Posters for HBO’s Velma just recalled a little-remembered part of Scooby-Doo canon: Shaggy’s real name. With the upcoming series set to take the franchise in a new direction and explore the origins of the Scooby Gang, it seems Shaggy’s backstory will be one such adjustment. While the apparent revelation is likely a surprise for many, though, Shaggy’s name in Velma is not a new invention, as the character’s full name has been known for many decades.
The adult Scooby-Doo spinoff will be missing some franchise staples, including the iconic Mystery Inc. van and even Scooby himself. Earlier this year, Warner Bros. executive Tom Ascheim explained that this re-imagining is set “in a different world” and features the other “four key characters through a different lens” (via The Mary Sue). The show will focus primarily on Velma, voiced by co-creator Mindy Kaling, but will still feature Fred, Daphne, and Shaggy, the last of whom will be a little less recognizable in both appearance and name.
Among the show’s changes to canon is the portrayal of Shaggy as a person of color. According to his character poster promoting Velma, he is also going to be referred to by his real name: Norville Rogers. Hardcore fans will remember that Shaggy’s last name, Rogers, was revealed in Marvel’s Scooby-Doo comics in the late 1970s — nearly a decade after the franchise began in 1969 — and has been cartoon canon since 1983. His first name, Norville, first appeared in the late 1980s animated series A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, which depicted the Mystery Gang as young children. Shaggy’s real name was chosen by producer Tom Ruegger and was based on Oliver Norvell Hardy, one-half of the iconic comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.
Why Shaggy Doesn’t Go By Norville In Scooby-Doo
Norville Rogers has almost never gone by his true first name in Scooby-Doo movies and cartoons, largely because “Shaggy” is a much more fitting name for the character. Known for his signature green v-neck t-shirt and brown bell-bottom pants, as well as his insatiable appetite, he gets his nickname from his shaggy hair, rough goatee, and baggy clothes. Like the rest of the Mystery Inc. gang, Shaggy was originally based on a character from the 1960s sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Specifically, his personality and appearance were inspired by Maynard G. Krebs, Dobie’s hippie sidekick played by Bob Denver and known for his beatnik goatee, laziness, rejection of authority, and persistent use of the word “like.”
While the character doesn’t go by Norville in Scooby-Doo‘s earliest iterations simply because the name hadn’t been decided yet, the Shaggy nickname has also just become synonymous with the character because it is a perfect fit, aptly describing his physical appearance and lazy personality. While the already controversial Velma series is adding to the fuss by primarily referring to Shaggy by his real name, there is a possibility the character will grow into his famous nickname as the R-rated Scooby-Doo show progresses.