Mindy Kaling Responded To Haters Who Say Velma Can't Be Indian
She really doesn't see the big deal.
Mindy Kaling is preparing to solve all sorts of mysteries as a new version of the iconic Scooby-Doo character Velma, but there’s one thing she just can’t figure out: Why would anyone be mad about Velma being reimagined as Indian? The actor said she noticed some backlash online when details about her Velma spinoff were recently revealed, but in true Mindy Kaling fashion, her response to the criticism was on point.
HBO Max announced its 10-episode order of Velma back in February, revealing the upcoming animated series would tell the origin story of famed mystery-solver Velma Dinkley. While the original Scooby-Doo cartoons were made for children, this Velma spinoff will be an adult comedy with Kaling providing the voice of a young Velma before she joins up with Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scooby.
None of this seemed to be a problem for fans — that is, until June 2021, when Warner Bros. exec Tom Ascheim announced Kaling’s animated Velma character would be of East Asian descent, which stirred up a bit of controversy among online trolls.
During an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Friday, July 23, Kaling said she noticed the backlash, albeit from a “small percentage” of the internet, and it confused her. “I just couldn’t understand how people couldn’t imagine a really smart, nerdy girl with terrible eyesight who loved to solve mysteries [as] Indian,” Kaling said. “Like, there are Indian nerds. That shouldn’t be a surprise to people.”
Although the character of Velma was most notably played by a white actor (Linda Cardellini) in 2002’s live-action movie Scooby-Doo and its 2004 sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, there’s actually no real proof the original, animated Velma is white. In fact, there’s even a precedent for Velma being of Asian descent: Hayley Kiyoko played Velma in two live-action Cartoon Network movies in 2009 and 2010.
Basically, to Kaling, it all boils down to: Who really cares? She certainly seems excited to reimagine the iconic character through a new lens, and it sounds like the series will provide a fresh take on a character who was introduced over half a century ago. If Scooby-Doo fans can accept a talking dog without a problem, then why not an Indian teenager who loves mysteries?
Velma is currently in development at HBO Max with no set premiere date yet.