Be aware there are spoilers for Veronica Mars Season 4.
From show creator Rob Thomas, Hulu’s revival of Veronica Mars is an eight-episode mystery that sees Mars Investigations hired by the family of a spring break murder victim in Neptune. While someone is decimating the seaside town’s tourist industry, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) gets pulled in so deep that, even though she will get to the bottom of what’s going on, it will rock the foundation of her world, forever.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, executive producer Rob Thomas talked about knowing that fans would have a strong reaction to the fact that they decided to kill off one of the main characters this season, knowing that would be a part of the story from the time they pitched the revival of the series to networks, why he felt it was a necessary decision, how hard it was to let the actor know the character’s fate, the intentional misdirection in the voice-over throughout the season, whether the very important Veronica-Keith (Enrico Colantoni) relationship will stay a part of the series, and what the series could evolve into next, if there are more seasons to come.
Collider: While I am grateful for another season of Veronica Mars, I’m also angry at the ending, like many people are, which I’m sure you expected when you made it.
ROB THOMAS: Yes, absolutely. I knew that would be the case.
After you made the movie, did you always know that there would be more Veronica Mars, at some point, or did it take time to figure out what exactly it would be and where it could find a home?
THOMAS: I did not know whether there would ever be more Veronica Mars, after the movie. We hoped so, but there was no guarantee, at all. It was probably a coin flip. And if the movie had been the final chapter in the Veronica Mars story, I would have been perfectly happy with Logan and Veronica being together. Veronica sitting back in her dad’s chair, in Mars Investigations, would’ve been a fine ending. But in a world where now I think we’re going to get to do more of these, I just couldn’t figure out a way that seemed interesting to me, where we played our bad-ass female detective with a boyfriend or husband at home. I didn’t see a way that we could keep integrating Logan into Veronica Mars’ mysteries. That just felt like it would devalue him.
I think there’s a really good reason that shows tend to be over when you get the two big romantic love interests together. There’s no more fodder for story. I don’t know how happy fans would have been, if I broke them up and put them back together, or Logan returned to his dark side. I really wanted to strip the show of its soap opera elements, as well. I want Veronica Mars, as this moves forward, to be a mystery show. That feels like the path to survival. It seems like the way we could keep doing Veronica Mars stories, if we treat the show as a mystery, rather than the teen soap/mystery hybrid that it was, when we got started.
Do you feel like if you had been doing the show this whole time that that would’ve been a relationship that would have broken up and she would have moved on from, many seasons ago, if you had been doing seasons of the show, all this time?
THOMAS: Yeah. If we were literally in Season 15 of Veronica Mars, we would not have 10 seasons of Veronica Mars and Logan, happily a couple. That just sounds really boring to me. Then, you’ve have to make Logan a detective, too, and include him in her mysteries, and that just makes me start to roll my eyes.
Obviously, if you were going to take him out, a car bomb makes sense in this, considering what the rest of your story was. But why did you also decide to give him that moment of happiness, with the marriage, and then take him out in the last 10 minutes of the season? Were you looking for it to have a more emotional impact, as a result?
THOMAS: Yes. I don’t know which would have been more tragic, if he’d gotten killed on the way to the wedding, or immediately after the wedding. Either was going to be cruel. I could have done it either way. Both of them would have hurt. I liked seeing Veronica commit to him, but I suppose she could have already been committed, and he could have gotten killed on the way. That would’ve been another way to do it.
A lot of times, when writers are going to kill off such a beloved character, they first try to find ways where maybe it doesn’t have to happen. Did you ever try to write a version of this season, where you had a different ending and he had a different outcome?
THOMAS: No. I pitched this, when I took out the pitch. I had a phone call with Jason [Dohring], before we started the season, saying, “Here’s my plan.” Making that call was as hard as any call I’ve ever made to break up with a girlfriend. That was rough because I adore Jason, and I love the Logan character. It was like cutting off a limb to save the life. That’s how I viewed it.
Once it came out, and you started hearing feedback from the fans, how did it compare to what you expected? Did you expect such a strong fan reaction?
THOMAS: I’ve been off the internet. The day after we launched, Hulu had a fan event in L.A., and probably three-quarters of them had already watched the series, including the big group from Neptune Rising, which is one of the two really big Veronica Mars fan sites, and that group collectively said that it hurt, but they got it, which is where I hoped dedicated fans would be. I understand that there will be big a section of the Veronica Mars fan base that will not forgive me for this. It felt like making a bet. I feel like this show is going to be better, moving forward, without Logan in it, but if I turned off so many fans that we have no audience moving forward, then I played a stupid bet and I lost that hand. But, that’s not what I’m feeling. I feel like, certainly, there is a percentage that are angry, but the reviews have generally been positive. I’ve talked to a lot of reporters, who are fans of the show, who said, “It hurt, but I got it. I understand why you’re doing it.” And I hope that turns out to be the more common reaction.