The 2002 ‘Scooby-Doo’ Movie Originally Had a Velma and Daphne Kiss and Wrote Velma as ‘Explicitly Gay’
Scooby-Doo has survived so many iterations and many story arcs. But the franchise has lived on this long because that dog is so loved by audiences. Add in the other well-known characters Shaggy, Daphne, Fred, and Velma, and Mystery Incorporated is as iconic as cartoons can get.
The 2002 Scooby-Doo live-action film was a change of pace for the franchise since it was the first live-action version of these characters, but it also aimed at teens rather than kids. Because it originally started off as a PG-13 film, there were a lot of jokes and scenes filmed for the movie that ended up having to be cut when the studio wanted to make it more family-friendly. One of those scenes involved a kiss between Daphne and Velma.
An on-screen kiss between Daphne and Velma was cut from ‘Scooby-Doo’
James Gunn, the writer of the live-action 2002 film, has shared a lot of behind-the-scenes info on the movie on Twitter and elsewhere. This is how fans know about the rating change. He even wrote in January that the MPAA gave the movie an R-rating at first, because of a “misinterpreted” joke.
But even back in 2002, Sarah Michelle Gellar (Daphne), one of the stars of the film, revealed a change. She told Sci-Fi Wire that a kissing scene between her and Linda Cardellini (Velma) was cut.
“It wasn’t just, like, for fun,” she said. “Initially in the soul-swapping , Velma and Daphne couldn’t seem to get their souls back together in the woods. And so the way they found was to kiss and the souls went back into proper alignment.”
There is a deleted scene from the DVD, where Velma’s body was just taken over by one of the aliens, and Daphne finds her in weird behavior. Velma then turns on her in the locker room. While there’s nothing inappropriate about two women kissing, the studio didn’t want to include it back in 2002.
And while this kissing scene was cut, don’t expect to see it, or any other deleted scene that wasn’t already on the DVD.
“Also, for the record I doubt any of those old cuts still exist,” Gunn wrote in January.
Other edits were made to the film to make it more ‘family-friendly’
Another edit that was made on the film involved digitally adding more clothing to Daphne and Velma because apparently too much cleavage was showing.
“They CG’d clothes over @lindacardellini & @SarahMGellar’s cleavage,” Gunn wrote. “But that wasn’t the MPAA, that was the studio, who wanted it more family-friendly. Some parents in test audiences had complained (& this doesn’t contradict my last tweet – I didn’t direct this film)”
Basically, as Gunn already said, he and others had originally set out to make a PG-13 movie, and the studio turned it into a PG film. Whether it was marketed to teens or not, Gunn thinks that the family-friendly additions (and cuts) hurt the second film’s success and stopped a third from ever happening.
“I felt like a lot of teens came out for the first film and didn’t get what they wanted (and didn’t come back for the sequel),” he wrote, saying it was a mistake. “But today I don’t know.”
James Gunn also revealed that he wrote Velma as gay, something she’s been all along
And, as news came out recently, Gunn had initially written Velma as a blatantly lesbian character. Again, it’s not inappropriate by today’s standards, but having a lesbian character in 2002 wasn’t really a common aspect in kids’ movies.
“In 2001 Velma was explicitly gay in my initial script,” Gunn shared on Twitter on July 12. “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).”
The “Velma is gay” narrative is something many fans had picked up on in other iterations of the character, most recently in the 2010 series Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated. And that was, of course, on purpose because Velma was always gay, according to writer and director Tony Cervone wrote recently.
“Marcie and Velma – Mystery Incorporated,” he wrote in a Pride Month post on June 28, along with a picture of Velma and Marcie from his series. He’s worked on several Scooby-Doo projects over the last decade. “I obviously don’t represent every version of Velma Dinkley, but I am one of the key people that represents this one. We made our intentions as clear as we could ten years ago. Most of our fans got it. To those that didn’t, I suggest you look closer. There’s no new news here.”
He later wrote in a comment that the breadcrumbs had always been there. Just because the series never explicitly used the term “gay” or “lesbian,” Velma was very much a part of the LGBTQ community.