2002’s live-action Scooby-Doo screenwriter James Gunn says Mystery Inc. super sleuth Velma (Linda Cardellini) was “explicitly gay” in his initial script for the eventually PG-rated family comedy. Gunn previously confirmed the Raja Gosnell-directed adaptation of the Hanna-Barbera animated series was originally intended to be rated PG-13, and that a first cut of the film received an R-rating “because of one stupid joke the MPAA misinterpreted.” In a 2017 Facebook post celebrating the 15th anniversary of Scooby-Doo, Gunn wrote the released film was “not exactly what we planned” and that he had written “an edgier film geared toward older kids and adults,” but studio Warner Bros. pushed it into a “clean cut children’s film.”
“I tried! In 2001 Velma was explicitly gay in my initial script,” Gunn tweeted Sunday in response to a tweet asking him to realize a lesbian Velma in a third live-action Scooby-Doo movie. “But the studio just kept watering it down & watering it down, becoming ambiguous (the version shot), then nothing (the released version) & finally having a boyfriend (the sequel).”
I tried! In 2001 Velma was explicitly gay in my initial script. But the studio just kept watering it down & watering it down, becoming ambiguous (the version shot), then nothing (the released version) & finally having a boyfriend (the sequel). ? https://t.co/Pxho6Ju1oQ
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 13, 2020
In a 2002 interview, Daphne actress Sarah Michelle Gellar told Sci Fi Wire a scene depicting a kiss between Velma and Daphne was shot but cut from the finished film.
“It wasn’t just, like, for fun,” Gellar said, explaining the kiss occurred during a body swap sequence where Daphne’s soul finds itself inside Fred’s (Freddie Prinze Jr.) body, and vice versa. Another mix-up happens when Velma’s soul is switched into Fred’s body, leaving her own body to be taken over by the confused spirit of Shaggy (Matthew Lillard).
“Initially in the soul-swapping scene Velma and Daphne couldn’t seem to get their souls back together in the woods,” Gellar said. “And so the way they found was to kiss and the souls went back into proper alignment.”
Gunn explained in a January tweet the studio cut Scooby-Doo to a PG-rating when a handful of parents were “outraged” by a PG-13 rated test screening.
“Language and jokes and sexual situations were removed, including a kiss between Daphne and Velma. Cleavage was CGI’d over,” Gunn wrote. “But, thankfully, the farting remained.”
A 2004 sequel also scripted by Gunn, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, gave Velma a male romantic interest in museum curator Patrick Wisely (Seth Green).
“I had a lot of fun making this movie, regardless of all that,” Gunn wrote about the removal of “edgier” content in 2017. “And I was also able to eat, buy a car, and a house because of it.”
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