Linda Cardellini Loves What Velma's Canon Confirmation Means For Scooby-Doo Fans

Since 1969, the "Scooby-Doo" franchise has been providing family-fun thrills and chills for generations, spawning spin-off cartoons, two live-action movies, video games, and countless animated films and specials. The Scooby Snack-loving dog and his mystery gang have a firm, loveable place in pop culture. The newest animated film, "Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo!" made waves all over the internet for the past month for making a bold character choice, officially canonizing the loveable and brainy Velma Dinkley as a lesbian.

Directed by Audie Harrison of "Uncle Grandpa" fame, "Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo!" is a Halloween special where the Scooby gang finds themselves in a mystery involving famous fashion designer Coco Diablo (Myrna Velasco), who Velma (Kate Micucci) develops feelings for. She blushes and dorkily smiles as she interacts with Coco, an adorable, cartoonish way of portraying a young crush. The clips of their interactions went viral, and fandom rejoiced over their newfound representation.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly promoting her Netflix series, "Dead to Me," former Velma actress Linda Cardellini shared her love for the character's coming out.

'It's been hinted at so many times'

"I just went trick or treating with my daughter and there were a lot of Velmas out there, so I love that she still has this place in culture that is sort of always active for decades," Linda Cardellini tells Entertainment Weekly. Though Velma has gone through many different voice actors, Cardellini was the first to portray Velma in a live-action adaptation. Though maligned at the time, 2002's live-action "Scooby-Doo!" and its sequel "Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed" have developed a huge cult following and are much more beloved now than ever before.

Directed by Raja Gosnell and written by James Gunn, this duology of "Scooby" films were meta, modern reinterpretations of the Mystery Incorporated crew, and though they were extremely subtle, at times those films even had their own hints towards Velma's sexuality as well. "You know, I think it's been hinted at so many times, and I think it's great that it's finally out there," Cardellini added.

In 2020, Gunn revealed on Twitter that he had originally intended for his version of Velma to be a lesbian. Unfortunately, Warner Brothers pushed back on this idea, wiping away any explicit mentions of Velma's queerness into subtext."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)."

A wonderful example of fanon turned canon

The love for Velma's lesbian identity doesn't end there ​​— it's important to acknowledge that Velma has also been played by an openly lesbian actress before. Singer/actor Hayley Kiyoko, who portrayed Velma in two live-action TV films, "Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins," and "Scooby-Doo: The Curse of the Lake Monster," reflected on being cast as Velma while she was closeted. "I remember booking Velma in 2008. It was my first big role in a movie," the actress tweeted. "I also remember thinking 'I wonder if they know they hired a lesbian as Velma' here we are, 14 years later."

Cardellini's argument that Velma's sexuality has been hinted at many times rings true. Though it was never explicit, Velma has been beloved by many lesbian fans because the character has been easily coded and accepted as one. Fandom has the power to interact with the text in ways that improve it, and long before Velma was textually labeled a lesbian, fans have been interpreting her as one for decades. The 2010 series "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated" also hinted at a relationship between Velma and Marcie "Hot Dog Water" Fleach, who was ironically voiced by Linda Cardellini. 

Though it has been extremely overdue, Velma's new canonical identity as a lesbian is a wonderful moment for queer representation, but also a fantastic example of how works of art can find new modern meanings as time goes on.