Interviews NYCC TV

Mindy Kaling and Charlie Grandy Explain How Velma Is an Origin Story for The Adult Crowd

Halloween is in the air and what better way than to spend it with the gal behind Mystery Inc… Velma. The creatives behind HBO Max’s Velma brought the spooky crime solving adult series to New York Comic Con. The Koalition partook in the press conference featuring Velma voice actress/executive producer Mindy Kaling and Charlie Grandy, who serves as one of the show’s showrunner/executive producer to take us behind the scenes to learn why this series is unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Velma is special to Kaling as it allowed her to bring her South Asian culture, sarcastic humor and comedic timing to the animation sphere where fan-favorite Velma Dinkley will now represent modern Indian American teens, “I knew that I was going to do the voice, and it’s animation – the possibilities animation is so big. It’s like, ‘Well, why not make the character Indian, you know?’ We’ve been so inspired by Into the Spider-Verse and seeing these other characters that can embody the spirit of these iconic franchises. [We were] like, ‘’Well, why don’t we try that?’ We love Scooby-Doo so much, and we’re going to honor it, said Kaling.”

This isn’t your parent’s version of Velma, aside from embracing an array of races and cultures, this animated series is very adult-orientated, similar to HBO Max’s Harley Quinn. In order to evolve the character, making the series geared towards adults was always the pan. “I loved Scooby-Doo as a kid,” he said. “But it also scared me. I was scared very easily. [With Velma,] I was interested taking the comedy and the humor of the original and sort of adapting it for older [audiences]. Trying to make it [have] harder jokes, and scarier, as well.” Kaling added, “We thought this was a really interesting, fun, way to make a different choice [that was] worth doing because it hadn’t been done before,” Grandy said.

With this nature of Velma, the creatives are aiming to make a series that’s a lot spookier than Scooby-Doo. However, scares won’t be the show’s only focus. Kaling mentioned it will also tackle what teens go through in modern high school life. “I come from that tradition with some of my other shows and that was really interesting to me. Like what do girls deal with? [The show] deals with popularity, being an outsider – the cast comes from very different socioeconomic backgrounds so what does that look like now? And that’s something that we can kind of only tackle in an adult show [and something that] seemed interesting and rich.”

In order to fully dive into the Velma character, and get audiences to fully invest in the Velma character, making the series a prequel was necessary. Audiences will learn who is a person and how her friends will grow with her, including Fred (Glenn Howerton), Daphne (Constance Wu), and Shaggy (Sam Richardson).

“I mean the fun of the show is taking the iconic pieces – either the sayings, the sweater, or whatnot, and trying to give origins to all of those [things that are the iconic] pieces of Scooby-Doo and imbue them with meaning. Why does Velma say ‘Jinkies?’ That’s a big thing that we wanted to lean into, and we do the same with all the characters.” Kaling emphasized the show will explore what teens go through in modern high school life. “I come from that tradition with some of my other shows and that was really interesting to me. Like what do girls deal with? [The show] deals with popularity, being an outsider – the cast comes from very different socioeconomic backgrounds so what does that look like now? And that’s something that we can kind of only tackle in an adult show [and something that] seemed interesting and rich.”

To learn more about HBO Max’s Velma, check out the press conference in the video above.

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