One of the original Hanna-Barbera cartoons and perhaps, the best Hanna-Barbera productions, Scooby-Doo is an animated show that started in 1969 with Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. Following its initiation, this animated series has been one of the most popular cartoons ever, and is something that everyone falls in love with. In fact, Scooby-Doo is one of those cartoons that has had so many revivals with multiple live-action adaptations and different series like What’s New, Scooby-Doo? and Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?. Most of these series and films include the original mystery gang. There are a few exceptions like The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, which excludes Velma and Fred, but includes Scooby’s tiny nephew, Scrappy-Doo.
Many series and films with the same characters mean that the character will go through certain changes. However, what is interesting about this particular cartoon is that the audience gets to learn more about the characters with these revivals. So, this article has ranked the mystery gang by taking into regard their original introductions as well as their changes and developments.
With his blonde hair and his signature outfit, which includes an orange scarf and a blue and white shirt with blue pants, Fred was originally voiced by Don Messick. The striking feature about Fred is that he is conventionally handsome and also quite brave and strong. He comes off as the leader of Mystery, Inc. Throughout the years, Fred’s character has remained as the one who comes up with a plan, with his catchphrase being “let’s split up, gang”. Another notable feature about Fred is his obsession with the Mystery Machine, which is a symbol of the cartoon. However, his character has also undergone certain changes. For example, in the movie, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo Fred reveals that he was away at cheer camp and goes on to do a little cheer routine. This can be seen as his character stepping away from the ideology of binarized gender and thus, the movie might be breaking stereotypes using Fred’s character arc. Fred might be the last on the list since viewers find his obsession with taking charge a bit annoying at times; nevertheless, he is still an important piece of the gang.
Considered the smartest of the gang, Velma portrays the idea of a nerdy girl who is able to crack down on any challenge and figure out things easily. She was originally voiced by Nichole Jaffe. Velma is easily recognizable due to her orange outfit and her glasses, which she tends to lose quite often. What is interesting about this character is that there have been many shockers in terms of Velma’s personality. One is in Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed, where Velma (Linda Cardellini) is seen getting nervous around Patrick Wisely and attempting to woo him. Unfortunately, this is definitely not a route the audience expected Velma to take as she is always confident. Moreover, James Gunn intended her to be “explicitly gay” instead of losing her confidence in front of a boy. Perhaps, the new spin-off on Velma might do this character more justice.
This is one of the characters with the most brilliant character development over time. Initially, Daphne was portrayed as someone who was merely beautiful and stylish. In fact, as argued by Ashleigh House, Daphne starts off as a damsel in distress, a very sexist trope that dumbs down women, but over the years, she has become one of the strongest characters and is a black belt. In fact, in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, she takes the lead and leaves Velma and Fed shocked. Of course, Daphne is a fashion icon with her purple outfit and green scarf. However, if one were to analyze this character, one would be able to see that she has a very motherly nature simply due to the very caring nature towards Scooby and Shaggy. Moreover, she is quite smart and has her own set of tricks.
Shaggy is portrayed as the foil to Fred. He is definitely the perfect image of a scared cat. Always reluctant to chase monsters and engage in mysteries, and always hungry, Shaggy is definitely too pure for this world. With his childish nature and his ability to get into trouble, this character’s physique goes on to depict his personality. Nonetheless, what makes Shaggy an absolute favorite is his naiveness and his innocence. Moreover, Shaggy might be the human form of a puppy as he is very much like Scooby and is easy to be tricked using Scooby snacks. Matthew Lillard’s live-action performance of Shaggy was on-point as he did not fail to capture his goofiness. This character has remained the same over the years, but that only makes fans fall in love with him more.
The star of the show, Scooby-Doo is undoubtedly everyone’s favorite character from the cartoon. This Great-Dane is not like any other Great-Danes. Generally, Great-Danes are superb home guardians and can be rough on intruders. However, Scooby is the opposite of all this. Similar to his best friend, Shaggy, Scooby is scared of mystery hunts and monsters. This feature has not changed throughout the years. Scooby is also naive, pure, and one of the best Hanna-Barbera characters ever. He is also the jester of the gang, but this, of course, is due to his clumsiness. Just like his owner, Scooby is always hungry and would do anything for Scooby snacks. Perhaps, the only smart attribute of this character is his humane-like qualities, which include the ability to talk and act like a human. At the end of the day, this protagonist of the show steals the thunder every single time, and is like the child of the Mystery, Inc.