Scoob! tells the story of how the Scooby gang met. First, Shaggy (voice of Will Forte) meets Scooby-Doo as a puppy. Then as kids, they hook up with Fred (Zac Efron), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried) and Velma (Gina Rodriguez). Their latest adventure also features other Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters as main characters.
[Spoiler Alert: This article contains mild spoilers for Scoob!]
Screenwriter Matt Lieberman spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by phone about adapting Scooby-Doo for the new animated movie Scoob! Scoob! is now available to own on VOD.
First, Scooby-Doo meeting Shaggy was the heart of ‘Scoob!’
Lieberman had plans for other Hanna-Barbera characters, but we’ll get to that. His first priority was the core Scooby-Doo gang, and particularly the pair of Scooby and Shaggy.
“When I get my head around something, I definitely get at it through a conceptual standpoint in the movie,” Lieberman said. “What’s the high concept of this movie if I’ve never even heard of Scooby-Doo? Then number two, why do I care? If you really like exploring why do you care about these characters, of course how they met is important. Even to think of, even if it doesn’t end up being in the film.”
Scooby-Doo runs into Shaggy on the beach when he’s a puppy and Shaggy’s a kid. After that, they become best friends instantly.
“Once we kind of locked in on that Scooby, Shaggy puppy scene, we knew a big part of what the movie was,” Lieberman said.
There isn’t a strict ‘Scooby-Doo’ rulebook
Lieberman had a lot of leeway to mess around with Scooby-Doo paraphernalia, even if it contradicted a previous show. For example, Shaggy names the dog after Scooby Snacks, implying the snack predated the dog.
“The thing about Hanna-Barbera is there is really no consistent canon story of Scooby-Doo,” Liebertman said. “I think they kind of had a little more relaxed vision for the different seasons and different iterations. With Hanna-Barbera, I think you’re allowed to be a little more liberal with things. Obviously there are Easter eggs and things that the fans want to see, but I don’t think it’s like Star Wars where the weapon has to have a certain button on it or people get upset.”
‘Scoob!’ had access to every Hanna-Barbera character
Animation takes a long time, so Lieberman began Scoob! seven years ago. His marching orders were to not only reinvent Scooby-Doo, but also to include as many Hanna-Barbera characters as possible.
“When it came across my desk, they were like, ‘We want to make a Scooby-Doo movie and if possible, if there’s any way to incorporate other Hanna-Barbera characters, that would be great,’” Lieberman said. “My original idea had many more in them actually. They were all together with Blue Falcon. There are nods to those characters towards the end of the movie that didn’t quite make the cut unfortunately.”
These Hanna-Barbera characters are actually in ‘Scoob!’
Scooby-Doo and Shaggy end up on the spaceship belonging to Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg), Dinomutt (Ken Jeong) and Dee Dee Sykes (Kiersey Clemons). They join forces to stop Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs) and also meet another Hanna-Barbera favorite we won’t spoil, although Dee Dee’s involvement in the movie is a hint.
“The movie as it is today is very much story-wise similar to 80-90% the same story as it’s always been, almost scene for scene,” Lieberman said. “There are definitely character choices and definitely dialogue that was very different than it originally was. Story-wise, like I said, those characters have been removed but otherwise it’s very close. Scooby, Shaggy, their sort of origin, establishing them as friends and going on this big adventure with Blue Falcon and Dastardly, of coure.”
There are Easter eggs for more Hanna-Barbera characters
If you look closely in the background, you’ll see homages paid to other Hanna-Barbera favorites. Lieberman credits the animators with those.
“I would say the majority of those come from the animators or Tony [Cervone], the director,” Lieberman said. “He is the aficionado. He definitely has his finger on the pulse of what the hardcore fans wants from a Scooby-Doo piece of entertainment. Even though I’m a huge fan, I definitely approached things on a more relaxed version than me trying to reinvent things more than worrying about being too faithful.”