It’s finally here. Tonight, fans of America’s greatest high-school detective will head to theaters and pick up their tickets for an actual, feature-length Veronica Mars movie. They’ll collect their popcorn, take their seats, and — just guessing here — they will freak out. And they’ll do it with the knowledge that they’ve spent nearly a decade rallying to make this possible: fighting to keep the show on the air, to keep its DVDs circulating, and to bring it to all the big flickering screens it hits today.
To celebrate, we spent some time chatting with a few of the people who made it all happen. Like Rob Thomas, who created Veronica Mars in the first place. And Ivan Askwith, a fan (or … a fan of fandom) who wound up working on the film as an associate producer. And a few beloved members of the Veronica Mars cast. And, best of all, members of a fan group called Neptune Rising — just a few of the many, many “marshmallows” who’ve spent years and years dreaming of this moment. We wanted to know: how does it feel when the people who love a show and the people who created it finally get to work together, and make the movie they’ve all wanted for so long? Also: is it even biologically possible to be any more excited about this?
“This is happening!”
On March 13, 2013, Rob Thomas launched “The Veronica Mars Movie Project” on Kickstarter. The goal was to raise two million dollars to fund a feature film.
Lillian Taba (fan, 29, Pearl City, Hawaii): Kristen Bell tweeted and said they’d have an announcement the next day. We’d been pushing for Entertainment Weekly to feature Veronica Mars in one of their reunion issues, so I assumed that the next morning, there’d be a tweet about that. So … I went to sleep.
Carianne Okopski (fan, 20, Canton, Michigan): I think I actually stayed up all night waiting for their tweets to come through.
Rob Thomas (creator, 40, Austin, Texas): The night before we launched, I had this journey into the soul — I spent a long night thinking oh my god, what if no one comes? After pushing this boulder up a hill for years, what if we fall on our faces?
Yancey Strickler (Kickstarter CEO, New York, New York): Rob and I had been working on this for probably a year and a half before it launched. So it was letting the world in on this secret that we’d been holding for so long.
http://t.co/3oR4SSlZPe It's on, kids. The VERONICA MARS MOVIE Kickstarter drive has begun. We're up to $25K. $1.975M to go.— Rob Thomas (@RobThomas) March 13, 2013
Monica Foltz (Lillian's twin sister, 29, San Diego, California): I checked Twitter in the morning, and I saw a tweet that said, “I backed The Veronica Mars Movie Project on Kickstarter.” And I just croaked.
Jason Yocum (fan, 29, Casper, Wyoming): I get in the shower, I’m on my way to work, I’m checking my phone … I see this is happening. I got to the office, and started sending it to everyone I possibly could. It was like … if we’re really friends? Then you’re going to contribute to this campaign.
Percy Daggs III (aka “Wallace Fennel”): In the morning I do a couple of things right away. If it’s 9 o’clock, I turn on Let’s Make a Deal, because I’m a game-show kind of guy. I check my email, check the SAG website. And when I checked my email, it said “go to Kickstarter.” My computer screen didn’t change for the rest of the day. I don’t think I put on clothes — just stayed in my boxers and socks and watched the numbers all day.
Jordan Schleeweis (fan, Springfield, Massachusetts): People think I’m a little crazy for being so obsessed with this show, but it was like … in your face! This is happening!
Lillian: I was still in bed when Monica called and said, “Lillian, there’s a Kickstarter. The movie’s getting made. Get on your computer right now.”
“Nothing that great ever gets to last on television”
Veronica Mars made its TV debut on September 22, 2004. The show would never do “gangbuster ratings,” as Thomas puts it. But it did rapidly collect some very passionate fans.
Cindy Au (fan — and Kickstarter’s Head of Community): I saw the show when the third season was on the air. I’m a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan, so when people told me to watch it, I would think … “There’s no magic, or dragons, or demons? Are you sure I’ll like this?” But from the first episode, I could see it. This is a show that when you discover it, it’s like … how could this ever have been on TV? It’s too good. Nothing that great ever gets to last on television.
Monica: Lillian was trying to get me to watch it, but you know. You look at a TV show, there’s three seasons, you’re almost scared. What if I like it? When am I going to have time?
