HomeAsian AmericansMindy Kaling's "Velma" cast announced at NY Comic Con
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Mindy Kaling’s “Velma” cast announced at NY Comic Con

by Jessica Xiao, AsAmNews Staff Contributor

On Friday, October 6, the opening day of the 2022 New York Comic Con, attendees got a sneak preview of HBOMax’s Velma. 

According to its logline, Velma “tells the origin story of Velma Dinkley, the unsung and underappreciated brains of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. gang. This original and humorous spin unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America’s most beloved mystery solvers.”

The cast, announced Friday, is star-studded—with executive producer Mindy Kaling as Velma, Constance Wu as Daphne, Sam Richardson (Ted Lasso) as Shaggy, and Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as Fred. Other notables in unannounced roles include Ming-Na Wen, Ken Leung, Yvonne Orji, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Wanda Sykes, and more.

New York Comic Con attendees who cosplayed as “Velma” were invited on stage. Photo by Jessica Xiao.

The show takes inspiration not only from the original Scooby Doo, but also from self-referential and self-aware adult animations like Rick & Morty and Harley Quinn, which cater to millennial audiences who grew up on Saturday morning cartoons.

“We thought these high schoolers lend so well to an adult animation,” said Mindy Kaling in a panel after the showing.

In particular, there is a resemblance to shows like Harley Quinn, which are culturally updated and empowered narrative tellings of existing characters often written from a white male lens.

Previously, Kaling has said that Velma is South Asian—to the outrage of some fans. Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid received similar backlash when the released trailer depicted Black actress Halle Bailey playing Ariel.

Velma is not for the detractors.

“I think of the characters as so iconic, but in no way is the gang defined by their whiteness—except for Fred—so I was a bit surprised. When Indian American girls seen an underappreciated, hardworking character, they can relate to her….The vast majority of people are excited and ready for it – and the show is for them,” said Kaling

When cast members were asked when they’ve seen a lead character who reflected them—Constance Wu answered, “The first time I saw a lead character who reflected me, I think I may have played it.”

Velma executive producer Mindy Kaling at Comic Con. Photo by Jessica Xiao.

At the heart, it is a show about high school, and just like the protagonist Mindy in The Mindy Project, it seems Velma will have her fair share of romances.

“Velma has unresolved sexual attraction with lots of characters,” said Kaling, when asked about chemistry between Velma and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers.

Might there be a Daphne-Velma love story in this adaptation? (The Velma in the upcoming Trick or Treat Scooby Doo film is gay.)

“We want to honor other interpretations that feel really modern,” teased Kaling.

The ten-episode first season debuts on HBOMax in 2023.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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