“You want to see a girl who’s fighting for good. You want to see a superhero without a cape who has nothing at her fingertips but her wit and her intellect.”–Kristen Bell
“I hope we’re still friends after I taser you.” –Veronica Mars
A long time ago, we used to be friends, but then you got canceled. Veronica Mars went off the air 11 years ago after only three seasons. And yet, the show’s followers, known as Marshmallows, joined in a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 to get a film version made. We definitely think of you often, Veronica! That wasn’t even the first time fans tried to keep the series going; they are unquestionably one of the most loyal fan bases in TV. From its quick-wit and sarcasm to sometimes heavy storylines, this show had something for just about everyone. And with talk of a season four (!) revival coming in 2019, we couldn’t help but look back at all the wonderful and wacky ways Veronica came into our lives and surprised us with her strong personality and unwavering ability to get to the bottom of things. Without further ado, here are 24 hardboiled facts about Veronica Mars.
24. Veronica by Any Other Name
Our leading lady was almost a guy. Somehow, the show doesn’t quite feel like it would be the same without our feisty Veronica in it, and in the end, creator Rob Thomas realized it too. You see, the show is actually based on books that Thomas started writing with a male protagonist. Because of that, he originally didn’t think of writing the lead as female. Lucky for us, he made that change!
23. Dress for Success
Veronica was a tough cookie. Please don’t even try to deny it. It can even be seen through the way she dressed, in kind of a military style. “I wanted her to be a warrior, so there was a militarist vibe to her clothes,” the show’s costume designer, Salvador Perez, said. “She had been emotionally abused…she needed to be protected from everybody around her.”
22. First Girl had the Charm
Though she read first for the role, Kristen Bell had a lot of competition to play Veronica. Roughly 100 other actresses read for it, but Bell seemed to leave an impression. “Kristen was the very first actress I saw and my mind was blown,” Thomas said. The rest is history!
21. A Tale of Two Actors
We could have seen a lot more (or less) of Teddy Dunn. He was cast as Duncan Kane but originally read for Logan, while Jason Dohring read for Duncan. Confused yet? Don’t be: the guys just got cast in the opposite roles. Oddly enough, Logan would become a main character despite the intention of having him only in the first episode. And if you’re still confused, the network did its best to ensure you wouldn’t be. Apparently, they thought Dunn and Dohring were so similar looking that they dressed Dunn in blue colors and Dohring in earthy ones to make sure audiences could tell them apart.
20. Putting in the Piz
The director of the first episode was a man named Mark Piznarski. Name seem familiar? It should. The character of Stosh Piznarski, AKA Piz, was named for him. Bonus fact: The actor who played Piz, Chris Lowell, couldn’t believe he was going to be in the movie version of the show, thinking no one really liked his character. Oddly enough, I always hoped Veronica would end up with him (but I think I’m the only one).
19. No Challenge too Difficult
In 2013, Thomas started a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in the hopes of getting a movie made. Originally, he wanted to raise two million dollars in a month–and wound up with a whole lot more! The show’s fans (over 90,000 to be exact) rose to the occasion, raising over $5.7 million in that month-long time frame. Because of that, this campaign became one of the most successful on the site–ever!
Turns out the show had some pretty big fans. Stephen King was invited to do a cameo but had to turn down the chance to play a psychotic sociology teacher. He even wrote a letter to the show, saying, “I’m actually booked at that time, but I love your show. Keep me in mind for other things.” Someone who did make it on? Joss Whedon. Yes, that Joss Whedon. “I can no longer restrain myself. Best. Show. Ever,” he wrote on his blog. “It’s the Harry Potter of shows. There. I said it.” He got to play a car rental guy in the second season.
17. Come on Now, Sugar
The show’s theme song, which I so graciously teased at the beginning of this article (I hope you’re singing it, if you know it) is by The Dandy Warhols. Iconic piece of music right there! Anywho, enough of my fan-girling. Well, maybe not. Turns out Veronica was a fan of the band too, and even had a black circle sticker with a banana in the middle on her locker. Kind of random, unless you’re a fan of the band: this is the art on the band’s album, “Welcome to the Monkey House.”
16. Just Dropping Names
Honestly, this show had so many big names. Some of them weren’t big names at the time, but I like to think a lot of them had their big break on the series. Amanda Seyfried played the (literally) short-lived Lily Kane, and other well-known actors like Paul Rudd, Charisma Carpenter, Alyson Hannigan, Aaron Paul, Leighton Meester, Dianna Agron, Max Greenfield, Kristin Cavallari, Paris Hilton, Rider Strong, and Adam Scott all made appearances. Phew. I was running out of breath there.
A whole heap of actors from Veronica Mars have appeared on Thomas’ more recent series iZombie, like Enrico Colantoni, Ryan Hansen, Percy Daggs III, Adam Rose, and Daran Norris. Kristen Bell kind of appeared too, recording a message that got aired in one episode. And iZombie’s Liv? She says the “a long time ago we used to be friends” line from the theme song once. It’s pretty neat when TV worlds collide.
14. Just a Big Softie
So, where exactly did the term “Marshmallow” come from, you may ask? It’s actually from the pilot episode where Veronica’s friend Wallace calls her just that. “You’re a marshmallow, Veronica Mars. A Twinkie.” Veronica even refers to the term in the film adaptation, which I’m sure her fellow Marshmallows ate up!