Jason: I started watching the DVDs, and it turned into that Portlandia kind of thing — have you seen that sketch, where they’re watching Battlestar Galactica, and saying “just one more episode” for three days?
Ivan Askwith started researching Veronica Mars and TV fandom while studying at MIT.
Ivan: I’ve always loved mysteries, noir, that Southern California Raymond Chandler kind of vibe. And the cast was fantastic. That was the time when I was becoming really interested in television’s ambitions to tell deeper stories, so I was trying to pay attention to any show that was gaining traction, even with a small fandom. In some ways it wasn’t even that Veronica Mars was one of my favorites — I was fascinated by how much people cared about it.
Rob Thomas: Five or six episodes into the show’s run, someone came into the office and showed me what people were saying on the website Television Without Pity. I was just stunned by it — by how deep they were going, how they looked at the show, how they ascribed meaning to different actions. That’s when I first started feeling it.
Percy Daggs III: When we first started, we went on these mall tours. They told us that was something Jason Priestley and all the people from 90210 used to do, so it felt pretty important. I remember walking through the mall in Minnesota with Teddy Dunn, and a girl said, “Wallace, I love you so much, I’ll take the lint out of your pocket.” That’s when I understand what fandom really was.
“It's the characters”
Jason: Veronica’s such a hero for the underdog, and kind of an outcast. And I’m queer, so growing up in Wyoming … I was kind of a loner kid. I could really relate to seeing things from the outside.
Jordan: Around the time of the second season, my parents ended up getting a divorce, and the show just became my emotional rock — I was so invested in it. If Veronica can do this, she’s my role model, I want to be her.
Brianna Landry (fan, 34, Austin, Texas): She’s smart and sassy, she’s resourceful, she’s wickedly funny, but she’s also really flawed.
Brianna’s dog Murray — the official mascot of Neptune Rising — models a genuine Neptune High varsity jacket.
Varity Schwarz (fan, 36, Portland, Oregon): She’s not perfect. It doesn’t always work out for her. She makes mistakes, and sometimes she learns from them, sometimes she doesn’t.
Cindy: There aren’t many shows that take on a heroine with the right tone. Just knowing that in popular culture somewhere, there are characters that I think are good for women? That makes me feel better. Because there’s a lot of bullshit out there. There are a lot of awful things that you’re supposedly meant to identify with.
Debbie (fan, 51, Christchurch, New Zealand): Some of the American shows that come out, the characters are all perfect. In Veronica Mars, they’re all flawed in their own different ways. And what normally draws you to shows is that you can empathize with the characters. People don’t get invested in TV shows because of the storylines — maybe with a movie you might, but with TV it’s the characters.
Carianne: I just love Jason Dohring. I wasn’t a huge fan of Logan in the beginning — he was portrayed as kind of a mean kid. But once you start seeing how his dad treated him, and what happened after Lilly’s death…
Varity: Logan does some terrible things! But they’re so forgivable when he does them.
Jason Dohring (aka “Logan Echolls”): It was always such a pleasure to play the bad-boy role.
Cindy: He’s such an embodiment of all the things you’re not supposed to like, and they made him so likable. I’m definitely Team Logan. Sorry, Piz.
Debbie: Everybody’s either Team Piz or Team Logan, but I’d want Veronica to end up with Duncan! That’s a mother’s perspective of who would be best for her — it’s actually Duncan.
Rose Garcia (fan, 30, San Diego County, California): I like Weevil. One thing I think Rob got right is … I guess you’d call it classism, between Mexican-Americans and the white kids. Going to high school in California, there is definitely a lot of that.
Ivan: As part of my research, I went out over the summer of 2006 and interviewed a bunch of people who worked on the show. Once I was out there I wound up sticking around for a month, working on crew in different capacities, just to get firsthand experience of what it was like. I’d spent a ton of time contacting the heads of all the Veronica Mars fan groups, asking them questions about what the show meant to them — and finding out about the tremendous lengths they were going to, every year, to keep the show from getting canceled.
“You have a right to be sad if you want to”
In June of 2007, after three seasons on the air, Veronica Mars was officially canceled. But its fans weren’t nearly done fighting for it.
