The Scooby Gang Returns: Matthew Lillard Previews Boomerang's Be Cool Scooby-Doo! (VIDEO)
Zoinks! Mystery Inc. is back on the case with the 12th incarnation of the Scooby-Doo franchise, Be Cool Scooby-Doo!, premiering Monday, Oct. 5 at 7/6c on Cartoon Network (and replaying at 8:30/7:30c, on Boomerang). "Meddling kids" Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo have been unmasking baddies since 1969—and this time is no different. Well, it's a little different. While they're still decked out in the same psychedelic garments of days gone by, the animation is more on par with the most recent versions and these kids can really make a room laugh.
In the premiere, the gang goes to Elias Kingston College (where Velma is a shoe-in), to find that it's haunted by the ghost of the man the school is named for, a ghost that also happens to be an homage to an episode from Season 1 of the original series.
We caught up with the Norville Rogers (or Shaggy, as his nearest and dearest call him), Matthew Lillard, who starred in the 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo film, and has been with the role ever since, including TV series, DVD movies and video games. The 45-year-old actor chatted with us about what it means to Be Cool brings and picking up where Casey Kasem left off.
By now you must've watched a lot of Scooby-Doo in your life.
I may be, at this point, a preeminent expert on the topic of Scooby-Doo and all things Shaggy Rogers.
You've been voicing Shaggy for nearly a decade now. How do you feel about the job you've done carrying on the legacy of the original Shaggy, Casey Kasem?
There’s something about being No. 2 behind the legend and owning that space, continuing and protecting the legacy, that’s really rewarding for me. In a world where, as an actor you go from job to job and never know if you’re going to work again, there’s something kind of amazing about protecting a character and representing a legacy. That’s really emotionally satisfying.
We spoke to Zac Moncrief a few months ago, who said Shaggy and Scooby have some Marx Brothers comedy vibes to them. What do you think?
For sure. They leaned more into the comedy across the board for the entire gang. Mystery Incorporated, which was the last incarnation, was really built towards the mystery and the over arching story of it—and it was fantastic—but now, the entire group’s funny. They’ve made really smart, really bright characters and the comedy reflects that. It's very Marx Brothers-esque. It used to just be, Shaggy and Scooby are afraid, so they eat. That was their shtick. They still have that shtick, don’t get me wrong, but they have their own elements too.
They're not too funny to be terrified though, right?
Shaggy and Scooby-Doo continually represent the, 'What would a real kid do if presented with the idea that a ghost was real?’ So, they represent an honest reaction to running into a ghost, and that will never change. I will say that our ghosts are funny. We do have some very funny ghosts.
Since this series is post-high school, does that mean Shaggy actually graduated?
Oddly enough, yes. Forty-five years later, he finally completed the 12th grade. But we're still meddling kids. That doesn't change. You can’t play with that.
What are the the biggest differences in this incarnation?
The great thing about this version of the show is they’re funnier. What Zac and [writer] Jon Colton Barry have created is really bright, really funny, really sharp, a little wittier than Scooby-Doo's past, and I think that that has been really fun. It’s fun to record. It’s fun to do. And I think at the end of the day it’ll make the show a success.
Also, for the first time in a long time we’ve changed one of the characters voices. Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates) is the new voice of Velma [replacing Mindy Cohn] and she is fantastic. Getting to work with her has been great. Her spirit is fantastic and she’s really lovely.
What kinds of cases will the gang work in Be Cool?
The mysteries are born out of our characters interests rather than just stumbling onto say, a haunted mansion. It’s born out of what they do. Each character has kind of their own thing every week. Daphne every week tries to be something different and goes on a crazy adventure every week. She’s trying to learn the trombone, trying to be a mime—she’s always trying to improve herself. There are new elements that make it fun that pull the season along.
Who do you think is going to be our new favorite Be Cool Scooby-Doo! character?
Oh, there’s no doubt: Shaggy. It’s always Shaggy! No, I will say that it’s never Shaggy. I always want it to be Shaggy. Hands down, everyone’s favorite character will be Scooby and always will be, and always should be.
Check out an exclusive clip from the premiere of Be Cool Scooby-Doo!