13. Who Needs a Car?
Veronica Mars wasn’t the only show to have the fictional car rental company Lariat Rent-A-Car appear. It first appeared in X-Files, way back in the day, and has also appeared in shows like Supernatural and Breaking Bad.
12. What’s in a Day?
The character of Lilly Kane, played by Amanda Seyfried, was killed on October 3rd. Seyfried later went on to co-star in Mean Girls with Lindsay Lohan, whose character Cady couldn’t remember what day it was. Yes, you guessed it: that day was October 3rd. Since everything comes in threes (see what I did there?), here’s another one for you. October 3rd is unofficially-officially known as “Mean Girls Day.”
11. A Classic Case of Whodunit
Spoiler alert! Logan’s father, played by Harry Hamlin, turned out to be Lily’s killer. However, Hamlin almost killed (sorry – couldn’t resist) that plot twist by almost taking a movie role in Australia. If he wasn’t around to film the relevant scenes, the show couldn’t reveal him as the killer. Luckily, he stayed.
10. Life Isn’t Always Sunshine and Rainbows
Veronica was a victim of assault, as fans of the series know. That almost wasn’t the case, though. The network, UPN (which later transformed into The CW), was wary of a show that had a teenage girl go through something so serious, especially when the fanbase was a younger one. These days, it likely wouldn’t be something to bat an eyelash at, but back then? Slightly controversial, apparently. Obviously, we know now that the network allowed the storyline to go on. Moreover, Dohring spent a really long time thinking his character, Logan, was the culprit of the assault before he, along with everyone else, realized that it simply wasn’t the case.
9. The Dark Part of the Mind
Veronica’s assault wasn’t the darkest thing Thomas had in mind for the show. The whole series was meant to be darker, but because it ended up at UPN, all of his ideas had to be taken down a notch or four. The intent was for somewhere like FX, HBO, or Showtime to take interest, but no dice. I can’t even imagine the places Thomas wanted to go.
8. Veronica Mars: FBI
Season four never had a chance. Thomas pitched the idea that Veronica would be an FBI agent in a potential fourth season, but no one went for it. He even made a video that was 12 minutes long to get networks on board, and he actually went further than that with what would ultimately be the show’s finale–he left everyone hanging with unanswered questions! One being the results of the election that Veronica’s dad was running in, and, of course, who was Veronica going to choose? Logan or Piz? Thomas deliberately didn’t answer everything, hoping that fourth season would happen.
7. Almost a One-Hit Wonder
The show almost never made it past the first season. And with good reason: it was the lowest rated returning debut show ever in UPN’s history. Yet, somehow, it wound up being the only drama that the network brought back the following year.
6. Fact or Fiction?
Confusion was all around in 2006 when a fake news release somehow made the rounds, stating that the show had been canceled. Thomas had to reassure not only fans of the series but even his own writers that no, the show was going to go on.
5. They’ll be Back–and Soon!
Yes–you read that right, Marshmallows. Just recently, a new season with eight episodes coming to Hulu was announced, and we keep getting more and more details as the days go on. Of course, our leading lady, Kristen Bell, will be back. She’ll be joined by a few favorite faces like Logan, Wallace, and Weevil. We’re sure more former cast members will come back, too!
4. The Chemistry Wrote Itself
Logan was always supposed to be a bit of jerk. Well, a lot of a jerk. “The truth is, we never had any intention at all for Logan to end up with Veronica,” Thomas has said. But then he and the writers realized that Bell and Dohring had great chemistry together and decided they needed to get the characters together. The pair found out that their characters would eventually get together fairly early on. “A lot of that emotion was very real for me. I think I was in love with [Kristen] for the three years we made that show,” Dohring said about the coupling.
3. Marshmallows: Unite!
Long before the Kickstarter campaign, fans of the show launched their own attempt at the CW to get it renewed. Some of the tactics the Marshmallows used included raising money to have a plane with a message to renew the series fly over the network’s building, and sending more than 10,000 Mars Bars (made in multiple shipments, I may add) to them. They stopped at no lengths to let it be known Veronica Mars was a hit amongst fans. Entertainment Weekly even recognized its popularity, naming the show 13th in their “25 Greatest Cult TV Shows Ever” in 2009.
2. The Future Is Dark
That new eight-episode season that’s coming in 2019? Don’t expect it to be the good old Veronica we know. “It’s gonna be a much darker world, it’s going to be a bigger world, it’s definitely not what we did on UPN or The CW,” Bell told the media. “I want to brace fans for that, that it’s going to be darker and bigger and more cinematic, a little bit different.” All we know right now is that five years have passed since the film, and there’s a serial killer on the loose. Filming is set to start in October 2018 with an interesting addition to the writing team: former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
1. Hidden Numbers
This one is pretty neat, and an interesting take on an Easter Egg, if you will. Veronica Mars aired at the same time Lost did. Any search on the interwebs would tell you that. But what you may not know is that Thomas hid a small tribute to his TV rival, Lost, in the second season of his show. Duncan gives Veronica a fortune cookie, but it’s not the fortune we’re talking about here–it’s the numbers beneath it. 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 are her lucky numbers. They also happen to be those famous numbers that pop up in Lost. Mind. Blown.
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