12:05pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Comic-Con: 'Veronica Mars' Movie Panel Unleashes First Footage, Fan Love
Given the years of skeptical waiting leading up to the Veronica Mars movie finally becoming a reality, the wheels moved surprisingly fast once it had a green light.
An overwhelming response to the Kickstarter campaign preceded the start of production by just a few months -- and with the principal photography wrapping Monday, much of the cast joined the defunct TV series' creator and champion Rob Thomas for their first taste of celebration (and new footage) at Comic-Con.
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Kristen Bell was joined by Jason Dohring, Enrico Colantoni, Francis Capra, Percy Daggs III, Ryan Hansen, Tina Majorino and Chris Lowell -- but before the cast hit the stage, moderator Jeff Jenson introduced a loving tribute video to the fans and what basically amounted to the movie's first trailer.
"I can tell you that it sort of has a Godfather III theme to it," Thomas said of the teasing footage, "Which is odd, because why not pick Godfather II? It was better. … I can tell you [Bell's Veronica character] has not worked as a private detective since the last time you saw her. Part of this movie is her getting back into this life she thought she left behind."
Veronica Mars, it turns out, is a lawyer. Ten years out of Neptune High, and we first see her in a job interview with a prospective employer played by Jamie Lee Curtis -- whose casting provided another Comic-Con surprise.
As for her first day back in her iconic role, Bell did tell everyone the first thing she read on the script. "My first line back was, 'Charming drink names, I can't decide between a beast with two backs or a donkey punch. … Ooooh, do you think they'd let me order a virgin devirginator?'"
She got a few laughs -- as did Dohring and Lowell, the latter playing the more-than-divisive Piz. "Rob called and said, 'I think we're going to bring Piz back,'" said Lowell. "The death threats have almost stopped. Why now? I wore this shirt just so I wouldn't get shot."
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That shirt read "Team Logan," an homage to the overwhelming majority of Veronica Mars fans rooting for Dohring's character.
The parade of fans asking questions about the original series drew a lot of emotion from the actors -- especially the ones who have kept a lower profile since The CW canceled the series in 2007. A teary Capra admitted he thought people had forgotten about him, drawing applause and awes from the crowd.
As for the Veronica Mars that wasn't, Thomas also mentioned his original idea for the film that ended up not working.
"I wanted to do an Agatha Christie movie with everyone in one house -- very few sets and very few guest stars," said Thomas. "And that's not what we did. We made an incredibly ambitious, sprawling low-budget movie. We wanted to include all of those smaller parts that fans really loved."
When asked what he would do with an extra million dollars, Thomas simply said more time. "The tough part has been that you have to be moving all of the time," he said. "The actors know their roles, they're getting maybe three or four chances at a line reading … I want this to be the Bond franchise. I hope we make a ton of money on this movie, and we get to do it through the normal channels. If we're a huge hit, I'm not sure Kickstarer is meant to fund huge hits."
Veronica Mars hits theaters in early 2014.