The Ghosts of Scooby Content Past: Developed Scooby-Doo Series and Films that Were Never Finished
There's a lot of Scooby content out there that entered production, but was ultimately never shown to the world. From an official Scooby film fully animated in anime style to a movie that would have essentially been the result of mashing-up two DTV ideas into one, there's so much Scooby content we could have seen but never got to. Many of these ideas aren't necessarily common knowledge, so I wanted to highlight all of them in this post. The scope of this article only covers projects that were started and never completed, not existing projects that were significantly reworked (such as SCOOB! for example, which, fun fact, was originally going to be written by Be Cool writer Jon Colton Barry). I'm approaching this article as a new project that is a work-of-progress, rather than a finalized post. If there's any Scooby content that you're aware of that was officially confirmed to have entered development that I don't have here, please feel free to let me know and provide a link to a reliable source where you saw the info!
Of course, we have to start with all the original versions of the show that Scooby could have been. The first of these was House of Mystery, which was heavily based on The Archie Show, which was popular at the time. The series would have featured Geoff, Mike, Kelly, Linda, and Linda's brother W.W., along with their dog Too Much, who played the bongo drums. Collectively, they made up the band Mysteries Five. Too Much was a large sheepdog, intended to have a resemblance to the Archies' dog Hot Dog. However, this was rejected because it was felt to be a ripoff of Marmaduke, and it was changed to a Great Dane. Later on, the show was changed to be more based on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis as opposed to The Archie Show. The title of the show was changed to Mysteries Five, the name of the teenagers' band. There was later one more title change to Who's S-S-Scared? after the kids' names were changed to reflect what we know them to be know: Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby. However, the show was rejected by CBS president Fred Stanton due to being too scary for young viewers. Thus, as we know, after some revisions the show was changed into what we now know as Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?.
Did you know we could have had a live-action Scooby-Doo series in the 1970s? In my interview with Duane Poole in September 2021, he revealed that a very basic idea for a live-action show was pitched back in the 1970s. A screen test was performed for the concept, with Duane as Shaggy.
A multi-universe series called Hanna-Barbera Babies was once pitched by Iwao Takamoto after the success of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo in 1991, but was ultimately never picked up.
Scott Jeralds apparently pitched a series featuring Scooby's son according to an interview with the Unmasked Scooby-Doo Podcast, but it was declined in favor of What's New, Scooby-Doo?.
Instead of Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster in 2004, we could have gotten a very different Scooby-Doo DTV. The original plan was to release a movie fully in anime style! In an interview with AWN, animation writer Tad Stones shared that after he left Disney, he wrote a script for WB titled Scooby-Doo and the Anime Invasion. However, the idea didn't get too far because parents didn't find the concept appealing. "Evidently kids loved the concept but moms weren't sure about it." Stones shared in the interview.
A third movie in the Gunn live action film series was reportedly being written by Dan Forman and Paul Forley. However, the film was cancelled due to Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed not performing as well as hoped. James Gunn tweeted the plot in 2020, which was the gang going to Scotland to rid a town of monsters, but they discover the monsters are actually the victims.
On a similar note, Brian Levant, who made the 2009 and 2010 live action films, said in an interview that if there would have been a third film, it would have been titled Scooby-Doo's Zany Time Travelin' Christmas Adventure. Another idea Levant had for a film revolved around Irish fairy tales.
After What's New, Scooby-Doo?, we also could have had an entire series with the animation of the intro for Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra Doo. In 2004, talks had begun for what the next Scooby series would be following What's New. Dexter Smith was asked by WB to create designs for this series, but ultimately, WB went with Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue instead. However, the designs thankfully didn't go to waste. In 2009, Tony Cervone and Spike Brandt remembered Dexter Smith's designs and repurposed them in Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra Doo. Dexter discussed it in a blog post which has unfortunately been taken off the Internet, but the content can still be found at an archived version of the site. Here are some of Dexter's designs:
The resumé of art director Ted Blackman informs us that Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire and Big Top Scooby-Doo were originally one movie, titled Scooby-Doo and the Circus of Vampires. Presumably, this was changed due to it being too similar to the 1972 horror film Vampire Circus and the plot was divided into two films.
In an interview, the voice of Velma from Scooby-Doo Adventures: The Mystery Map, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, mentioned that she believed the puppet film was meant to be a pilot for a potential series, but the series never entered development.
Jon Colton Barry has shared that he originally planned to write an episode of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! featuring the Hex Girls. In addition, the Halloween episode was originally supposed to feature Scrappy. However, the episode was scrapped because WB wanted to do two 11-minute shorts instead. Apparently, according to the article The Hex Girls, How a Fictional Rock Band Become Cult, Queer, Girl Power Icons, Rick Copp also gets called from time to time about a Hex Girls spinoff that never took off.
