The Office star Mindy Kaling stopped by Late Night with Seth Meyers to discuss her new projects, including the second season of Netflix's Never Have I Ever and her role in Monsters At Work, and she also talked about the backlash that she faced when it was announced that she would be voicing the iconic Scooby-Doo character Velma in a new HBO Max animated series, Velma.
"People were not happy. There were a lot of 'so not Velma' tweets. First of all, I didn't know that she elicited such strong reactions, in either direction," Kaling told Meyers. "She's such a great character, she's so smart. And I just couldn't understand how people couldn't imagine a really smart, nerdy girl with terrible eyesight and loved to solve mysteries could not be Indian."
"Like, there are Indian nerds. It shouldn't be a surprise to people," Kaling continued. "It really made me think, 'Okay, we've got to be really careful with this character,' which we will be because we really love her and she's going to have great adventures."
Back in February when the project was announced, Kaling had the perfect clap-back for a fan who did not like this news, pointing out that the GIF the user shared was from an Office episode she wrote. After the page Discussing Film shared the news, someone responded with just a GIF of Michael Scott (Steve Carell) yelling, "No!" in an episode of The Office. "I wrote the episode of The Office this GIF is from," Kaling wrote. The scene was in the Season 5 episode "Frame Toby." The person who tweeted the GIF later deleted the tweet.
Velma will share the origin story for the "unsung and underappreciated brains" of the Mystery Machine gang, notes The Hollywood Reporter. The show is described as an "original and humorous spin that unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America's most beloved mystery solvers." Kaling will also serve as an executive producer on the series.
Velma will be executive produced by Kaling with her frequent collaborator Charlie Grandy, and Howard Klein and Sam Register of 3 Arts. It is one of three new animated projects HBO Max announced in February. Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Bill Lawrence, and Erica Rivinoja are working on a revival of Clone High, which originally aired on MTV in 2002 and 2003. Fired on Mars is a workplace comedy based on an animated short by Nate Sherman and Nick Voley set at a tech company's Martian campus. Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will lead the voice cast and is an executive producer.
"It is a tremendous privilege to build on the 100-year plus legacy of 'cartoons' at this company," HBO Max executive vice president of comedy and adult animation Suzanna Makkos said in a statement. "We can draw a straight line from our hundreds of childhood hours spent watching Bugs outwit Elmer to the current slate of adult animated projects we are building here at HBO Max and we think fans will agree. We are proud to introduce this distinctive group of series from a wide range of diverse creators that will form a first stop destination for animation lovers everywhere."