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Poster of Mindy Kaling’s South Asian ‘Velma’ Released Amid Discussion About Character’s Sexual Orientation

Poster of Mindy Kaling’s South Asian ‘Velma’ Released Amid Discussion About Character’s Sexual Orientation

  • The original and humorous spin is said to unmask the complex and colorful past of one of America's most beloved mystery solvers.

HBO Max has unveiled the first official poster for its upcoming animated series “Velma,” starring Mindy Kaling as the South Asian incarnation of the famous Scooby-Doo character. She also serves as executive producer of the series which tells the lead character’s origin story, “prior to her globetrotting adventures with Fred, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby,” according to an HBO synopsis. It calls Velma,” an “original and humorous spin that unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America’s most beloved mystery solvers.”

The release of the poster, ahead of the official “Velma” panel at New York Comic Con 2022, coincides with the revelation of Velma’s sexuality after a release of the new Cartoon Network Halloween special, “Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo!” After years of speculation, over half a century since the show’s conception, Velma Dinkley is officially confirmed to be a lesbian. 

Although there are no details available on Velma’s sexual orientation in the HBO adult-oriented spin on the Scooby-Doo franchise, “the poster does speak to Velma’s violent tone, featuring an up-close look at the title character’s signature glasses, which are sitting on the floor and covered with blood,” as reported by

Joining Kaling in the series are Glenn Howerton, Sam Richardson and Constance Wu as Fred, Norville, aka Shaggy, and Daphne, respectively. The cast also includes 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 NBA All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns. “Welker has voiced Fred in almost every animated iteration of Scooby-Doo since its inception in 1969 and has also provided Scooby’s voice in a number of productions,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

“Velma” was ordered by HBO Max in February 2021, and is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Along with Kaling, executive producers include her frequent collaborator Charlie Grandy Howard Klein and Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network Studios and Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe. 

According to the CBR report, “Kaling herself debuted the first official images from Velma at Warner Bros. Discovery’s upfronts event this past May.” At the time she told the audience that she was “beyond excited” to share images from her new animated adult comedy, “which is based on the beloved character from Scooby-Doo.” Noting that her Velma is South Asian, the Indian American actor, producer, and author added that she doesn’t care “if people freak out about that.” She continued, as reported by CBR: “No one’s imaginations ever had a problem with a talking dog solving mysteries. So a brown Velma is fine. I think we can all handle it. In any case, you won’t want to miss this.”

However, two months later, she told late-night talk show host Seth Meyers that the criticism of a South Asian Velma shocked her. Responding to criticism she’s received, she wondered why people were unable to imagine “a smart, nerdy girl with terrible eyesight” as an Indian. “Like, there are Indian nerds,” she told Meyers during a July 22 episode. “It shouldn’t be a surprise to people.”

She told Meyers that when HBO announced in February that she was going to do the voice of Velma, “people were very supportive and happy on Twitter. And so I felt great.” But as soon as it was revealed that the Velma character “would be reimagined as South Asian.” Kaling said “people were not happy,” and expressed their displeasure for not portraying a classic Velma. “Those kinds of tweets. ‘Not the classic Velma that I’m always thinking about!’”

Many had taken to social media to say that movie and TV characters, even when fictional, should not have their appearances changed once established with a certain look.

Although they were “just a small percentage of people,” who criticized her, she admitted she was surprised that Velma “elicited such strong reactions in either direction.”

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