James Gunn: Velma was meant to be gay in ‘Scooby-Doo’ live-action, but studio pushed back

Director and screenwriter James Gunn said he tried to make Velma gay in his 2002 live-action “Scooby-Doo” remake, but Warner Bros. pushed back.

In response to a fan’s tweet hoping for a third installment of the early 2000s films starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Linda Cardellini and Matthew Lillard, Gunn said his first script draft included scenes that made it clear the orange-clad, glasses wearing Velma (Cardellini) was a lesbian.

“In 2001 Velma was explicitly gay in my initial script,” he tweeted Sunday. “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).”

Gunn said his first draft included scenes where she serenaded and kissed Daphne (Sarah Michelle Geller), both of which were filmed but cut from the final version.

“All easily available, known information, just as everyone knows the movie was initially Rated R by the MPAA,” Gunn said.

In a 2017 Facebook post, Gunn revealed that he originally intended for the movie to be for “older kids and adults” but that the studio wanted to make a “clean-cut children’s film” instead. In part, this required editors to digitally remove some of the female characters’ cleavage “so as to not offend.”

“But, you know, such is life,” Gunn wrote at the time. “I had a lot of fun making this movie, regardless of all that. And I was also able to eat, buy a car, and a house because of it.”

USA TODAY has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment.

Gunn’s wasn’t the first failed attempt by a filmmaker to include a gay character in a movie meant for younger people.

Last month, “High School Musical” director Kenny Ortega said he didn’t think Disney would have allowed the character Ryan to be openly gay.

More: ‘High School Musical’ director didn’t think Disney would have allowed an openly gay character in 2006

In an interview with Variety published June 30, Ortega said he was “concerned because it was family and kids, that Disney might not be ready to cross that line and move into that territory yet” with the 2006 Disney Channel movie, despite the fact that the entertainment giant was “the most progressive group of people” he had worked with.

“I just took it upon myself to make choices that I felt that those who were watching would grab,” added Ortega, who is gay. “They would see it, they would feel it, they would know it and they would identify with it. And that is what happened.”

Ortega added to Variety: “We decided he’d probably come out in college. It was less about coming out and just more about letting his true colors come forward.”

Thirteen years later, the “HSMTMTS” reboot allowed characters both the opportunity to come out and let their true colors show with musical choreographer Carlos (Frankie Rodriguez), who in one episode slow dances with his crush, cast member Seb (Joe Serafini), at the homecoming dance.

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