On January 6, 2022, character designer Tracy Mark Lee revealed on his Instagram page that there was originally going to be episodes of Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? featuring Mel Brooks and Dolly Parton. He also shared that Stephen Silver had drawn character designs for Dolly and Mel, posting Dolly's on that same day. A few weeks later, on January 25, 2022, Tracy posted Mel's design on his Instagram account as well. The episode ideas were never used, because both celebrities politely declined the roles.
In addition, according to a Scoobypedia interview with Chris Bailey, an episode featuring Michael Phelps and Jabberjaw, and a King Kong parody with Grape Ape were also considered. Presumably, the Grape Ape/King Kong episode would have been "The Lost Mines of Kilimanjaro!".
A follow-up to SCOOB! titled Scoob! Holiday Haunt was announced on December 22, 2021 by Tony Cervone on Instagram, after previously being hinted in an interview in June. The film was set to be directed by Michael Kurinsky and Bill Haller, written by Tony Cervone and Paul Dini, and produced by Tony Cervone and Mitchell Ferm. The cast who voiced the young gang in the original SCOOB! (Frank Welker, Iain Armitage, Ariana Greenblatt, McKenna Grace, and Pierce Gagnon) were all set to reprise their roles. Mark Hamill, Cristo Fernandez, Michael McKean, Andre Braugher, and Ming-Na Wen also were a part of the cast. A test screening for the film occurred in April, and we also got a first look at the film on April 6, 2022. However, on August 2, 2022, after production had nearly been finished, the film was suddenly cancelled due to a shakeup in WB leadership with the Discovery merged. The new CEO of Warner Discovery, David Zaslav, cancelled the film citing his desire to move WB towards a more cost-effective theatrical model of films, and citing that he felt streaming projects were not as profitable. The film was still screened to the cast and crew, according to Iain Armitage on Instagram. The film was completed on November 5, 2022. Here is what would have been the description for the film:
To celebrate Scooby Doo's first Christmas, 10-year-old Shaggy and the gang take him to a holiday-themed resort owned by Fred's favorite Uncle Ned. When the park is beset by a ghostly haunting, the kids must solve a 40-year-old mystery to save the resort and show Scooby the true meaning of Christmas.
In November 2022, an Amazon listing revealed a possible new Scooby film titled Scooby-Doo and the Haunted High Rise. However, in an interview, the director stated that it was cancelled due to tax write-offs.
On May 23, 2022, it was announced that a new series, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Pups, would air on the Cartoonito block of HBO Max. The series was set to center around Shaggy and Scooby serving as camp counselors for three puppies, whom they teach their mystery solving skills to. The three puppies appeared to be stand-ins for Velma, Fred and Daphne. However, on March 3, 2023, one of the show's writers Roger Eschbacher announced that the show had lost its distribution rights with HBO Max, meaning that it is cancelled.
While it's a shame that we never got to see the finished products of any of these films or episodes, it's really neat that some of them ultimately were repurposed, like the Circus of Vampires film and Dexter Smith's designs being repurposed for the intro of Abracadabra Doo. If anyone happens to stumble across any other Scooby projects that were developed but never released, please feel free to share them along with a reliable source of where you found it. I consider this to be a working project rather than a finalized article, so I plan to continue updating this whenever any new info about unreleased, developed Scooby series or films is found!
7/5/2022 07:43:26 am
Didn't JCB also want to bring in Scrappy for an episode of BCSD too?
7/5/2022 10:52:42 am
Hahaha Fred definitely looks cursed with brown hair. Yeah, the Abracadabra Doo designs weren't great, but I guess if Be Cool taught me anything, it's not to judge something by the animation before seeing it first.
7/5/2022 09:57:52 am
Maybe I’m wrong but I thought that the intro of Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra Doo and the intro of Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright had the same character designs.
7/5/2022 10:50:35 am
I think you're right that they were the same, or pretty similar. I haven't seen that film in a long time so I hadn't remembered that.
7/5/2022 11:32:22 am
The intro of Legend of the Phantosaur also had the same designs and animation style.
7/5/2022 07:56:32 pm
Ah that's right, I forgot how many films from that era used that animation style during the intro.
7/5/2022 09:58:49 am
Scott Jeralds pitched a spin-off with Scooby's son, but it was ditched in favour of What's New, Scooby-Doo?
7/5/2022 09:59:36 am
The Jeralds pitch was mentioned in the Unmasked History of Scooby-Doo podcast.
7/5/2022 10:54:33 am
I had no idea about the Scott Jeralds pitch with Scooby's son! That would have been bizarre haha. I'll add that to the post soon!
7/5/2022 01:20:03 pm
Yeah, I don't know why he's suddenly saying that the Hex Girls were never really on the table, after saying that they would've been, if it weren't for being cut for those 11 minute shorts. His original response was too specific to be untrue.