Mark Thompson is a 49-year-old welder from Cincinatti. He organized the Neptune Rising fan group, hoping to bring together different campaigns for the show.
Mark: I hadn’t watched the show, because it was always advertised as a teen drama, but one day I guess I flipped it on and liked it. I wasn’t very computer experienced, but when I heard it was being canceled, I got online and started lurking in the CW forums, to see what was going on with trying to save it. One day there were a couple people who were really sad over the show being canceled. And there were some other people trying to deflect them, and get them to watch other shows. It kind of bothered me, so I logged on and said, “You have a right to be sad if you want to!”
One of the best-known campaigns to save the show involved fans sending Mars Bars to the network — an effort that (allegedly) exhausted the U.S. supply of the discontinued candy.
Varity: The Mars Bars, I was part of that. And the group — I thought this was kind of genius — they shipped an entire palette of marshmallows to [executive producer] Joel Silver.
Jordan: I didn’t even know what a Mars Bar was, and I still don’t think I’ve ever had one. But I sent them all over the place.
In 2006, between the show’s second and third seasons, a fan group called Cloudwatchers hired a plane to drag a banner over Los Angeles — from the WB studios to the offices of the new CW network — imploring the execs below to “RENEW VERONICA MARS! CW 2006!”
Mark: Cloudwatchers did a really good job, and I kind of hated to rip off their idea, but I had a buddy here in Cincinnati, and I had the opportunity, so I took it. I think the banner said “BUY VERONICA MARS ON DVD BEST SHOW EVER.” We had it flown over three malls, during the Christmas season, to try and promote sales of the DVDs.
Rose: They had an address for the WB that you could send letters to, so I would send them a letter a day. One day I said that if there was a movie I would take everybody in my family to see it, so that’s a promise I’m going to keep.
“I've never found that sense of community online”
Cindy: I love that the fans do those campaigns. Entertainment is such a strange industry — it’s made up of these incredibly creative people, but it’s also such an intense business, that’s absolutely driven by the need to be profitable. So the fans are reacting in this really creative way, and the business people just say, “We can’t do anything about this. The numbers are telling us it isn’t going to work.”
Mark: I think a lot of the campaigns were actually just about keeping the fans together — making it fun, trying to keep it interesting.
Rose: I think we all started off with, “yeah, we’ll tweet for Veronica Mars,” but over the course of a few years we started knowing about each other’s lives, and wanting to know how everyone was.
Jordan: That was my favorite part of the whole thing — I’ve never found that sense of community online. Maybe even in real life.
Jason Yocum models a fan-made “What Would Veronica Mars Do” bracelet.
Debbie: You should see some of the fan art they did. They made a calendar. It had everyone’s birthdays on it, and each month had some very cool pictures they’d done.
Jordan: There was a cruise in 2008. The plan was to have people from the show go on the cruise with fans. Me and a couple other girls immediately bought tickets. But they couldn’t seem to get enough interest, so they offered us refunds. I still went, and it ended up being an awesome experience. I met a girl from Chicago, a girl from Toronto, and someone from Australia, totally based on meeting on a forum — I talked to these people every day. I’m going to the movie premieres with them. The cruise left from San Diego and went down to Mexico. We stopped at Cabo and Ensenada. Everybody wanted to find that “I got baked in Ensenada” shotglass, the one Logan gets for Lilly, but obviously it didn’t exist. My favorite part was when we got back to California — we went to the high school where Veronica Mars was filmed. We went to the apartment complex where she was supposed to have lived, and the motel where she and Logan have their first kiss. The high school was exactly the same — we acted out the scene of Duncan and all the guys under the bleachers.
Jordan (right) and a friend stop in at the Mars apartment.
Brianna: On LiveJournal there was a group called Neptune Style, of girls who would scour eBay for anything that Veronica wore — her bags, anything like that. They would trade amongst one another. These clothes would go up hundreds of dollars. Her handbag in the last season — the leather studded handbag — was really coveted.
Do you own any of that stuff?
I have that bag! So … yeah, I paid for that.
Do you use it?
I wore it when Rob Thomas did the Kickstarter backers get-together at a pub here in Austin.
Did he recognize it?
