"Scooby-Doo" writer James Gunn has revealed that his plan to feature the brainy detective Velma as an "explicitly gay" character in the 2002 live-action movie was axed by studio executives.
The revelation came in response to a tweet from a fan on Sunday asking Gunn to "make our live-action lesbian Velma dreams come true."
"I tried!" the filmmaker wrote on Twitter. "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)."
"Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed," the 2004 followup to "Scooby-Doo," introduces Patrick Wisely (Seth Green) as Velma's (Linda Cardellini) love interest, but Gunn added that viewers can see deleted scenes from earlier stages of the project that hint at Velma's attraction to women.
This is not the first time Gunn and others involved with the franchise have spoken out about how storylines involving Velma's sexuality were omitted from the final version of the film.
Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Daphne in the film series, previously revealed that her character and Velma were supposed to kiss during a body-swap scene in the original film.
“It wasn’t just, like, for fun. … Initially in the soul-swapping scene, Velma and Daphne couldn’t seem to get their souls back together in the woods, and so the way they found was to kiss and the souls went back into proper alignment," Gellar told Sci Fi Wire. “Linda is quite a kisser.”
Gunn also previously lamented in a Facebook post that the film's rating was changed from PG-13 to PG to make it more "family-friendly." He said he thought it was "a mistake" at the time to change the film's rating as teens who'd come to watch the movie "didn't get what they wanted (and didn't come back for the sequel)."
A third film in the franchise was canceled after the sequel received negative reviews and underperformed at the box office, grossing more than $90 million less than the original film.
"The studio decided to go a more family-friendly route. Language and jokes and sexual situations were removed, including a kiss between Daphne and Velma. Cleavage was CGI’d over," Gunn said in the 2017 post. "But, thankfully, the farting remained."
Gunn, who was rehired by Disney on Friday to direct "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" after being removed from the project for sharing offensive tweets, said earlier this year that he would have had The Mystery Ink gang fight their own "prejudices & narrow belief systems" instead of physical monsters in the third Scooby-Doo film, had it been made.
Warner Bros. Pictures, which distributed the original film and its sequel, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Though Velma is not gay in the "Scooby-Doo" movies, a producer behind "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated," a separate Scooby-Doo cartoon series that ran from 2010-13, has said that he also intended Velma to be gay, even though she dated Shaggy in the show.
“I’ve said this before, but Velma in Mystery Incorporated is not bi. She’s gay," Tony Cervone wrote in an Instagram post, which included art of Velma celebrating Pride in June. "We always planned on Velma acting a little off and out of character while she was dating Shaggy because that relationship was wrong for her and she had unspoken difficulty with the why."
Cervone said that there are "hints" about her sexuality and that he and the "Mystery Incorporated" team made Velma's relationship with Marcie "as clear as we could make it 10 years ago."