Matthew Lillard

Warner Brothers just announced plans for a new animated Scooby-Doo theatrical movie, known simply as ‘Scooby’, with an all-star cast, including Will Forte as Shaggy and Gina Rodriguez as Velma.  As I noted previously, while I can understand the studio’s desire to bring in some bigger names to hopefully appeal to adults and a larger general audience, it felt like a slight to the voice cast which has been providing the voices in various projects for years.  But this was far more than a simple “slight.”  No one even told long-time Shaggy voice actor, Matthew Lillard that he’d been replaced.  Instead, he had to find out on social media.

As he wrote “Well this sucks.  What a crappy way to find out…. thanks Hollywood. You never sense to amaze me.”  Presumably, he meant to say “cease.”

Lillard portrayed Shaggy in 2002’s live-action ‘Scooby-Doo’ and its 2004 sequel ‘Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed’.  While the movies received a mixed reaction, almost everyone felt that Lillard was simply born to play Shaggy.  He nailed the character’s voice and mannerisms perfectly and managed to successfully navigate his many scenes with “Scooby” who was rendered in CGI in post-production.

In 2010, when Shaggy’s original voice actor, Casey Kasem, retired, Lillard replace him and voiced Shaggy in dozens of projects from ongoing series to direct-to-video movies to video games.

While Lillard was part of a crop of hot young actors to emerge during the mid-90s, despite starring in films like ‘Hackers’ and ‘Scream’, he never quite became a household name.  ‘Scooby-Doo’ actually catapulted him to new levels of recognition.  He currently stars on the NBC series ‘Good Girls’.

Also ousted was Kate Micucci, who has played Velma since 2015.  Frank Welker, who has voiced Fred since ‘Scooby-Doo, Where are You?” in 1969, and began voicing Scooby in 2002, is the only current cast member who will be back for ‘Scooby’, although he is only reported to be voicing Scooby.  That either means that another actor will voice Fred or that Fred isn’t in it.  That’s possible as this movie is bringing in other Hanna-Barbera characters like Captain Caveman, voiced by Tracy Morgan, and the bad guy Dick Dastardly, so Fred and Daphne may be sitting this adventure out.

At least Lillard and Micucci will return as Shaggy and Velma on smaller screens, on the upcoming ‘Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?’, an updating of 1972’s ‘The New Scooby-Doo Movies’, which had a “guest-star of the week” format.  ‘Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?’ is confirmed to feature appearances from Batman, the Flash, Ricky Gervais, Halsey, Mark Hamill, Sherlock Holmes, Bill Nye, NBA player Chris Paul, Sia, Kenan Thompson, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Steve Urkel, and Wonder Woman.  This series will debut on the Boomerang streaming service and app later this year.

Check back for news about ‘Scooby’ as it is announced.