I’ll preface this by saying that I have a lot of appreciation for Matthew Lillard. I think the guy is an incredibly underrated actor. Of course we all know how wonderfully over the top he is in the first “Scream,” but since then he’s gone on to have great appearances in things like “The Bridge,” “Bosch,” and I hear great things about his role in “Twin Peaks.” By all accounts he also seems like a genuinely nice guy. So yeah, maybe I’m a little biased, but I honestly think Warner Bros just did the man dirty.
Just about everyone remembers that Matthew Lillard played Shaggy in the live action versions of “Scooby-Doo” that were put out in 2002 and 2004. But what some people might not know is that Lillard has become the defacto voice of the character as well.
Casey Kasem was the original voice of Shaggy Rogers from 1969 until 1997 when he semi-retired. He came back for a few special occasions, but the batton had essentially been passed. Since then a few other voice actors had stepped into the role, but it wasn’t until 2010 when Matthew Lillard returned to the role that the character found its new voice.
Since then Lillard has voiced Shaggy in 34 different projects including TV shows, direct-to-DVD movies, and video games. He even has a new TV movie and series coming out this year where he voices Shaggy. So he is very much still THE voice of Shaggy.
And yet, for some reason, Warner Bros has decided to replace him for the upcoming big screen animated “Scooby-Doo” movie. THR recently reported that a new animated Scooby-Doo movie was in the works. The whole cast hasn’t been revealed yet, but one of the big announcements was that Will Forte will be voicing Shaggy in the film.
Okay, don’t get me wrong, I think Will Forte is great and has done hilarious work in the past. But why would you pick Will Forte over the guy that has been doing the voice for the last nine years? It’s not like the Forte name carries a lot of weight. More people won’t see this movie because it has Will Forte’s name attached instead of Matthew Lillard’s.
Then to add insult to injury, Lillard found out about the news the same way the rest of us did.
Well this sucks.
What a crappy way to find out…. thanks Hollywood. You never sense to amaze me. https://t.co/QDdlMAqlrZ
— matthew lillard (@MatthewLillard) March 2, 2019
I know Hollywood is just a cold unrelenting machine, but you would think that the news would somehow make its way to Lillard. Or he would at least get a heads up saying: “Hey, yeah, don’t get your hopes up about being in this project.”
And while I’m going on and on about Lillard, he isn’t the only voice connected to “Scooby-Doo.” Fred and Scooby have been voiced by Frank Welker almost since the beginning (he started doing Scooby in the 200os). Thankfully, Frank will be continuing to play Scooby, but no word on him playing Fred. Velma has had a spotty history of voice actors, but Kate Micucci has been doing most of her voice work since 2016. However, there is another longtime voice actor losing out because of this news.
While Matthew Lillard has been synonymous with Shaggy since 2010, Grey DeLisle has been tied to the world of “Scooby-Doo” since 2001. Grey DeLisle has long been the voice of Daphne. Think about how long that is. That’s before Matthew Lillard landed the live action role of Shaggy. Next to Frank Welker, she’s the longest reigning current “Scooby-Doo” voice actor. And it doesn’t sound like she’s getting any better treatment based on this Tweet.
Truly heartbreaking. I feel like they should have used celebs in the supporting cast but kept the original gang. People want to hear the voices they grew up with. At least they kept Frankie. #ScoobyDooMovie https://t.co/m9dgPedNaJ
— Grey DeLisle-Griffin (@GreyDeLisle) March 2, 2019
If this were a live action movie, it’d be understandable if they were casting different people. But for an animated feature it’s truly bizarre. I don’t want to hear Will Forte’s scratchy voice impression of Matthew Lillard, I just want to hear him do the voice. I’ve listened to Grey be Daphne for eighteen years, the minute I hear some actress in that role I’m just gonna hear the actress and not Daphne.
I know Lillard, DeLisle, and Micucci don’t own those characters and Warner Bros is free to do what they want, but it just seems so unnecessarily disrespectful. It’s like if your boss came to you and said “Hey, we’re not gonna fire you, but we’re gonna hire someone to do the exact same job you’re doing right now and they get to be on a bigger platform. Also, they might get paid a little more than you do. But be sure to keep doing the work you’re doing cause this new hire definitely won’t do it.”
Now imagine that same scenario happening, except no one had the decency to tell you in advance.
Where’s the loyalty Warner Bros? Obviously it’s too late to do the right thing, since the actors have already been cast, but it’s time voice actors started getting more respect and recognition for their work. It shouldn’t be so easy to disregard the history and passion someone invested into a character. Especially at a place like Warner Bros where so much of its history and current day success is built off of animation.