7/5/2022 01:00:09 pm
Taking away a Hex Girls episode in favorite of the two 11 minute episodes, including Pizza O Possums, is quite possibly the most angering decision Cartoon Network has made in a LONG time lol
7/5/2022 03:17:39 pm
Cartoon Network had washed their hands of BCSD after the 21st episode. The decision was made by Warner Bros. Animation.
7/5/2022 04:08:31 pm
Ah my bad, just insert Warner Bros where it says Cartoon Network
7/5/2022 07:51:43 pm
Yeah, that was my least favorite episode of Be Cool. It felt quite rushed to me and the characters felt kind of off from their typical selves.
7/6/2022 11:33:01 am
Zac Moncrief already said The Hex Girls were supposed to appear, need to find the source.
7/6/2022 11:36:43 am
7/6/2022 05:28:02 pm
Thank you! I will add this to the post soon.
7/5/2022 01:24:04 pm
In 1991, Iwao Takamoto redesigned several Hanna-Barbera characters as babies, including Scooby, for a series called Hanna-Barbera Babies or just Babies, as the latter is in quote marks. https://comics.ha.com/itm/animation-art/concept-art/hanna-barbera-babies-presentation-piece-original-art-hanna-barbera-1991-/a/121811-13183.s
7/5/2022 07:55:18 pm
I had no idea this was something they were considering. It's really interesting they were thinking about making another series with Scooby being young right after Pup. Or maybe the success of Pup/Flintstone Kids inspired the idea for the Hanna-Barbera Babies show?
7/5/2022 07:02:51 pm
Rick Copp was actually close to writing a Hex Girls spin-off, and apparently gets called every now and then about it.
7/5/2022 07:55:54 pm
Now that you say it, I feel like I've read about that. Wasn't aware he still got calls about it though. That would be amazing if we got a Hex Girls series!
7/5/2022 09:11:56 pm
I feel that Tad Stones was ahead of his time with Anime Invasion, since WB ended up doing Mask of the Blue Falcon.
7/5/2022 10:20:01 pm
I hadn't thought about that, but you make a great point!
7/6/2022 12:36:11 am
There's still time for Daphne to get a workout spinoff 💜
7/6/2022 10:02:12 pm
I made all of the updates to this post.
7/10/2022 06:33:47 am
The HB Babies and the series about Scooby's son sound (and look, in the former's case) good tbh. The latter would be very interesting to see.
7/10/2022 12:49:25 pm
I agree that those could be interesting, especially if the former was done as well as A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.
7/16/2022 11:27:25 pm
If What’s New Scooby Doo had that animation, I wonder if the fans would’ve accepted it with no problem. Honestly I would’ve.
7/17/2022 12:47:27 pm
I would have too, the writing for WNSD was solid!
8/7/2022 11:35:53 pm
Wow these are all so interesting! I didn't know most of them. I'm okay that a lot of these didn't happen, but I wish Dexter Smith's designed follow up to What's New had happened instead of Get A Clue, because I like those designs way more and at least it seemed like it would feature the whole gang more consistently. And the anime film would have been interesting to see. If the kids liked it, they should have done it. Darn moms ruining everything. And I wish the SCOOB! sequel wasn't canceled because it sounds really cute and with them being kids the whole time, the voice cast thing is easier to swallow.
8/8/2022 09:11:43 am
I'm one of the few Scooby fans that's a fan of Get a Clue, so I'm okay that we didn't get Dexter Smith's follow-up. I wish we could have seen the anime film too. Darn moms lol. Yeah, the Scoob! sequel sounded so cute and I would have liked to see more of them as kids. Yes! I wish we could get a Hex Girls spin-off! Hopefully it happens someday.
9/27/2022 09:03:56 pm
So they actually finished making holiday haunt but they arent going to release it? How is that cost effective lol.
9/28/2022 10:29:54 am
It's confusing to me too haha, but the explanation I've heard is that it allows WB to take this as a tax write-off? I'm not sure how that works, but I agree with you it would logically make more sense to release it since they've put all that money into it and nearly finished it.
3/19/2023 02:07:08 pm
If WB-Discovery considers that theatrical films are more profitable, does this mean that we will never have DTV again?
3/19/2023 05:05:02 pm
I wouldn't go quite that far. There's no way to know what will happen after WB's financial situation improves, so I am hopeful we will get more DTVs in the future.
3/27/2023 01:09:10 pm
In this video it is mentioned that a crossower between Scooby-Doo and Looney Tunes was planned, but was cancelled.
3/27/2023 02:14:55 pm
That's a bummer! I was never into Looney Tunes but I know a lot of people are, so it's a bummer that it was cancelled.
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