For those of a certain age, many will remember the two live-action adaptations of the Scooby-Doo animations for the big screen, 2002’s Scooby-Doo and 2004’s Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. Starring one of the era’s most prominent power couples, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Fred and Daphne, and Matthew Lillard and Linda Cardellini as Shaggy and Velma, the films did an acceptable job of staying faithful to the subject material whilst also adding an original edge. Before anyone else, this achievement can be credited to James Gunn.
Although Gunn is now famous for being the man behind the Guardians of the Galaxy films and other cuts such as Slither and Super, what many people forget is that before he was a director, Gunn was a screenwriter first and foremost. Scooby-Doo, the first of the Mystery Inc. films, was his most successful at the time, despite it receiving generally negative reviews from critics. Since then, though, it has become a cult classic, with the Melvyn Doo character being a highlight of this.
One of the film’s major highlights was that Scooby-Doo’s nephew, Scrappy-Doo, was the real villain in a colossus twist towards the end. Although it is now iconic, at the time, it was polarising for long-time and younger fans of the show who liked the character. However, there was a reason for the energetic little runt going over to the dark side — James Gunn harbours a great deal of hatred for him.
Famously, Scrappy-Doo was introduced into the Scooby-Doo TV show back in 1979 as means of stemming falling ratings, and for a time, it fulfilled the memo. Before too long, though, he became the source of resentment for fans, as his cries of “Puppy Power!” made them cringe, thinking that he should have stayed as a distant relative of Scooby and not a more prominent character.
It seems that as a child, James Gunn was one of those who hated Scrappy-Doo, and it’s something he has struggled to recover from. Gunn wasted no time in making his thoughts clear on the character over the years. Once, when asked on Twitter why he made Scrappy a villain, he responded in no uncertain terms: “Because Scrappy is just a completely fucking awful person.”
In another interview, he said: “He’s a little piece of shit. I have had a few little kids who were very, very upset though. Sorry kids?”
Interestingly, his most damning account of Scrappy came in an interview with Fan Boy Planet in the run-up to Scooby-Doo‘s release. The interviewer said, “please”, tell him that Scrappy would not make an appearance in the movie, and understandably Gunn avoided his question but maintained: “I can tell you I hate the little motherf****r with all my heart and soul.”
It is safe to say that Gunn did a stellar job in destroying Scrappy-Doo. His character is an unhinged egomaniac that could not have been further from the well-meaning one in the TV show, with the flashback showing the gang ditching him a representation of what Gunn and so many other fans wanted to happen to him all of those years ago. This flashback also contains a scene where he urinates on Daphne and attempts to stage an internal coup in the gang, showing just how heinous James Gunn really believes Scrappy-Doo is.