“Scooby-Doo” may not have been widely embraced upon its release, but the hilarious, zany, surprisingly cheeky live-action version of the series in many ways feels like a jumping-off point for the franchise’s future. The film’s best asset is its stellar cast, which includes Freddie Prinze Jr, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini, and Matthew Lillard. The latter quickly became the gold standard in Shaggy performers and has voiced the character in several projects since.
Despite its plentiful underrated qualities, 2002’s “Scooby-Doo” didn’t turn out to be the movie that brought Scoob into the real world for good. The film garnered one sequel, and three other live-action “Scooby-Doo” films since have failed to make a splash despite a few intriguing choices (Hayley Kiyoko as Velma!). What Gunn’s “Scooby-Doo” did do, though, is make room for edgier interpretations of the source material. The spring break-set flick featured lots of surprisingly randy moments despite its PG rating, along with some well-executed stoner jokes.
“Scooby-Doo” may not have been a monster success story, but it revealed the thirst for grown-up Scooby-Doo stories that still persist today. If generations of fans grew up with “Scooby-Doo,” why can’t “Scooby-Doo” grow up with us, too? Luckily, the franchise mostly seems to be up for the challenge. Edgar Cantero’s 2017 horror novel “Meddling Kids” isn’t an official “Scooby-Doo” story, but it follows an obviously Mystery Inc.-esque group that reunites after horrific trauma tore them apart years earlier.
The Daphne and Velma-like characters in “Meddling Kids” also have a queer romance plot, which shouldn’t be a surprise for longtime fans of the franchise. Last year, the direct-to-video film “Trick-or-Treat, Scooby-Doo” gave Velma a gay crush, a welcome but less-than-shocking development that led many to respond with some variation of “Duh!”