(CNN) — “Veronica Mars” was canceled after only three seasons in 2007, leaving fans hungry for some kind of closure. While creator Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell have teased the idea of a “Veronica Mars” movie in the years since, that possibility seemed to die when the studio passed on the project.
But fans — or “Marshmallows” as they’re known — wouldn’t let executives keep their beloved characters from them a second time and saved the project by donating more than $5.7 million to a Kickstarter campaign for the film earlier this year, reaching far more than the $2 million Warner Bros. required to make the movie. (Time Warner is the parent company of both Warner Bros. and CNN).
“Veronica Mars” the movie is now in production and will be released in theaters in 2014. Thomas, Bell and the rest of the cast came to Comic-Con to share never-before-seen footage from the film with fans and backers.
In the movie, Veronica returns to her hometown of Neptune, California, for a high school reunion, bringing all the old characters back together. The footage reveals that Veronica is now a lawyer in New York City, outlaw character Weevil (played by Francis Capra) is settled down and married, and Jamie Lee Curtis has a role in the movie.
Bell spoke with CNN at the Samsung Galaxy Experience at Comic-Con, where she admitted how much the role of Veronica Mars means to her personally, what to expect on “House of Lies” season two and that time she and fiancé Dax Shepard were too busy to get married.
CNN: How surprised are you by the fact that you are actually making a “Veronica Mars” movie?
Kristen Bell: At the time (of the Kickstarter campaign), I thought, “Of course this is happening. This is what’s supposed to happen.” The farther I get from the date of that occurrence, I start to realize how absolutely farfetched this idea was to throw out into the universe. I start to realize the size of our balls — what we attempted and thankfully succeeded at having happen. When we were talking about our Kickstarter launch I had no doubt in my mind that we would make our goal because it has been discussed in every interview I’ve done since the show was canceled. I was led to believe there was still a good amount of interest, but certainly never in a million years thought we would surpass the goal as much as we did. It was a ballsy response from the fans too, by the way.
CNN: It was interesting to see all those Kickstarter backers in the room with you. Is it true when you said some of the creative decisions on the film reflect what you think the fans will want?
Bell: Without question. Rob (Thomas) is one of the best TV writers that’s ever existed. He plays to everyone’s strengths and that includes his audience and himself. He doesn’t write selfishly. He knows what people want to see and he gives them that. He’s like a really, really, really good father.
CNN: Is this film finally going to give you a sense of closure on “Veronica Mars”?
Bell: No. This could be my whole life. And by the way, what a lucky life it would be if it were. There’s no formula for it, because it just has never been done before. Except — and I’m just throwing it out there — “Star Trek” did it. They did a TV show and then nine movies. Who knows? Why can’t we make a couple films? Or continue to produce content of “Veronica Mars”? It gets tricky because television contracts legally only allow you to do one episode of a different show. They purchase you. I am now the face of “House of Lies.” So the only way I would be able to reprise Veronica Mars (on TV) is in movie form.
CNN: What about if it were on Netflix?
Bell: There are some loopholes that we are already investigating.
CNN: When do you start shooting the next season of “House of Lies”?
Bell: We don’t shoot until October. It premieres in January. We left season two on a real cliffhanger between Don (Cheadle) and my character. I know that they’re currently breaking story lines and everyone’s pitching ideas; I don’t really have much contribution other than being excited about it. The characters are definitely going to start off with a lot of tension because there were confessions of love at the end of the last episode, which just makes for a really interesting first episode of season three.
Kristen Bell at the ‘Veronica Mars’ special video presentation and Q&A during Comic-Con International 2013 at San Diego Convention Center on July 19, 2013 in San Diego, California
As hardcore fans know, the plot of the upcomingVeronica Mars film finds Veronica “getting pulled back into this life that she thought she had left behind,” series creator and movie mastermind Rob Thomas told fans during Friday’s Comic-Con panel, which also featured a sneak peek at the flick.
But what even the toastiest Marshmallow may not know is that it’s ex-boyfriend Logan who says, “I need your help, Veronica.” Her reply: “I don’t really do that anymore.” Yeah… that’s not going to fly.
LoVe ‘shippers will be happy to know the two share plenty of screen time in the sleek, stylish-looking preview, which showed them riding in Logan’s car and talking in someone’s (Veronica’s?) digs. But the scene that will make fans squeal the most? The guys of the film – Logan, Dick, Piz, Weevil, etc. – wearing soaking wet dress shirts and marching forward.
Other highlights from the sizzle reel included: Madison tauntingly asking Veronica if she’s going to taze her, until V finally punches her enemy and quips, “Original enough for you?”; True Lies star Jamie Lee Curtis (!) reeling off the P.I.’s accomplishments; and a Neptune High reunion fight that prompts Piz to remark that the school “actually does sit on a hellmouth.” (Way to earn some points with that Buffy reference!) Oh, and Weevil’s married!
The panel discussion — in which Thomas was joined by stars Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Ryan Hansen, Jason Dohring, Tina Majorino, Chris Lowell, Percy Daggs III and Francis Capra — revealed a (Neptune) pirate’s plunder of goodies. Among them:
HAPPY REUNION | The film “has a Godfather III theme to it,” shared Thomas, who wasn’t worried about balancing fan expectations with his own desires. “I think the story that I wanted to tell is the one I think fans wanted to see. I wanted to get the old gang back together.”
‘SHIPPER WARS | Lowell sported a “Team Logan” shirt, while Dohring’s said “Team Piz.” “I wore this shirt today so I wouldn’t be shot when I stepped on stage,” joked Lowell. The actor added that when Thomas announced Piz’s inclusion in the film, Lowell’s reaction was, “The death threats have almost stopped. Why now?!”
TOGETHER AGAIN | Bell’s first scene on the movie shoot was with Dohring. “We just kept staring and going, ‘Are we really here right now?’” recalled the actress. Speaking of the couple, when a fan asked who taught Dohring how to smolder, Bell replied, “The heavens?” The actor also got props from co-star Hansen, who was a novice when the show first started. “Jason was like my acting coach,” Hansen said of those early days.
NO FAMILY AFFAIR | Alyson Hannigan’s Trina isn’t in the movie, and series characters like Duncan and Beaver won’t get mentions, either. “A lot of thought went into that,” explained Thomas. “I wanted to write the movie in such a way that for the fans, there’s plenty of Easter eggs… that you will appreciate because you watched the TV series.” But the EP noted that people who are new to the project will be able to understand it, too. “I wanted the movie to be the start of something.” Dohring also teased that there are “lots of other surprises that people don’t know about that will be cool.”
CHEMISTRY ALERT | Thomas reminisced that Veronica and Logan’s first kiss in Season 1 got him choked up. “I rewound it and rewound and rewound,” he said. “Then my wife entered, and I had tears in my eyes. It was an embarrassing moment that I was watching my own work, a kiss. It just felt so earned to me.”
TO THE BIG SCREEN AGAIN | Thomas said he hopes the flick — which will likely be released in early 2014 — is only the first of many films. “I want to be a Bond franchise. I hope to make a ton of money on this movie and we get to do it [through] the normal channels. If we’re a huge hit — I don’t think Kickstarter is meant to fund huge hits.”
Its Kristen’s Birthday today all of us here wishing her a beautiful day