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|First appearance||"What a Night for a Knight" (Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode, 1969)|
Velma Dinkley is a fictional character in the Scooby-Doo franchise. She is usually seen wearing a baggy orange turtleneck, a short red pleated skirt (or in later episodes an A-line skirt, or sometimes shorts), knee socks, Mary Jane shoes, and most prominently, a pair of black square glasses, which she frequently loses. She is seen as the "brains" of the group.
Throughout her various incarnations, Velma is usually portrayed as a highly intelligent young woman with highly specific interests in science (which in the Scooby and Scrappy-Doo series leads her to pursue a career as a NASA research scientist) or merely being very well read on obscure fields, such as Viking writing (as in the third Scooby-Doo series The Scooby-Doo Show). In Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo, Velma is described by her younger sister Madelyn as being "born with a mystery book in her hand". Consequently, Velma is usually the one to figure out the mystery, sometimes with the help of Fred and Daphne. Like Sherlock Holmes and many other fictional detectives, she often keeps her conclusions secret till the end of the story. She is also the only gang member who is not above pulling supernatural hoaxes herself, albeit for noble purposes: in Scooby-Doo! in Where's My Mummy?, she dressed up as the ghost of Cleopatra to scare off a group of grave robbers. Velma Dinkley was inspired by the brainy Zelda Gilroy, as played by Sheila James, from the late 1950s/early 1960s American sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
A running gag in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and The New Scooby-Doo Movies is Velma's severe nearsightedness and her trouble with keeping her glasses on her face (often resulting in them falling off while she is being chased by the villain), saying "My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!" whenever she accidentally loses her glasses. Another running gag occurs when other frightened characters leap into her arms, despite being drawn as the smallest character.
Velma is the most skeptical of the four human members of Mystery Inc. and most likely to discount any paranormal explanations. This is particularly evident in the movies Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost and Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island, in which she discounts ghosts and zombies (real within the context of the franchise) that could not be unmasked by claiming they must be hallucinations. Her character is used to move the story along by offering Scooby-Doo a dog treat called a "Scooby Snack" as a bribe. She displays a strong, take-charge personality when needed, sharply ordering Shaggy to "march!" in an early episode, and she is not above physically attacking a villain when provoked, as when she kicked The Creeper in the knee for snatching her glasses.
Like all of the Scooby-Doo kids, later ret-conned as Mystery Incorporated members, Velma has differing personal backgrounds and histories depending on which series one is referring to.
In the original flagship Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! series, Velma attended the same high school as the rest of the gang (as stated in the inaugural episode "What a Night for a Knight"). However, by The New Scooby-Doo Movies, Velma is said to have graduated from a different high school than her friends (as stated in the episode "Spirited Spooked Sports Show").
According to Scooby-Doo: Behind the Scenes, before she said "Jinkies!", Velma just said "Oh, my!" Velma says it was not that catchy; the catchphrase originally originated from Norville "Shaggy" Rogers. In the film Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster, it is revealed that her middle name is Daisy.
During the first season of the 2010-2013 series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Velma is in a romantic relationship with Shaggy, much to the distaste of Scooby-Doo. Their relationship ends in "Howl of the Fright Hound" (season 1, episode 10). She is shown as secretive in this incarnation of the series trying to change Shaggy's behavior while they were together.
In the second and final season of Mystery Incorporated, Velma is shown by secretly working for the series' overarching villain, Mr. E, alongside one of the unmasked villains from season one, another teenager named Marcie "Hot Dog Water" Fleach, Velma's former rival in science fairs. The two become friends after Velma returns to the gang, and at the series finale after the reset of reality, Velma and Marcie are teammates at the Tri-state Olympiad of Science. While addressing comments on his Instagram in 2020 about the episode's director labeling Mystery Incorporated's version of Velma as bisexual, producer Tony Cervone claimed in response that his intention was for this iteration of Velma to be depicted—as clearly as would be permitted at the time—as a lesbian. Her relationship with Marcie in the series finale was intended to be written as romantic, with her previous relationship with Shaggy, in contrast, as uncomfortable and unsuccessful. The screenwriter of the 2002 Scooby-Doo film James Gunn also stated that Velma was written as a lesbian in early drafts of the script in accordance with the movie's original intent as a deconstruction of the Scooby-Doo canon (Shaggy was also intended to be a stoner, and Fred a gangster).
