Be aware there are major spoilers for Veronica Mars Season 4 below. Seriously, if you haven’t watched it, you want to stop reading.
Again, Big Huge Spoilers below.
Five years after the crowd-funded film gave fans a heavy dose of wish-fulfillment, Veronica Mars returned again on Hulu with the eight-episode Season 4. Wish-fulfillment, however, was not on the menu. Veronica’s series-long sweetheart Logan Echolls is dead, so is Spring Break for that matter, and should the series get renewed for a fifth season, it’s staring down an uncharted road that will follow Veronica away from Neptune and away from the show’s legacy as a teen drama.
Season 4 finds Veronica hunting down the Neptune Bomber during a series of deadly attacks while her she’s forced to come face-to-face with her deep-seated trust issues after Logan — now her now live-in boyfriend and general service disciplined, therapy-reformed dream babe — proposes. Veronica rejects the proposal outright, turning her years behind an infidelity-capturing camera into a self-destructive rejection of intimacy (mirrored in Veronica’s failed relationship with Nicole, the scene-stealing bar owner played by Kirby Howell-Baptiste and her continued flirtations with officer Leo throughout the investigation.) Logan repeatedly asks Veronica to go to therapy with him to work through it, but she turns him down every time, and even actively provokes the toxic issues in Logan he’s worked to surpass.
In the Season 4 finale, those plotlines come to a tragic collision when Veronica cracks the case of the Neptune Bomber (the first bombing was Dick Casablancas followed by copycat crims from the local embittered pizza guy, Pen Epner, played by Patton Oswalt,) but she fails to solve his final riddle in time to prevent the tragedy that makes her wish she’d never taken on the case in the first place. Veronica finally accepts Logan’s proposal and the pair walk down the aisle with Keith and Wallace at their sides. But just before their honeymoon, Logan dies in the bomber’s final explosion; a bomb planted in Logan and Veronica’s car.
The scene flashes forward a year and we learn that Veronica’s voiceover has been her conversation with Logan’s therapist — finally. The season ends with Veronica headed out of Neptune, on the road and on her own; leaving her on-again-off-again romance, delightful if a bit co-dependent relationship with her dad and their P.I. firm, and all the familiar faces of Neptune behind. Fan service, who? Veronica Mars doesn’t know her.
Speaking with THR, series creator Rob Thomas discussed the different creative approaches to making the 2014 film and Hulu’s new revival series. “Consciously, we felt like the movie was for nostalgia. We didn’t know if we were ever going to make another one,” he explained. “And because it was fan-funded, that was our give the people what they want effort… We’re going to put in a high school reunion so we can say hi to all these old favorite characters.”
By contrast, the new Hulu series was meant as a step away from everything the film represented, a farewell to the nostalgia and a transition to what he sees as the future of the series. “With these eight episodes, I keep thinking of them as sort of a bridge, taking us from what the show was to what the show will be moving forward,” he continued. “And I want to strip the show of nostalgia. I want it to be about a kick-ass detective solving interesting cases… Moving forward, we’re going to really build around [the idea that] the case is the thing and less of the soap opera of Veronica’s life.”
That means you shouldn’t expect a new boyfriend for Veronica anytime soon — and thank goodness for that. I think we’re all going to be grieving Logan for a long time, Veronica most of all. Speaking with TVGuide, Thomas explained, “It will be tough for her to put many eggs in a romantic basket. She found it difficult to get to a place of commitment with Logan, a guy she’d known for 25 years, 23 years. I think finding love is going to be off the table for a while.”
That doesn’t mean there’s no happy ending in Veronica’s future, but it does mean you shouldn’t expect to see her riding off into the sunset just yet. “Maybe way down the line,” he continued. “It is certainly not my intention to have Veronica lose Logan in such a crushing way so that I could do a television series with a single Veronica [dating around]. I promise you, she won’t be in a hot and heavy relationship with Deputy Leo when we meet her again. I’m not taking Deputy Leo off the table because I love that character and I think those two are great onscreen together, but don’t expect I’m just giving Veronica a new boyfriend. That isn’t going to happen.”
If losing Logan is hard for audiences to swallow, they should also prepare themselves for a new season without many of the regular Neptune faces — for now, Thomas plans to keep Veronica on the road. “What I would like to do, and I think if we get to do another one, I think the next one may be away from Neptune,” Thomas told THR. “I want to make it possible and I want to make it believable that Veronica starts getting cases from all around the country. And yes, we could go back to Neptune, but we could also go anywhere in the world because people have heard of her, particularly now that she has done this Neptune bombing case and there was some sort of Making a Murderer-like show about it that she may have enough notoriety to get called in places wherever a cool mystery could be.”
Thomas doesn’t have the next case figured just yet, but he thinks Veronica is “done with Neptune for a little while.” What might that look like? “I don’t know that this is what it will be, but [we’ve talked about] doing one of those Agatha Christie-style mysteries,” Thomas said. “Like a mystery in a snowed-in manor or on a boat, putting Veronica in a very Agatha Christie-like, though modernized, setting. It’s one of the things we’re playing with.”
But the series hasn’t been renewed for a fifth season yet, so how good are the odds? According to Thomas, it all comes down to one simple metric — how many people watch the new episodes. “I’m feeling reasonably confident. Everything that needs to happen to get to see the show again has happened so far, but there is one remaining data point that Hulu is waiting to see,” Thomas told Rolling Stone. “I mean, we had a great working relationship with Hulu. They were proud of the episodes. They were happy with the reviews. They’re happy with the viewership of the first three seasons. If people show up to watch season 4 of Veronica Mars, then I believe we are going to get to make more of them with Hulu.”
Since then, the series was given a buzzy surprise launch out of San Diego Comic-Con and fan outrage over Logan’s death has been substantial (as the creative team no doubt anticipated, But while Hulu has been mum on viewership numbers, Thomas has remained committed to his bold finale strokes (“The answer is no, I’m not rethinking,” he told ET) and while he admits to taking a “bunker mentality” in terms of sitting out the online outrage, he also still sounds confident in his hopes for Season 5.
“I think it’ll be at least a few weeks as they see how many people watch it,” Thomas told AV Club over the weekend. “We have a good feeling—but who knows, that could be dashed. It wouldn’t be the first time in my life where a show of mine went away because not enough people watched it. But it has felt like there’s this been this groundswell, just the enthusiasm for it. Judging by the reaction, I feel like people are tuning in.”
And what about Kristen Bell? Well, as she told the folks at Comic-Con, she’ll keep making the show “until everyone in Neptune is dead.”
Stay tuned for more on what’s ahead for Veronica Mars and if you’re still processing your Logan grief, be sure to check out our break down of the tragic ending.