Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars

A long time ago, we used to be friends with a whip-smart teen sleuth named Veronica Mars. And now, thanks to a historic Kickstarter campaign, Mars is back in Neptune — this time on the big screen. In this week’s cover story, star Kristen Bell and creator Rob Thomas take EW along for the roller-coaster revival of the beloved cult TV series. Just a year ago, a big-screen revival of Veronica Mars was still a pipe dream. But after a groundbreaking and breakneck turn of events, on March 14 it will be a dream come true for tens of thousands of fans that made it come true by donating $5.7 million last spring to a Kickstarter campaign — organized by Mars creator Rob Thomas — to finance the revival they’ve wanted since The CW canceled the series in 2007. Even Veronica is pinching herself. “Never before have we had a platform that allows people to engage us and tell us what they want,” Kristen Bell told EW when we visited the set of the movie last summer. “We said, ‘Guys! Maybe we’re crazy, but we really want to do it again. Do you?’ And they answered!” Adds Thomas, “We’re guinea pigs for a whole new model of filmmaking. It would be nice to be a success.”

Shippers invested in Veronica’s relationship — or lack thereof — with broody bad boy Logan (Jason Dohring) will be delighted to know that the movie hits the angle hard… especially after a tragedy in his personal life requires Veronica to return to her roots as a PI. But brace yourself, Team Logan fans: As the film opens, Veronica is (SPOILER ALERT) still dating Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell, currently on Fox’s Enlisted). Dohring — who we’re pleased to report is so much more mild-mannered in real life — admits he never quite understood what the ladies saw in his character: “I watch some of those old episodes and go, ‘Geez, Jay, you’re such a dick!'”

Whatever happens at the box office, Veronica Mars will continue to live on after the release of the film with a series of novels published by Vintage and overseen by Thomas; the first one hits in March. As for more movies (or even, perhaps, another TV series?), Bell likes her heroine’s chances: “I am not too pessimistic about this being the last round.”

For more on the long-term franchise plan for Veronica Mars (and yes, there is one), and to find out whether more of your favorite cult TV shows — including Firefly, Party Down, and The Comeback — will be revived, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, Feb. 14. And for an exclusive video of Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring re-enacting one of Veronica and Logan’s most famous scenes, be sure to like Entertainment Weekly on Facebook.

Episode Recaps

Veronica Mars
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