1 of 13
Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie)
The Character: Though he's now owner of the Newport Group and the resident of a gated community, the ex-bad boy hasn't forgotten his roots: Ryan focuses on urban planning for lower-income neighborhoods. (He even brought a P.F. Chang's to Chino!) And while the architect and perky Taylor Townsend (Autumn Reeser) didn't stay together, there's still romance in Ryan's future. "Recently, Ryan was seated next to Alex Kelly, Olivia Wilde's character, on a flight," Schwartz says. "They have a first date scheduled for Friday."
The Actor: McKenzie recently wrapped cop series Southland, which was canceled this year after five seasons. He also appears in the 2013 indie film Goodbye World. Unfortunately, a legal pilot McKenzie shot for CBS this spring — The Advocates,, costarring Mandy Moore — wasn't picked up for the fall.
2 of 13
Seth Cohen (Adam Brody)
The Character: The CW rejected the script for a TV series based on his self-referential comic Atomic County — but Joseph Gordon-Levitt snapped it up and "will play the Seth Cohen Role" of The Ironist in an Atomic County feature film, Schwartz says. Also on board: Channing Tatum as Kid Chino (Ryan), Jennifer Lawrence as Cosmo Girl (Marissa), and Lucy Hale as Little Miss Vixen (Summer).
The Actor: Brody appears as Harry Reems in this summer's buzzy porn biopic Lovelace and has a full slate of feature comedies lined up after that, including Baggage Claim, Think Like a Man Too, and Life Partners. That last film costars Brody's real-life girlfriend, Gossip Girl alum Leighton Meester. When worlds collide!
3 of 13
Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson)
The Character: The airhead-turned activist can be found at Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, leading an anti-fracking protest alongside Mark Ruffalo. She and Seth tied the knot in 2012, but there are no babies yet. "Summer wants to hold off until the world zeroes out its carbon footprint," Schwartz explains. As for Captain Oats and Princess Sparkle? They're "happily still together — they share a beautiful toy stable."
The Actor: Bilson plays Aubrey Plaza's Summer-esque big sister in the raunchy comedy The To Do List, currently in theaters. She returns for a third season of The CW's dramedy Hart of Dixie (a.k.a. Summer Roberts Is a Doctor Now) this fall.
4 of 13
Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton)
The Character: Yep, she's still dead. Ryan visits his first love at the cemetery "every May," says Schwartz.
The Actor: Barton has roles in six upcoming features, according to IMDB, and she'll also appear in this fall's Sylvester Stallone-penned thriller Homefront. But given the sort of work Barton's been getting lately — the Lifetime movie Cyberstalker, crappy horror movies — a comeback seems unlikely.
5 of 13
Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher)
The Character: Envy UC Berkeley's law students — they get to see those glorious eyebrows every day. Schwartz reveals that Sandy is the Bay Area university's most popular law professor, as well as the beloved host of its yearly Passover seders. The lawyer has also lent his name to the Sandy Cohen Fellowship, a summer grant for future public defenders that was founded by real-life Berkeley students in 2004.
The Actor: Gallagher has found steady work in TV, most recently as a CIA bigwig on USA's Covert Affairs. He's also presented Berkeley's Sandy Cohen Fellowship in person at least three times.
6 of 13
Kirsten Cohen (Kelly Rowan)
The Character: Workaholic (and alcoholic) Kirsten is a stay-at-home mom to Sophie Rose Cohen, born in the series finale, as well as a best-selling author. "Kirsten penned a memoir about working moms leaving the workplace called Step Out," Schwartz says, "which was her version of Lean In."
The Actor: Though Kirsten opted out, Rowan hasn't — you can find her on TNT, where she plays both Eric McCormack's imaginary friend and his psychiatrist on the crime drama Perception. (Wait, why aren't we watching that show?) Like Barton, she's also had brushes with web weirdos onscreen: Rowan furrowed her brow as a concerned mom in ABC Family's original movie Cyberbully in 2011.
7 of 13
Julie Cooper (Melinda Clarke)
The Character: Schwartz imagines Marissa's mom got a degree in adult marketing OCU. She works at porn purveyors Vivid Entertainment, dealing with all celebrity-related business. The company nabbed her in light of how she handled her own "home movie" crisis (back in season 2). Julie lives in Riverside with her husband, Frank Atwood (Ryan's dad), and their son, Caleb Cooper Atwood — a good friend of little Sophie Rose Cohen. Next-gen spin-off, anyone?
