The live-action spinoff from popular cartoon franchise Scooby-Doo, Daphne and Velma, is moving forward with an expected release in 2018. The animated adventures of Scooby-Doo and his sleuthing friends that make up the Mystery Inc. gang - including Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, and Velma Dinkley - kicked off in 1969 with the TV series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears for Hanna-Barbera Productions, the series followed the kids and their perpetually-afraid Great Dane as they solved supernatural mysteries, which usually turned out to be villainous people in masks.
The franchise has since expanded greatly to include a number of new animated series (with a current show on Cartoon Network titled Be Cool, Scooby-Doo), a whole slew of direct-to-video movies and TV specials, LEGO shorts, video games, comic books, and, of course, the two live-action adaptations of Scooby and the gang. A feature-length animated Scooby-Doo movie is currently in the works with an expected 2020 release date, and now a new live-action film is also confirmed to be moving forward.
Variety is reporting that the live-action prequel titled Daphne and Velma is moving forward from Jennifer and Ashley Tisdale's production company, Blondie Girl Productions, as well as Warner Bros. Television Group’s Blue Ribbon Content digital studio. The film will star Sarah Jeffrey (Shades of Blue, Descendants) as Daphne and Sarah Gilman (Last Man Standing) as Velma and is expected to be released in 2018. Suzi Yoonessi is directing Daphne and Velma from a script by Kyle Mack and Caitlin Meares.
According to Variety, Daphne and Velma follows the two teen sleuths prior to them teaming up with Fred, Shaggy, and Scooby. The girls become best friends online, and finally meet up when Daphne transfers to Velma's high school, Ridge Valley High. However, while their classmates are vying for the opportunity of interning for the school's tech billionaire benefactor Tobias Bloom, Daphne and Velma set out to solve the mystery of why Ridge Valley High's best and brightest students are disappearing and reappearing as zombie-fied versions of themselves.
This new live-action adaptation of Scooby-Doo is undoubtedly a different take on the long-standing franchise, with a focus on the two main female characters rather than on the group as a whole. Considering the trend of all-female or female-focused reboots of classic properties in recent years - including Ghostbusters and Ocean's 11 - this isn't necessarily a surprising direction for the Scooby-Doo universe. Still, with how beloved all the members of the Mystery Inc. gang are, it remains to be seen if any of the other mystery-solving teens show up in Daphne and Velma. Perhaps Fred, Shaggy, and Scooby will appear in a post-credits scene setting up a rebooted live-action franchise of Scooby-Doo.