He recognized it.
Murray models Veronica Mars’s handbag.
“There was this power there”
Six years would pass before fans heard any good news about a movie.
Debbie: We did letter-writing campaigns. We bought DVDs and forwarded them to people. We bought T-shirts. We did “tweetathons.” There’s been a lot of different things through the years. I guess it would have been easy to give up, and I know there are people that dropped off along the way. But Kristen and Rob always said they’d be keen to do a movie, and that was enough.
Ivan: Rob and Kristen have both said that for six years after the show was canceled, they never did a single interview about their new projects without someone asking when the movie was happening.
Rob Thomas: I didn’t want to raise people’s hopes only to see them crushed. But I also felt like if I ever stopped saying in interviews that I wanted to do this movie — that I still held out hope — then I was betraying the fans who had kept hope alive. I remember feeling at one point that I had kind of shut my mouth about it, I had tried not to keep raising expectations, and then … this is embarrassing, but I had a Google alert on myself, and saw a blog post that said, “Will Rob Thomas please just shut up about the Veronica Mars movie?” I remember thinking: I’ve tried! Everybody asks me about it, and I don’t know what to do.
Brianna: We’d go through periods of not hearing anything. Or maybe we’d hear that Rob pitched something and Joel Silver didn’t go for it, or the WB didn’t think people would come see the movie.
Lillian: I would get really mad when I saw people saying, “you should give up, it’s never going to happen.” That’s not the spirit! I was like: if you think it’s never going to happen, you’re not a true fan. Any glimmer of hope would keep me going forever.
Jason: There were times when it was depressing and frustrating. But I knew something was going to happen, because Kristen was so adamant about it, and the fans were so active. There was this power there, just waiting for the right moment.
“It's going to be on the short list of the most memorable days of your life”
Cindy: I remember when someone told me Rob Thomas had gotten in touch about doing a Kickstarter project. Because everybody here at Kickstarter has their list of dream creators and fantasy projects, and Veronica Mars was on my list: “If only the stars would align, and Joss Whedon would bring back Firefly, Rob Thomas would do a Veronica Mars movie, and Patrick Stewart would have dinner with me…”
That would be his entire project? Just to have dinner with you?
Yes. Patrick Stewart performing “Dinner with Cindy.” Please put that in there — I’ve been working on this for a long time.
Francis Capra (aka “Eli ‘Weevil’ Navarro”): I got an email, and it was Rob Thomas saying that it was possible we were going to make a movie. I’d heard this before, we’d talked about it, but something about this email was just really special. It felt like he had an ace up his sleeve.
Ivan: When I heard Rob had gotten permission from Warner Brothers, I got excited and anxious, because I figured one way or another, this was going to be used as a case study on whether there’s value in giving fans a role in the economic process. I wanted to make sure people would look at this thing and think: holy shit, we have been ignoring what we’re sitting on, this has the potential to change everything.
Rob Thomas: The thing I thought, going into the Kickstarter launch, was that one way or the other, the question would be answered. We’d either get to make the movie, or we would fail, and then people would let it go — I will have to let it go, fans will have to let it go. We got our chance at the plate and it didn’t happen, and that will be the answer from here on out.
Lillian: When I heard the project had launched, my first instinct was, “I’ve got to get on Twitter and start telling other fans they need to pledge.” I didn’t sit down to check what the rewards were.
Monica: I looked at the rewards. I came across the one for the movie premiere and the afterparty, and I immediately called my husband and said, “This would be the best gift ever possible for Lillian.” I got one of the very last ones.
Lillian: Finally, I sat down at the computer. I started seeing the rewards, and all the blood drained out of my face when I realized all the premiere packages were gone.
Monica: She was texting me when she woke up — Kickstarter, Kickstarter — and I was just waiting for the moment when she’d realize the rewards packages were gone. I felt awful. She texted and said, “Monica, they’re gone, they’re gone!” But one of the conditions my husband told me when we backed it was that he wanted to tell her we got one in person. So I had to hold onto it.
