunner Charlie Grandy and answered several questions that revealed what we can expect from the 10-episode serialized series coming in 2023.

Why exec producer Mindy Kaling is voicing the titular Velma

“I mean, I just couldn’t resist it. You know, I just think she will. First of all, let’s be honest, I sound like a 15-year-old girl from like Encino. So I thought that I could. I thought it’d be fun. And I thought I could bring something to the character that we haven’t seen. It’s so many amazing actresses [who] have played on them before. And I just, you know, I just felt honored to be in their footsteps and do like our version of it.”

Preparing for online reaction to a non-white actress in the role

Kaling said, “You know, I’m always constantly surprised by reactions to everything on social media, but it’s kind of like what I said before. I think of the characters as so iconic, but nowhere is The Gang defined by their whiteness, except for Fred. So I was a little bit surprised. I think most Indian American girls, when they see, you know, this skeptical, hardworking kind of underappreciated character that they can identify with her. We have a Spider-Verse, we have these characterizations of beloved characters that are unconventional. And I think the vast majority of people are excited and ready for it, and the show is for them.”

The story behind how The Gang became friends

Shared Kaling, “One thing that I love about some of the other shows I’ve worked on is how people from different social strata, like in social hierarchies in high school, find something in common. And that’s the other thing about the show. It’s a high school show. So we get to see all the high school events and dances in addition to it being a murder mystery. Daphne and Fred are popular. And Velma is more of an outsider. And so seeing them all come together is what’s the most fun about the show and why I like other serialized shows. I also always love shows like The X-Files, where there’s an overarching mystery throughout to keep us satiated. And I think that’s what’s good about this show, too.”

Will we see sexual tension between Velma and Daphne?

“Again, we don’t want to give away any spoilers,” said showrunner Charlie Grandy.

“This journey of self-discovery for her is something that really drew us to this project [and] into this character, so we want to honor other interpretations and what we think feels really modern…[that’s] as vague as I can be,” Kaling responded.

Why no Scooby-Doo?

Said Grandy, “When we were going into the show and adapting it, we wanted to be respectful, we didn’t just want to take these beloved characters and put them in outrageous or gross situations. So when we were thinking about what made [Scooby-Doo] a kid’s show and this an adult show, the dog, we couldn’t get a take on it, that was like, ‘how can we do this in a new, modern way?’ What made it a kid’s show was really Scooby, which coincided with Warner Bros. Animation saying, ‘you can’t use the dog.’ [Laughs] But I was always interested, I think it’s kind of cool to allude to dogs being out there, and that’s kind of what we did here.”

Velma, Series Premiere, 2023, HBO Max