Relatives of Velma shown during the series' run include:
- Dale and Angie Dinkley: Velma's parents in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (2010–13), voiced by Kevin Dunn and Frances Conroy. They own the Crystal Cove Mystery Museum, which has in its display all of the costumes from the villains the gang has defeated over the years, as well as other objects that have connections to the supernatural or the unexplainable. Angie constantly tries to help her daughter in any way she can, while Dale tends to reprimand Velma.
- Madelyn Dinkley: Velma's sister voiced by Danica McKellar. She appears to be in her late teens and somewhat resembles Velma in appearance and personality. Velma refers to Madelyn as a nerd and does not seem to realize how much alike they really are. Unlike Velma, Madelyn was not exactly sure what she wanted to do for a living and had previously attended clown college until she discovered a fondness for stage magic and enrolls in a school for stage magicians. Madelyn has a huge crush on Shaggy Rogers and as a result of this, Shaggy refers to Madelyn as "Doe-eyed Dinkley" or by simply "Madds". She plays an important role in Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo, when the magic school she's enrolled in is being terrorized by a giant griffin. In Scooby Doo: Behind the Scenes, Velma has an older, blonde haired sister.
- Aunt Meg and Uncle Evan: Velma's aunt and uncle (voiced by Julia Sweeney and Diedrich Bader), who live in a small town called Banning Junction which features in a Halloween episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo?.
- Marcy: Velma's cousin and the daughter of Meg and Evan. She is studying mechanical engineering in college, but unlike Velma, she is fashionable. This along with Marcy's interest in Fred made her Daphne's rival of sorts. She was born on Halloween which over time led to her hatred of the holiday as it usually upstaged her birthday (even her parents have forgotten it). Consequently, she used local legend and her engineering background to create Mechanical Scarecrow Monsters to terrorize the town on her eighteenth birthday.
- Aunt Thelma: A marine biologist at the Coolsville Marine Institute whose dolphins were being stolen in the A Pup Named Scooby-Doo episode "Scooby Dude".
- Frederick Rogers-Dinkley: Velma's son with Shaggy Rogers (named after Fred Jones), as seen in the final volume of Scooby Apocalypse.
- Uncle Dave (Walton): A member of the U.S. Border Patrol, as seen in the episode Watch Out! The Willawaw!
- Uncle John: works as an archaeologist.
- Uncle Cosmo: also works as an archaeologist.
- Uncle Elmo: a doctor.
- Uncle Ted: also works as an archaeologist.
- Great Uncle Dr. Von Dinkenstein: Velma's infamous great-uncle, resembling Frankenstein. He is the reason for Velma's crime-solving business.
Velma has been voiced by multiple actresses. From 1969 to 1973, Nicole Jaffe voiced Velma; from 1976 to 1979, Pat Stevens voiced the character. From 1979 to 1980, Marla Frumkin provided her voice. Velma did not speak in the Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo final episode, "The Ransom of Scooby Chief". After the character's absence from 1980 to 1983 series, Marla Frumkin reprised the role of Velma as a guest star in The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries. Velma was absent again until A Pup Named Scooby-Doo when Christina Lange voiced the role. B.J. Ward voiced Velma in a Johnny Bravo crossover episode. From the animated movie, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island on, B.J. Ward reprised her role in all movies through Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, as well as an episode of the Adult Swim animated series, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. Nicole Jaffe returned temporarily to voice Velma in the direct-to-video movies Scooby-Doo! and the Legend of the Vampire and Scooby-Doo! and the Monster of Mexico.
From 2002 until 2015, Velma was voiced by Mindy Cohn of The Facts of Life fame. In Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map, Velma is voiced by Stephanie D'Abruzzo. On July 8, 2015, it was announced that Kate Micucci would take over the role of Velma in the then-upcoming series Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!. Trisha Gum voiced Velma in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. Velma was voiced by Ariana Greenblatt as a child and Gina Rodriguez as a teenager in the animated film Scoob!.
In the 2002 and 2004 live-action movies, Velma is played by Linda Cardellini, who then voiced her for the Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed video game and Robot Chicken. In the 2001 live stage performance Scooby-Doo! in Stagefright - Live on Stage, she was portrayed by Randi Rosenholtz. Lauren Kennedy portrayed young Velma in a flashback sequence in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. Velma is portrayed by Hayley Kiyoko in the 2009 live-action movie Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and its 2010 sequel Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster. Sarah Gilman portrayed the young Velma in the 2018 direct-to-video film Daphne & Velma.
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