Cindy: I was actually in Stockholm, Sweden, working from a hotel room. And when the project launched, I had friends texting me, like, “I’m literally crying right now.” I was so excited I was jumping up and down, alone in a hotel room in Stockholm. I was hearing from the office that the excitement was so palpable and intense, and it was sad not to be around everyone — but I was having my own moment in Sweden.
Yancey: I realized Rob was launching that day, so I called him and said, “I’m here in Austin,” and he said, “Come over!” So I walked over to his office downtown, and he was sitting in front of his computer, with a documentary crew standing next to him. He’d just launched. I sat across from him, and he was just watching the numbers go up and narrating for the documentary crew. He had the Kickstarter app on his phone, and the notifications were popping up to the point where his phone was unusable — there were so many pledges coming in.
Ryan Hansen (aka “Dick Casablancas”): I was very nervous — I didn’t even look at it until later in the day. Kristen texted me and said, “Have you seen how much money we raised?” So I looked, and I was blown away. I was glued to the computer screen at my house for like eight hours. It was the most insane feeling — very humbling to know the fans reacted the way they did.
Jason Dohring: I was out in my backyard, and these texts started rolling in — hey, you’re at $200,000! And it was 11 am. Hey, you’re at $750,000! And then at the end of the day, Kristen called me, and we had raised over two million.
Lillian: It just so happened that I was flying from Hawaii to San Diego that day to visit Monica. I remember being super-depressed the whole plane ride — I listened to the Veronica Mars soundtrack on repeat and leaned against the window and was just sulking about the fact that I wasn’t going to the premiere. Lots of inner turmoil.
Monica: The moment she got off the airplane, and I got her home…
Lillian: She comes out with this piece of paper and says “I backed the campaign for two tickets to the premiere and the afterparty!” And I just started crying.
Rob Thomas: It’s one of those things where you know while it’s happening that it’s going to be on the short list of the most memorable days of your life. In that first hour, when pledges started to roll in, the first thought was okay, well, we’re not going to embarrass ourselves. And then it got past that level of relief into this incredible joy. It filled me with such pride in the show, that people cared that much, seven years since we’d been off the air.
Francis Capra: I was staying with a friend — to be honest, I was sleeping on his couch. I was going through a pretty rough time. And my computer also doubled as my television, so I was always wrapped around that area of the room. I couldn’t avoid the energy of the Kickstarter backers, and the whole event. It kind of ruled my life. I’d have to go for walks, leave the house. My wife and I would go to church and fall on our knees and thank god for the opportunity to play this character again, see my friends and family again.
Rose: Whatever the goal was, I remember for a quick second I was thinking we might not make it, that there was no way we could get that much.
Monica: The second I saw a Kickstarter campaign, I knew this movie was going to be made. There wasn’t even a question.
Ivan: People had been asking for seven years — you know, there’s that joke from Futurama, “shut up and take my money?”
Cindy: It was something I’d always hoped would be possible on Kickstarter, this idea that there’s a story that needs to be finished, and now’s the chance. It worked really, really well, in exactly the way you’d think it would — there were all these fans, and they did want to be able to do something about it..
Yancey: I got this sense from Rob that finishing Veronica Mars was … just clearly a very deep thing for him. To sit there and watch him experience it, and his face, as it happened … I was watching his life change, in the span of a couple hours. He said he wasn’t even looking at dollars — it was more like a measurement of the love out there for Veronica Mars, this thing he didn’t really know existed. He thought it did, but here it was, proven, on such a massive scale.
Really overwhelmed here.— Rob Thomas (@RobThomas) March 13, 2013
Rob Thomas: It’s hard to have your joy dialed up that long! I had a documentary crew following me that day, and I feel like at the $1 million mark I was at this level of euphoria that was just immeasurable, off the charts, and they got these great honest joyful reactions from me, because I was so into it. And then five hours later, when we hit our $2 million goal … at that point, I was worn out! I had peaked four hours earlier.
Jason Dohring: I actually can’t believe there are so many fans for this little show! I can only think that they must have grown through DVD sales. It seems like 95% of the fans I’ve met at premieres are people I’ve never talked to before — and I swear, I’ve talked to all 20 people who used to watch our show. This small little show is slowly taking over the world.
Lillian: The next day, while I was visiting, Rob released the Kickstarter Extras, so I jumped on that right away. Monica’s taking me to the premiere. I took her to the set.