The Actor: The TV mainstay had a four-episode arc on CBS's canceled series Vegas last season and is currently plotting revenge as the villainous Amanda on The CW's Nikita, which enters its final year this fall.
8 of 13
Jimmy Cooper (Tate Donovan)
The Character: Years spent on his boat primed Marissa's dad for a job as a Carnival Cruises captain. Unfortunately, his maiden voyage was infamous for its "plugged toilets and onion sandwiches," ultimately becoming known as the "Poop Cruise," Schwartz jokes. Jimmy is currently unemployed.
The Actor: Jennifer Aniston's ex (remember Joshua on Friends?) saw his O.C.-esque "rich people problems" drama Deception crash and burn on NBC last season. Hopefully, he'll fare better with his next project: Jerry Bruckheimer's Hostages, which premieres on CBS this fall. Donovan plays the captive husband of Toni Collette's character, a surgeon told to murder the president.
9 of 13
Luke Ward (Chris Carmack)
The Character: Marissa's beefy ex is following in his father's footsteps; Schwartz calls him "the first crossover gay country music star." He's been opening for Darius Rucker in Nashville and no doubt launching each show by yelling, "Welcome to the Music City, bitch!"
The Actor: Carmack is a newly minted series regular on ABC's Nashville where he plays a gay country music star. Art imitates art!
10 of 13
Kaitlin Cooper (Willa Holland)
The Character: Marissa's little sister lives in Cambridge, Mass., where she's "a Fulbright scholar doing research into nanotechnology" at MIT. Not bad for a girl who used to date Chris Brown.
The Actor: The star of Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes stays true to her roots on Arrow, where she plays vigilante archer Oliver Queen's troubled younger sister Thea. Fun fact: The role of Kaitlin was recast in The O.C.'s third season. Mini-Coop was originally played by Shailene Woodley, who's best known for breaking out in The Descendants and landing plum leading parts in the upcoming adaptations of Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars.
11 of 13
Taylor Townsend (Autumn Reeser)
The Character: This fan favorite has earned a happy ending of her own — with Gossip Girl's Nate Archibald. Wait, what?! Let Schwartz explain: "Taylor moved back to Paris to ghostwrite a memoir for a French intellectual who lived in the flat next to Harold and Roman, Blair Waldorf's dads. One day, Taylor returned their cat, Cat, to their apartment and met Blair, who was very taken with her." Blair set up Taylor and Nate; the rest is Schwartzoverse history.
The Actor: Poor Reeser keeps being the best thing about TV series that only last one season (see: No Ordinary Family and Last Resort). At least she's got recurring roles on Hawaii Five-0 and Necessary Roughness — though really, we won't be happy until Autumn snags her own show.
12 of 13
Che (Chris Pratt)
The Character: How'd Atomic County: The Major Motion Picture snag such big talent? With the help of Summer's ex-activist buddy Che, who's ditched heavy hippie knits for ''tailored Armani'' and a gig at WME, Schwartz reveals.
The Actor: As if you didn't know! Pratt's getting ready for another season as lovable dolt Andy Dwyer on NBC's Parks and Recreation. Soon, you'll also be able to catch him advising Vince Vaughn in this fall's sperm donor comedy Delivery Man, voicing an average Lego Joe in next winter's stop-motion Lego Movie, or showing off his anti-beer belly in the 2014 superhero flick Guardians of the Galaxy.
13 of 13
The Valley / Josh Schwartz
The Show-Within-a-Show: According to Schwartz, The O.C's soap-within-a-soap — which starred fictional actor Grady Bridges (Colin Hanks) — is celebrating its own 10th anniversary with a brand new season on Netflix ''because the fans demanded it.'' Hmm?is that a hint?
The Creator (inset): The man behind both The Valley and the series it parodied currently has two shows on The CW — Hart of Dixie, starring his close pal Rachel Bilson, and the Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries. Schwartz's production company, Fake Empire — co-founded with Gossip Girl co-creator Stephanie Savage, also an EP on Dixie and Carrie — has 11 films in development, including an adaptation of Bright Lights, Big City. Its Endless Love remake, starring Alex Pettyfer, hits theaters Valentine's Day 2014.