Linda Cardellini has responded to the recent news that her Scooby Doo character, Velma Dinkley, has come out as a lesbian.

The actress memorably played the iconic cartoon detective in two live-action blockbusters from James Gunn, Scooby Doo (2002) and Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004).

Also starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne Blake, Freddie Prinze Jr. as Fred Jones, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy Rogers and Neil Fanning as the titular character, both films have gained passionate cult followings.

Following years of speculation and confirmation by those who have worked on the character – including Gunn, who said he “tried” to make her openly lesbian in the 2002 blockbuster – Velma’s sexuality was finally explored in the brand new movie, Trick or Treat or Scooby Doo!.

A snippet from the film, which went viral on social media, saw Velma getting flustered when she meets costume designer Coco Diablo.

“And as promised, here are your Scooby Snaaaaa…” she says before going googly-eyed as her glasses fog up. “Jinkies,” she then declares.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cardellini expressed her joy over the recent news.

“Velma has been around since 1969; I just went trick or treating with my daughter and there were a lot of Velmas out there, so I love that she still has this place in culture that is sort of always active for decades,” she said.

“And I love – you know, I think it’s been hinted at so many times, and I think it’s great that it’s finally out there.”

Gunn, who is best known for directing the MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and its sequel (2017), wrote on Twitter in 2020 that Velma was “explicitly gay” in his “initial script”.

“But the studio just kept watering it down & watering it down, becoming ambiguous (the version shot), then nothing (the released version) & finally having a boyfriend (the sequel),” he revealed.

Gunn has made his feelings for the edited version clear in the decades since, explaining on Twitter: “The movie was originally meant to be PG-13 and was cut down to PG after, like, three parents were outraged at a test screening in Sacramento. The studio decided to go a more family-friendly route.

“Language and jokes and sexual situations were removed, including a kiss between Daphne and Velma. Cleavage was CGI’d over. But, thankfully, the farting remained. I thought at the time the rating change was a mistake.

“I felt like a lot of teens came out for the first film and didn’t get what they wanted (and didn’t come back for the sequel). But today I don’t know. So many young kids loved those movies, which is pretty cool.”

In her interview with EW, Cardellini said she would be on board for a third live-action Scooby Doo film.

“Oh god, yeah!” she responded when asked if she would be interested in reprising the role, adding: “I’m probably too old.”

Cardellini currently stars in Netflix’s dark comedy Dead to Me, which will return for a third and final season on 17 November.

Dead to Me has received universal critical acclaim since its release, with praise aimed at the chemistry between Christina Applegate and Cardellini’s characters, Jen and Judy.

The LGBTQ+ storyline in the second season between Judy and Michelle (Natalie Morales) also won significant praise from critics for – in the words of series creator Liz Feldman – “treating a burgeoning relationship between two women like it was totally normal.”

Watch the trailer for Dead to Me season three here or below.