Actress Mindy Kaling has responded to the backlash over Velma being South Asian in the new Scooby-Doo spinoff. Kaling, who has voiced the character in the new series and is the executive producer of the series, said that she is surprised by the reactions online.
Speaking at the New York Comic Con on Thursday, October 6, Kaling also touched on the topic of the character being Indian in the spinoff.
Speaking about how she is constantly surprised by the reaction on social media, Mindy said:
“I think of the characters in this as so iconic, but in no way is the gang defined by their whiteness, except for Fred. So, I was a little bit surprised and I think most Indian-American girls when they see this skeptical, hardworking, kind of underappreciated character, can identify with her.”
At the same time, she also talked about how the vast majority of people are excited about the character being of a particular ethnicity and orientation.
“I think the vast majority of people are excited and ready for it and the show is for them.”
“Growing up I identified with Velma”: Mindy Kaling addressed the backlash for making the character South Asian
While the world of Twitter has been praising the makers of Velma for portraying the character as a lesbian, there have been a lot of mixed opinions about making Velma South-Asian. However, talking more about the character, Mindy also addressed how she identified with the character when she was a teenager. She said:
“Growing up I identified with Velma. 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 bullsh*t of life. When you are smart and under-appreciated. I hope people appreciate that.”
She also talked about how this would be a journey of self-discovery for the character. Mindy stated:
“It’s a high school show with the events and the dances in addition to it being a murder mystery. Obviously, Daphne and Fred are popular while Velma is an outsider. Seeing them come together is the fun about the show.”
Mindy also talked about the character being an Indian during her Warner Bros Discovery Upfront presentation. At the time, she said:
“Hopefully you noticed my Velma is South Asian. If people freak out about that, I don’t care. Nobody ever complained about a talking dog solving mysteries so I don’t think they’ll be upset over a brown Velma.”
Kaling also made a massive revelation about how the star dog, Scooby Doo, will not be a part of the spin-off. The HBO series has a star-packed voice cast, including Constance Wu as Daphne Blake, Sam Richardson as Shaggy Rogers, and Glenn Howerton as Fred Jones.
The guest stars will also include several A-listers such as 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.
The animated series is all set to be released in April 2023. Kaling serves as an executive producer alongside showrunner Charlie Grandy, Howard Klein, and Sam Register.