After teasing a few images last Thursday, Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for Scoob!, its reboot of the Scooby-Doo franchise.
Many years in the making, this is the first theatrical feature starring the pooch and his pals since 2004’s hybrid Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. It’s also the first to be fully cg-animated.
Scoob! tells an origin story for Scooby-Doo, revealing how he came to meet his friend Shaggy as a homeless young pup. Having teamed up with Fred, Daphne, and Velma to form the crime-solving Mystery Inc., they become embroiled in a plot revolving around a ghost dog named Cerberus. In the process, they learn something about Scooby-Doo’s past that shocks everyone — including the Great Dane himself.
The film is the latest in a string of franchise reboots that give a beloved animated character a shiny cg makeover — a risky move, as reactions to the Sonic the Hedgehog trailer reminded us. The team behind Scoob! has taken pains to keep fans happy by making minimal changes to Iwao Takamoto’s iconic character designs, as this Variety report explains.
Still, changes of even the most minor variety are fodder for the internet rage machine. When the first images were revealed last week, many social media users criticized the look of Fred, who is the most significantly redesigned of the key cast, and questioned why his ascot was missing. Now that the trailer is out, it’s clear that the biggest change to the classic format is Scooby-Doo himself, who speaks in complete and coherent sentences rather than his trademark broken-sentence style that gave his speech an animal-like quality. The switch in Scooby’s speech style changes his personality in a big way, and it remains to be seen how the evolution will be received by fans, though younger audiences may not care at all since the character isn’t particularly well known by today’s kids.
Scoob!s director is Tony Cervone, a Warner Animation veteran who’s been closely involved with the Scooby-Doo franchise over the years, and knows a thing or two about what made it a hit in the first place. Warner Animation Group is producing the film, but Reel FX, which is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is handling the animation under Bill Haller’s supervision, with much of the animation being produced out of the company’s Montreal studio.
The Variety report quoted Cervone: “When Iwao [Takamoto] created Scooby Doo, he wanted to create a very charming dog that was full of personality but wasn’t perfect. So he got a book, found out what are the rules for a championship Great Dane. Then he broke every rule… You have to listen to the characters, because they will tell you what they want to do. Scooby and Shaggy just kept telling us: ‘I just want to be Scooby and Shaggy.’”
Frank Welker, who was the original voice of Fred Jones in the 1969 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! tv series, will voice Scooby-Doo, as he has done since 2002, and Will Forte will join him as Shaggy. The cast also includes Zac Efron (Fred Jones), Gina Rodriguez (Velma Dinkley), and Amanda Seyfried (Daphne Blake), as well as Tracy Morgan, Ken Jeong, Kiersey Clemons, Mark Wahlberg, and Jason Isaacs.
The film will open in the U.S. on May 15, 2020.