Animation · Scooby Doo

Scooby Doo Canon

For a while I’ve been plotting a Scooby Doo fanfic in my head and it’s gotten me thinking a bit about where each respective Scooby Doo series fits into the other.

Scooby Doo, Where Are You! is definitely the motherboard that all series stem from so let’s assume that every series takes place after it barring a few exceptions. From Where Are You to 1988’s Reluctant Werewolf the various spin offs feel like a natural progression. In Where Are You! to The Scooby-Doo Show the gang isn’t doing much but driving around solving mysteries. 1979 sees the introduction of Scrappy Doo.

The second Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo show mixes things up some more by doing what some people considered the most unforgivable: the dropping of Fred, Daphne, and Velma. Story wise, we could explain this as the three of them going off to college. Outside sources put the gang as teenagers so going off to college wouldn’t be much of a stretch. Velma would definitely want to further her education, if she wanted she could probably get into an Ivy League with a major in some science career. Fred and Daphne both seem like they’d fit into a community college or state university.

The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show brings back Daphne after a four year absence and seems to have built herself up as a reporter and journalist. The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries provides us explanations for what Velma and Fred have been up to as an apprentice NASA scientist and aspiring author respectively.

The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo begins what I like to refer to as the Red Shirt Shaggy Era that occured in the mid eighties. After 13 Ghosts, Daphne again makes her departure leaving us with just Scooby, Shaggy, and Scrappy for the 87/88 telefilms though Reluctant Werewolf introduces us to Googie, Shaggy’s girlfriend. It’s not clear exactly how long Shaggy and Googie were dating and her character isn’t mentioned again.

And here’s where everything begins to branch off.

Scooby Doo on Zombie Island sees the reunion of Mystery Incorporated. The characters are clearly older now both in personality and looks. Scooby and Shaggy are retired, jumping from job to job and we can maybe assume that Scrappy has gone back to live with his parents. Velma’s now owns her own mystery book shop and seems to have retired from NASA. Fred and Daphne have teamed together for a successful television show that works well with Daphne’s past as a reporter.

Zombie Island treats this as the first encounter with real monsters which would negate 13 Ghosts and the three telefilms. However, you could bend this a bit to mean it’s the first encounter that has the whole gang together. Daphne’s pretty adamant in her quest to find a real ghost which would make sense if she had ran across them before and was now looking for proof. Scooby and Shaggy have cried wolf so many times they probably wouldn’t be believed when they say actually encountered ghosts.

The trend of running into supernatural beings continues into 2001 with Cyber Chase.

Let’s talk about the live action films now. The movies paint a picture of what might have been if Mystery Incorporated’s split had been more acrimonious. It again sells this as the gang’s first meeting with the real thing. It does borrow from The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries with Fred as an author and Velma in NASA though neither are set up as favorable as in New Mysteries. Here we can probably assume that Daphne did not join Shaggy and Scooby in solving mysteries but it does show that Scrappy Doo was with the gang at some point. For me this would mean that the live action movies could take place after the first Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo series.

I prefer to think of CN’s two TV movies as prequels to the 2002 movie and its sequel rather than a prequel for the series as a whole. If you squint, the actors for these films even kind of resemble their adult counterparts. This could also provide an excuse for Fred having black rather than blonde hair. In one of the deleted scenes there is a joke about the character dyeing his hair. It’s supposed to be a joke about how Freddie Prinze Jr. is not a natural blonde but it now works in context of the live action prequel movies.

Here’s our third big branch with the What’s New, Scooby-Doo? series. This would also encompass the DTV movies released from 2004 to 2009. All of these use similar animation styles and character designs and it’s easy to see them as being related to each other. What’s New also appears to take A Pup Named Scooby-Doo into its continuity with the episode “A Terrifying Round With A Menacing Clown” using the designs in a flashback to Velma’s 5th birthday party. The characters personalities also seem compliant if we apply some unseen character growth. The series also treats the gang as adults.

We’ve got ourselves a couple of twigs now. 2006 brings us Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! where Shaggy inherits a fortune. It’s a little less mystery and a bit more adventure and science-fiction based. It also uses an art style yet to have been seen in any other incarnation thus far. I haven’t watched much of the show but wikipedia brings up this: “In episode 8, there is one scene where actual footage from a few of the recent Scooby-Doo direct-to-video movies is used. Shaggy even converses about the events in that movie.” Make of that what you will.

The 1979 telefilm Scooby Doo Goes Hollywood sells the gang as actors in a show and it looks like they’re all friends. It’s not clear if any mystery solving happened at any point.

The two DTV movies Legend of the Vampire and Monster of Mexico go for a retro feel with the character designs though the characters are seen using modern technology. Legend of the Vampire also brings us the Hex Girls which connects it to both Witch’s Ghost and What’s New?.

The movies from 2010 to now seem headed in their own direction separate from any series current or previously airing.

Now this brings us to Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated. All signs point towards this one being a kind of alternate universe. The town of Coolsville that featured routinely in What’s New?, A Pup Named, and the live action movies is replaced with Crystal Cove, character personalities are stretched and exaggerated to new heights, and the series contains its own mythology and story arc that’s unique to itself.

If I were to fit the series into a kind of timeline here’s how I might do it:

Where Are You!
New Scooby Doo Movies
Scooby-Doo Show
Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (79-80)
Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (80-82)
The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show
The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries
13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo
Meet the Boo Brothers
Ghoul School
Reluctant Werewolf
Zombie Island
Witch’s Ghost
Alien Invaders
Cyber Chase

Or

A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
Where Are You!
What’s New
DTV movies from Loch Ness Monster to Samurai Sword

With Witch’s Ghost and Legend of the Vampire maybe fitting in there somewhere.

Or

The Mystery Begins
Curse of the Lake Monster
Where Are You!
New Scooby Doo Movies
Scooby-Doo Show
Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (79-80)
Scooby-Doo (2002)
Monsters Unleashed
What’s New barring the shout out to A Pup Named

The Scooby-Doo canon provides us with lots of possibilities timeline wise and you can pretty much borrow from any one series for characterization and continuity. I’d be interested in seeing a series that takes all incarnations into consideration to create one giant overrunning story/character arc.

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