"Veronica Mars" returned to the small screen with a long-awaited fourth season on July 19, 2019. In honor of the Hulu revival of the noir mystery series — which aired for three seasons between 2004 and 2007 before scoring a 2014 film follow-up — Wonderwall.com rounded up everything you need to know about Season 4 before you start streaming. Keep reading to prepare for the big return of Kristen Bell's titular detective…
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Let's start with the basics: Season 4 of "Veronica Mars" debuts on Hulu on July 26, 2019. It consists of eight hour-long episodes and features returning stars Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring, Percy Daggs III, Francis Capra, Ryan Hansen, Max Greenfield, Ken Marino, Daran Norris, David Starzyk, Adam Rose, Ryan Devlin, Julie Gonzalo and James Jordan. (Series creator Rob Thomas has said that Season 4 will see Veronica paying a visit to a prison where she encounters several individuals from her past.)
Season 4 of "Veronica Mars" will also feature some new (but recognizable) faces. Patton Oswalt is true-crime enthusiast Penn Epner, whom series creator Rob Thomas described to Vanity Fair as "a pizza driver on the wrong side of 40 still delivering pizzas who witnesses this first bomb and becomes obsessed with it." J.K. Simmons is ex-con Clyde Prickett — "He plays a guy who served time in [prison] at the same time as Big Dick Casablanca. He helps him survive prison in exchange for a job on the outside," Rob told VF. "Major Crimes" and "Battlestar Galactica" star Mary McDonnell is a therapist named Jane. (It's unclear who exactly she'll be treating.) Clifton Collins Jr. is cartel hitman Alonzo Lozano. "A Different World" star Dawnn Lewis is Neptune Police Chief Marcia Langdon — a character who was first introduced in the 2015 "Veronica Mars" book "Mr. Kiss and Tell." And finally, "Killing Eve" and "Barry" actress Kirby Howell-Baptiste is Neptune nightclub owner Nicole Malloy.
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Sadly, not every fan-favorite character will be back for Season 4. Veronica's high school pal Mac (Tina Majorino) — who appeared on the first three seasons of "Veronica Mars" and starred in the 2014 film — won't appear on the Hulu revival. "She had other commitments. That was a shame. We adore her. We would have loved to have had her in it," series creator Rob Thomas said in June 2019 of Tina's absence from Season 4. Veronica's ex-boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell) is also missing from the new season.
Here's how Hulu describes Season 4, which takes place five years after the "Veronica Mars" movie: "Spring breakers are getting murdered in Neptune, thereby decimating the seaside town's lifeblood tourist industry. After Mars Investigations is hired by the family of one of the victims to find their son's killer, Veronica is drawn into an epic eight-episode mystery that pits the enclave's wealthy elites, who would rather put an end to the month-long bacchanalia, against a working class that relies on the cash influx that comes with being the West Coast's answer to Daytona Beach." Trailers for the new season show that the killer is offing spring breakers by attaching explosives to them and then detonating the bombs. According to Deadline, Veronica comes to believe that the murderer is selecting his or her victims from the mass of partygoers at Nicole's nightclub.
After the "Veronica Mars" movie debuted, series creator Rob Thomas published two books about the former teen detective: 2014's "The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line," which directly follows the events from the film, and 2015's "Mr. Kiss and Tell." Like "The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line," Season 4 of "Veronica Mars" takes place during spring break. But the Hulu revival isn't an adaptation of the book. "[That] is NOT the story we're telling," Rob tweeted in September 2018 before explaining how the books set up the new season of the show. "We're five years after the movie. Books are 98% canon. Pony is included. Marcia Langdon is police chief. Spoiler: Neptune finally incorporated," he wrote. Neptune Police Chief Marcia Langdon, who will be portrayed by "A Different World" alum Dawnn Lewis, first appeared in "Mr. Kiss and Tell." Pony, meanwhile, is Veronica's dog, who also made his first appearance (as a puppy) in "Mr. Kiss and Tell."
In May 2019, Kristen Bell told Wonderwall.com that the fourth season of "Veronica Mars" will depict the titular heroine's "very grown-up world." Said the actress, "Veronica is grown up and so is the world around her, and that makes it darker and heavier — but just as funny."
Kristen Bell told Elle that Season 4 "will be a controversial season." The actress added cryptically, "I am excited for people to watch, and I am also probably going to stay off the Internet once it airs. … There's some stuff that happens that people will have strong feelings about."
Kristen Bell told Vanity Fair that Season 4 of "Veronica Mars" will center around a conflicted version of the titular detective: "She is a woman figuring out what she wants out of the rest of her life, which are very different decisions than the ones you make when you're 16," said the actress. "She sees the world differently. She's a little more bitter now than when she was on the series." Kristen also told Entertainment Weekly that her on-screen alter ego's world is now "much darker" and "bigger." She teased of Season 4, "It's definitely not going to be what we did on UPN or The CW, so I want to brace fans for that — that it's going to be darker and bigger and more cinematic and definitely a little bit different."
During a "Veronica Mars" panel at the 2019 ATX TV Festival in June, series creator Rob Thomas said that Season 4 will see Veronica at a "crossroad" between "commitment, family, mortgage, kids [in] one direction and freedom, irresponsibility, 'do whatever I want' [in] the other direction." He added that "a big part of the story has to do with what kind of life Veronica wants to live." As for Logan — Veronica's longtime off-and-on flame played by Jason Dohring — they're still going strong. "He's very put together … [and] almost helping Veronica through some things and trying to get her also, sort of, on board," said Rob.
