PaleyFest 2014: The Veronica Mars Reunion Panel Recap

FdS16R0 - ImgurOpening night for PaleyFest 2014 was full of laughs and nostalgia with the festival starting with The Veronica Mars Reunion panel.

This year’s events have been moved to the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center and the layout and atmosphere inside makes me hope that the move is permanent.

The moderator for the night was Alan Sepinwall, a television critic from The panelists were Rob Thomas (creator & executive producer), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls), Enrico Colantoni (Keith Mars), Chris Lowell (Stosh ‘Piz’ Piznarski), Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas), Francis Capra (Eli ‘Weevil’ Navarro), Percy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel), and Tina Majorino (Cindy ‘Mac’ Mackenzie).

After a brief introduction by Sepinwall and Thomas, the fans were shown the full documentary of By The Fans: The Making of the Veronica Mars Movie. It was filmed by Viet Nguyen and documents the making of the film from Kickstarter launch through filming and press events.

LZsCCSF - ImgurHighlights from this include, Thomas explaining his worry about not making the Kickstarter goal before the donation page went live, the moment they saw the page hit their goal of $2 million, and the cast’s reactions upon seeing each other on the first day of filming. Interspersed are small interviews of Kickstarter backers and their reaction to their favorite tv series becoming a movie and being able to be a part of that. Also, there were a few guest star cameo spoilers during the interviews which included: Justin Long, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dax Sheppard, and James Franco. A stand out part is when Bell is asked if it was hard to become Veronica again, in which she replies “my body wants to be Veronica like it needs oxygen.” Nguyen has confirmed on his Twitter account that the documentary will be included as part of the DVD extras.

Once the cast was introduced and brought out on stage, there were lots of laughs and joking between the cast. A recurring joke through out the night was Lowell’s fear that Piz would not be included in the movie and he said that he was afraid that he would have to be the person to purchase the $10,000 Kickstarter reward for a walk on role in the film.

Thomas explains that the Kickstarter video was actually filmed a year before their campaign was launched because they had wanted to put this idea in motion that long ago. Though everything was ready to go, Warner Bros pulled the plug about three or four days before their original launch. The campaign was revitalized by becoming viral within the studio.

Many of the cast poked fun at Hansen’s character Dick. Lowell explained that “Ryan never dropped character” in the time between the end of the television series until now. When asked if Dick has changed as a person, Hansen explains that “Dick is a bigger dick. It’s hard to be Dick.”

A surprise that Thomas revealed was that Logan and Veronica were never originally intended to be together but the chemistry between Dohring and Bell made even the writers want them together – so they did for their own gratification.

When asked why the Logan/Veronica relationship works regardless of how Logan treated Veronica in earlier episodes, Dohring explains that it’s because Veronica understands Logan’s loss and vice versa. Bell sums it up with “wounded birds are attracted to other wounded birds.”

Going back to season 1, the cast was asked if they knew who Lily’s killer was at all during the season and no one did. Capra expressed his fear that Weevil really was the killer and that one day Thomas would just walk in and tell him that it was him.

Thomas also explained that the hardest part about filming the show was that they could not guarntee when they could have the guest stars for episodes since they were free to take on other projects during filming. But he also conveyed the cast’s dedication to the series by telling a story about how he had always known that Aaron Echolls – portrayed by Harry Hamlin – would eventually be revealed as Lily Kane’s killer but then Hamlin was cast for a role based in Australia. Without Hamlin, the story that they had originally built up already would have to be rewritten in some way because there would still do the reveal without the character. But Hamlin ended up giving up the role to be able to film these scenes for Veronica Mars instead.

PO6Ml8q - ImgurDuring the Q&A, the cast was asked a question about their fan interactions and how they have been affected by the Kickstarter, and Bell explains that they put the fans first and foremost because of their belief in the project. After the panel, the majority of the cast stayed back to sign mementos and take pictures with as many fans as they could even while security was trying to bring them offstage.

With this last event, the countdown is over and the film is finally here. The Veronica Mars movie opened March 14 and is available for digital download worldwide. Also available soon is the first novel in the new Veronica Mars series.

All photos copyright Kevin Parry for Paley Center for Media