A Twitter account for a film podcast implored Gunn to make future onscreen iterations of Velma gay, to which Gunn replied, “I tried!”
“In 2001 Velma was explicitly gay in my initial script” (for 2002’s live-action “Scooby-Doo’), he wrote. “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 wrote both the live-action film and its 2004 sequel, which both starred Linda Cardellini as Velma. In the second film, actor Seth Green played her boyfriend, and any implications that the character was gay were removed.
That wasn’t uncommon in early 2000s franchise films. GLAAD, the nonprofit that monitors LGBTQ representation in media, in 2013 said studios were “reluctant” to include LGBTQ characters in action franchises.
CNN has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment. Both CNN and Warner Bros. are owned by WarnerMedia.
Since the release of the “Scooby-Doo” films in the early 2000s, major studios have slowly warmed to including more LGBTQ characters in blockbuster films: “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” featured a gay kiss in the background of one scene at the end of the film, and Pixar’s “Onward” included the studio’s first gay character. Both instances were criticized as too brief and ancillary to the films’ main stories.
Gunn has gone on to write and direct Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” films. He apologized for a blog post from 2011 in which he made anti-gay comments, GLAAD reported. He was also fired, then rehired, for the third “Guardians of the Galaxy” film after years-old tweets joking about pedophilia and molestation resurfaced in 2018.