It’s a familiar story: Beloved show gets canceled. Devoted viewers freak out. Creators float the possible idea of a movie adaptation to calm everyone down. Then nothing happens.
As you may know by now, in the case of UPN/CW’s cult-fave teen noir “Veronica Mars,” there was a new twist to that old tale. Last year, Thomas launched a campaign on the crowd-sourcing Web site Kickstarter. Within 10 hours, the record-breaking project had its goal of $2 million. In total, the project raised over $5.7 million with over 91,500 financial backers — the most backers of any project in the site’s history. A year later, fans are finally able up to see the “Veronica Mars” feature film they helped bring to life.
Given that the film has a wide release and is available for digital download the same day, there are surely some people forced to see the movie with rabid fans who have memorized every episode (there were 64 total over three seasons) and will know every single one of the movie’s sly references and inside jokes.
And yes — there quite a few inside jokes in the movie, many of which will fly over the heads of those unfamiliar with the series. But even if you’ve never seen a single episode (or you’re a fan that has forgotten everything that happened, since the series wrapped up seven years ago), here’s everything you need to do to fully appreciate the unusual journey that is the “Veronica Mars” movie.
What’s the show about?
Set in the beach town of Neptune, Calif., Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) was your everyday high school junior until her world was shattered when her best friend, Lilly (Amanda Seyfried), was murdered. Veronica’s father, sheriff Keith Mars, accused Lilly’s father of killing his own daughter; that turned out to be untrue, and Keith was kicked out of office. The Mars family became pariahs in the community; Veronica lost all her friends and her alcoholic mom couldn’t forgive Keith and skipped town.
With all of that going on, Veronica was no longer a wide-eyed innocent teen: She became feisty, spitfire teenage sleuth, as she decided the only way to get through her grief and rage was to solve Lilly’s murder. She started working at her dad’s newly-opened P.I. agency, and between the season-long arc of finding out who killed Lilly, she solved cases for her classmates and other people of Neptune. The next two seasons followed the same format, though Veronica went off to college in Season 3.
In an interview with The Post, creator Rob Thomas explained one of his main ideas for the core of the series was Bell to play Veronica as the character who had briefly gotten a taste the high life, running in the popular crowd as the cute girl whose father was the sheriff — before everything fell apart. “Once she lost that status and she went on the outs, I wanted her to become the hero of the working class,” Thomas said.
Where did the show leave off?
The series finale seemed more like a season finale. It was unsatisfactorily open-ended and left many unresolved issues. Last we saw, Veronica she was a freshman studying criminology at Hearst College in California. A sex tape of her and boyfriend Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell) mysteriously surfaced. Neptune’s resident bad boy and Veronica’s ex-boyfriend Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) assumed Piz was the culprit and beat him to a pulp.
Once it was revealed that a secret collegiate society (modeled after Yale’s Skull and Bones) was actually behind the tape, Veronica became furious at Logan. She tells Logan their friendship is over and wants nothing to do with him, thus seemingly choosing the sweet, levelheaded Piz over her former, long-time flame (continuing an epic love triangle that picks up in the movie).
Vengeful, Veronica hunts down the secret society and stages a break-in at a billionaire’s mansion to collect evidence on the association’s members. While escaping the residence, she is caught by security cameras. Her father, former private eye and current sheriff Keith Mars, protects her identity by destroying the surveillance footage and, by doing so, jeopardizes his re-election campaign. The final scene shows Veronica casting a ballot for her dad in the sheriff election and walking off alone, seemingly debating whether her sleuthing has caused more harm than good.
Wasn’t there a trailer making the rounds online that showed Veronica as a FBI agent?
Indeed there was: At the end of the series, creator Rob Thomas’ pitched a fourth season pilot featuring Veronica as a rookie FBI agent and a whole new cast of characters. But the network didn’t bite.
Which stars from the show will be in the movie?
Veronica’s father (Enrico Colantoni), former sheriff-turned-P.I. Keith Mars, returns. Her high school best friends, basketball star Wallace Fennel (Percy Daggs III) and tech-genius Cindy “Mac” Mackenzie (Tina Majorino) are all back. Major characters, including her on-again-off-again biker pal Eli “Weevil” Navarro (Francis Capra), high school bully and frat star Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen) and her archenemy Madison Sinclair (Amanda Noret) also make appearances.
What past recurring stars might make cameos?
Max Greenfield, of “New Girl” fame will reprise his role as Veronica’s sort of ex, the ever-charming sheriff’s deputy Leo D’Mato. Krysten Ritter, star of the short-lived series “Don’t Trust the B—– in Apt. 23,” returns as the ditzy Gia Goodman.
Big-name celebrities that made guest star appearances on the series but will not be returning for the film include: Jessica Chastain, Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Paul, Alyson Hannigan, Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Leighton Meester, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, Dianna Agron and Paris Hilton.
What’s this love triangle I keep hearing about?
It’s Team Logan vs. Team Piz: Piz (Lowell) is more stable, secure and reliable, but Veronica’s rapport and sizzling chemistry with Logan (Dohring) is off the charts. Logan is usually the favorite to win this battle, winning many fans over in season two with a speech on how their love was truly “epic.”
Are there any episodes I should watch to catch up?
With all the tangled storylines, that might be tough; but you may want to catch “Mars vs. Mars,” Season 1, episode 14. That introduces Carrie Bishop and Susan Knight, side characters at the time, though they wind up having a pretty integral roles in the movie. (All episodes are streaming on Amazon Prime.)
Where can I watch the movie?
It’s in select theaters, and will also be available on iTunes, Amazon and various on-demand cable systems starting on Friday, March 14.
Bonus question: Why does everyone keeping talking about “Veronica Mars” and marshmallows?
A “Marshmallow” is a superfan of the show. The nickname comes from a pun made by her sidekick Wallace in the series pilot. He jokes that despite her rough-and-tough exterior, he still finds her to be soft and sentimental on the inside. “Underneath that angry young woman shell, there’s a slightly less angry young woman,” he jests. “You’re a marshmallow, Veronica Mars … a Twinkie!”
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