“I just held it out to Kristen and said, 'I brought you peanut butter!'”
Ivan got back in touch with Rob Thomas and the production team, and wound up coming aboard the project as a very new type of associate producer — the person “producing the experience we tried to create for backers and fans.”
Ivan: The experience of being a fan is about loving something very intensely. But loving a TV show or a movie or a comic book is kind of a one-sided experience. You can love a show, but it’s really hard for a show to love you back. We felt we had this unique opportunity to give everybody who’d financed this movie the chance to feel that the show was investing back in them, and cared as much about them as they cared about it.
Lillian: They were so welcoming on the set. They had set aside days for Kickstarter backers to come be extras in the movie, and they were ready for us. They wanted us to be there. We felt like we could ask questions and interact with the cast. The very first person I met was Kristen. My sister and I were sitting in the chairs getting our hair done, and Kristen came up and held out her hand — “Hi, I’m Kristen” — and I just said, “hi.” My sister had to jump in and say, “Her name is Lillian.”
Backer extras on the set: Monica and Lillian are on the right. (You can just about see Cindy behind them.)
Monica: We were at the high school reunion scene, so everybody was there. Piz was there, even. And then Kristen walks on set and says a line, and it’s like … that’s Veronica.
Lillian: I would have paid more for that experience. And just knowing that every dollar was going to the movie made it even better. You’re walking around thinking, look at what they’re doing with our money! This is getting made! It’s amazing.
Monica: At one point, Rob yelled “cut,” and Jason Dohring just kind of turned and walked away, like “Yes,” and said something like: “When Rob says it like that, he got what he wanted.” After all these years of not filming together, they come together on the set and just the way Rob said “cut,” he can tell … it was amazing, that they have that kind of relationship!
Jason Dohring: When he squeals like a little girl, you know you did it right. I just remember doing one scene and Rob shrieking in the corner — and I went behind the monitor, and there he was, the 6-foot-4 football player who wrote our show. And it’s a real validation to get that from him, because you know he has everything in his head, the way he wrote it and the way he wished to see it.
Monica and Lillian may have gotten in some kind of fight over Jason Dohring.
Ivan: There was such a feeling of love. We got emails from people during production asking if they could send baked goods for the crew, because they knew we were working long hours and not getting paid our normal rates. These twins — one of them was from Hawaii — brought a huge bag full of Hawaiian food treats that they wanted to give to the whole crew.
Lillian: Kristen had tweeted about peanut butter from Hawaii! So I went on a wild goose chase to find this peanut butter. There were all these flavors, so I bought four jars of peanut butter and brought them to the set. I just held it out to Kristen and said “I brought you peanut butter!”
Ivan: Those jars were empty in days.
Cindy: I remember meeting Monica and Lillian, because I was like … “I think they’re related?” They’re definitely twins. And I was impressed, because they seemed like they knew what they were doing. Being an extra is hard work! I kept feeling awkward, but they were just on, and owning it, and so good.
Rob Thomas: Any person who’s working as a background extra in LA … they’re pretty blasé about the job, and you hope you can get them dialed up to play the scene. The Kickstarter backers were dialed up from the moment they arrived on set until the moment we wrapped that night. Even looking at the film — I can absolutely pick them out, just based on performance. They were so into it. And I just loved how our cast treated them. They didn’t have to be rounded up and told to go shake hands — they were in the mix with them all day. Even actors who weren’t working that day would show up and hang out on set.
Ivan: There was one night on set when we were close to wrapping for the night. It was three in the morning, and we got an email from, I think, a teenage girl. She said, “I know no one will ever actually read this, but I just wanted to say how much the show means to me.” It was a very heartfelt message, and at the end it said, “P.S., please tell Jason that I love him.” When I read that, I was sitting ten feet from Jason, who was just finishing his last shot of the night. So when he wrapped, I asked if he had a few minutes. We went back to his trailer and spontaneously shot a twenty-second video of him saying “I got your email and I just wanted you to know how much it means to us — and I love you, too.” Then he looks into the camera and just smolders for a second. So maybe forty minutes after this girl wrote an email saying, “I know no one will ever read this,” she had a cell phone video of Jason answering. And I love that. I think we all do. I love that in 5 or 10 minutes, we can do something that will probably be the highlight of someone's month or year. It's an amazing thing to be able to spread that much joy. The only downside is that we can't do it for everyone, and we never want anyone to feel left out. They're an amazing group, our cast, and have been so genuine in their gratitude. If we had the time, I seriously think they'd do this for every single backer.