New cast member Izabela Vidovic stars as Matty Ross, a teenager who, according to Vanity Fair, "brings out a whole new side to Veronica" when they connect after Matty's father is murdered. "That was an incredible dynamic to add," Kristen Bell told Vanity Fair of Veronica and Matty's relationship. "It was fun to let Veronica explore her maternal instincts, which she is barely in tune with — but Matty brings them out. It's just a whole new dynamic for Veronica to care about a younger person, to genuinely care about another person."
Kristen Bell told Vanity Fair that when Season 4 kicks off, "We have a new Logan on our hands." Added the actress, "It's something Veronica loves, is competing with, and [is] annoyed by." Jason Dohring, who plays Logan, told Vanity Fair that his on-screen alter ego has gone "the 'Officer and a Gentleman' route" and that "there's love and professionalism and duty" in his life now. "He's continued to try and put his demons in the past, and he's been largely successful at it," continued the actor, who added that Veronica, on the other hand, "likes her demons" and "thinks they drive her."
When Season 4 of "Veronica Mars" kicks off, the title character will be sharing a cramped apartment on the beach with Logan and their dog, Pony. "I wanted there to be no space — like when you get home, you're on top of each other," series creator Rob Thomas told Vanity Fair. "Sometimes that's great, and sometimes it's maddening. And for somebody as independent as Veronica [it's especially challenging]."
Actor Enrico Colantoni told Vanity Fair that Season 4 of "Veronica Mars" will show how the title character's relationship with her father — his on-screen alter ego, Keith Mars — has changed as she's gotten older. "When she was a young girl, it was all about protecting her, and making sure she's okay and makes choices that manifest into a good healthy life. Now that she's an adult, there's only so much that he can stop her from doing," he said. Their business relationship has changed too: "Keith doesn't care enough about making money," said series creator Rob Thomas. "Veronica's the realist going, 'Hey Dad, we have to fold tent if we don't start making money.' … In some respects, it almost comes off like Veronica's the boss."
Veronica's hometown — the recently incorporated (in the books) Neptune — will be different too. "The chain stores come in and replace the mom-and-pop places, and the beach changes, and the energy changes, and it's no longer a small town," Keith Mars actor Enrico Colantoni told Vanity Fair. Weevil actor Francis Capra added that Season 4 will see "all sorts of criminals who are not [in Neptune] usually" drawn to the beach town because of spring break and the ability to target the tourists — "kids with throwaway money." Said the actor, "It's a hyper-realized, exaggerated version of Neptune. You see the underbelly of the city."
Speaking of Weevil… Actor Francis Capra told Vanity Fair that his on-screen alter ego has fully reverted to a life of crime: "You see the underbelly of the city — and wherever that is, Weevil's not too far behind," he said.
On Season 4 of "Veronica Mars," Max Greenfield's Leo D'Amato is working as an FBI agent. He's sent to his former hometown of Neptune to assist the local authorities with the case.
According to Vanity Fair, Percy Daggs III's Wallace Fennel — Veronica's longtime BFF — is now married to a lawyer and working as a high school physics teacher and basketball coach at their alma mater.
Ryan Hansen told Vanity Fair that his on-screen alter ego, Dick Casablancas, is "the king of spring break" on Season 4 of "Veronica Mars."
Series creator Rob Thomas told Vanity Fair that because "Veronica Mars" is on Hulu instead of network television — and because the characters are adults now — they can get away with more on screen. "We get to swear. The sex scenes don't look like CW makeout scenes. It looks like adults having sex," he said, adding that he's "trying to turn the show from a CW soap opera with detectives into a detective show."
Season 4 won't be as nostalgia inducing as the "Veronica Mars" movie. "I will say this: the movie was nostalgic. The Hulu limited series isn't going to be. Hardcore So-Cal noir. One big case. Eight episodes to tell the story. This is a detective show," Rob Thomas tweeted in September 2018.
Season 4 of "Veronica Mars" won't necessarily be the end for the titular detective. Star Kristen Bell and series creator Rob Thomas have both been vocal about their desire to keep telling stories centered around the character for as long as there's an audience. That doesn't mean the season will end on a cliffhanger, though: "There's also some conclusionary stuff within it," Kristen told E! News after insisting the fourth season of the show won't serve as her on-screen alter ego's swan song.
Season 4 of "Veronica Mars" will have a new sound: The show's original theme song — "We Used to Be Friends" by The Dandy Warhols — has been updated. The Pretenders front-woman Chrissie Hynde recorded a cover to serve as the soundtrack to the revival's new opening credits sequence.
The fourth season of "Veronica Mars" will also feature one majorly unexpected writing credit: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Series creator Rob Thomas took to Twitter in September 2018 to announce that the former basketball star — who also happens to be a New York Times-bestselling author — would be working on Season 4. "And yes, if you're brilliant and give yourself a #PartyDown Twitter handle, I'll hire you. Or, you could be the NBA's all time leading scorer, but you must still be brilliant," he captioned a collage of photos of the "Veronica Mars" writing staff that included a shot of Kareem and his writing partner, Raymond Obstfeld. The duo, who connected with Rob after Kareem publicly professed his "Veronica Mars" fandom, co-wrote Episode 6 of Season 4.
Kristen Bell was convinced "Veronica Mars" needed to come back for a fourth season for two main reasons: "No. 1: That show is not just about a female heroine — a hero without a cape — it is also about the haves versus the have-nots, and that has never been more relevant than it is right now. It was relevant when we did it 15 years ago, and it's even more relevant right now," she told Wonderwall.com in May 2019. "The second reason is, when I looked at my schedule and I thought… This is gonna take six months to shoot. This is gonna be a monster to film [because] noir is filmed outside — at night, often — which means I'm gonna be missing bedtime. I gotta decide, 'Do I want a world bad enough that my girls [daughters Lincoln and Delta] grow up in where Veronica Mars exists as a reference and as an idol and as a North Star?' And the answer was yes."