“Those are very powerful things for someone in high school”
Rose: I think I’m a people-pleaser. I would be the shy one in the crowd. And there are certain episodes where Veronica’s just so powerful, and so take-charge, and she inspired me to do that. My sister’s always joking with me — “I like your new attitude!” They say that as you get older, you stop caring what people think. But Veronica, she never cared. She had to grow up at 16.
Rob Thomas: I have a daughter now, who’s about to turn nine. When I first got out of college, I taught freshman high school English, and … there’s just no more self-conscious people on the planet than 14-year-old girls. They’re self-aware, on high alert at any chance of being put on the spot, or having a light shone on them, or feeling awkward. And I think Veronica, unlike Buffy, or Jennifer Garner on Alias, did not have any kick-ass powers — what she had was an attitude that I think teenage girls, and so many people going through adolescence, wish they had. An attitude of not giving a shit what other people think of them. She was smarter than everyone else, and she didn’t care what they thought of her. Those are very powerful things for someone in high school.
Carianne: In high school, I wasn’t the most outgoing kid. I was shy, and a lot of people picked on me, for who knows what. Seeing what Veronica goes through on a day to day basis showed me how to stand up for myself, to be more brave.
Jordan: It reminds me to tell people I care about that I care about them, because it’s so frustrating to watch on the show when they don’t say that. The relationship between Veronica and her father is a huge motivation for me to stay close with my mom, because my dad passed away a couple years ago.
Ivan: You see these things that hit people at the right age, the right moment in their lives, and all of a sudden they’re defining themselves in terms of what these shows taught them. And that doesn’t go away when the show gets canceled! It just stings a little.
Brianna: If somebody wrongs me, or I see someone being mistreated — I think because of Veronica I’m more likely to say something than be a bystander. And seeing that the fans can make something happen … our persistence has been a part of what made this movie happen.
Brianna, with Kristen Bell.
“This is happening!”
Yancey: It’s amazing to think it took less than 365 days for him to raise the money to make the movie, write the script, shoot it, cut it, and have it premiere at South by Southwest, the same place he launched the project. That’s an all-time turnaround.
Lillian: I’m planning out every detail for the L.A. premiere. I have my hotel room. I have my dress. I just want to be there and know that I had a small part in making this happen. One of 91,000 people, but I was one, and I feel like I fought hard to make this movie happen.
Carianne: I have a countdown on my phone.
Jordan: I haven’t told my job yet that I’ll be taking a week off to go to two movie premieres.
Jason: Denver is the closest place to see the movie. So it’s a four-hour, 300-mile drive. I have friends there, so it’s no big deal. But I don’t know if any of them will want to go to the movie with me — I’m such a nerd about it. They’re like okay, Jason, we get it. You really, really like Veronica Mars.
Jordan: People ask me what my hobby is, and I want to say, “Veronica Mars.”
Varity: I work full time and go to school full time. I spend a lot of my other free time doing things for Veronica Mars. I guess there are better things I could do with my time — I could save lives or adopt animals or something. But I enjoy it. I think part of the reason I’m so loyal to the show is that everybody who’s a part of it seems to be a real person. They’re not these unattainable stars you can’t relate to — they’re human beings.
Francis Capra: It just feels like these people have been with us all along. And you can’t help but feel the most natural emotion is love, when people have been with you during the highest, most positive moments of your life. It’s so great to share yet another one with them — we will never forget this.
Jason: We’re all super geeks. Even Rob and Kristen — they’re uber-nerds, and I love them for it. It’s so cool that we’re all just like: “Oh my god, we’re doing this!” I think that’s how everyone on the show feels, too: “This is happening! Awesome!” They’re grateful, too. “This is amazing, we’re so happy to do this, the family’s back together.”