Let's take a trip back to 2007. Veronica Mars, the much-loved but little-watched show that transferred from UPN to the CW, has just been cancelled. “Kickstarter” sounds like some kind of obscure soccer term to most people, and crowdfunding is not really a part of the collective consciousness yet. Fans of Veronica Mars, affectionately dubbed “Marshmallows” (a play on both “Mars,” the surname of the show's feisty heroine, and other characters describing her by relating her to the fluffy food) are less than happy with the ending of the show's third season, but there's no hope on the horizon of any kind of closure.

Fast-forward seven years, and the Veronica Mars movie is a real, actual, tangible thing. Mars is back in town, and though her character might not be welcome in the fictional Neptune, Calif., the Mars team was certainly very welcome in Hollywood last night. ]
Given the harried nature of red carpets (OK, now you're talking to this outlet, now let's go back and do more pictures, now this TV show, OK, now over here!), it's understandable for the stars' energy to feel a little manufactured, but the atmosphere still managed to be genuinely crackling as cast reunited last night at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

Actress Tina Majorino (who plays Mac in the franchise) takes a picture of the fans.; Credit: Photo by Katie Buenneke

Actress Tina Majorino (who plays Mac in the franchise) takes a picture of the fans.; Credit: Photo by Katie Buenneke

As opposed to most premieres, where the crowds who gather seem like desperate hangers-on, at this one it was appropriate that the fans were there, since this movie probably would not have happened if not for them. Warner Brothers, the studio behind the franchise, was unwilling to make the film, until the show's creator Rob Thomas came to them with the idea of having the show's passionate fans donate to the film via Kickstarter in exchange for “perks” ranging from t-shirts to actually being in the movie, depending on how much they donated.

Spots to watch the red carpet were a Kickstarter perk, but many fans who couldn't afford to donate at that level congregated across Hollywood Boulevard, clamoring to see the actors they love so well. One group of fans brought a homemade “Team Piz” poster, in reference to one of the characters with whom Veronica has been “shipped” (a fan term for when audiences desperately want two characters to be in a relationship). After spotting the poster, Chris Lowell, who plays Piz, walked across the street and gave the girls four tickets to come into the premiere screening. 

The actors seemed to genuinely enjoy the fans' presence, and the fans loved having their favorite feisty heroine back. Fans Alison Nowacki and Bryan Polk, a couple from Sherman Oaks who fell in love with each other as they fell in love with the show, were ecstatic to see the movie become a reality. “I was a huge fan of the TV show, back in the day, and just fell in love with it, the characters, the writing, all of it, and was hoping for a movie for years and years and years,” Nowacki said. “When the Kickstarter came through, I was probably backer No. 101, because I jumped on it really early.”

They love being in the fandom, too, which is best described as a family. “Every time we go to any kind of small fan event, we always leave with one or two new friends who we keep up with. And anybody we've ever met from the cast has been the sweetest people in the world,” Polk said. “The show already has the great writing, the great acting, but good fans and good people making the show make it even better.”

But the real question remains: After all these years of her asking — really, almost a decade now — will Veronica ever get a pony? Enrico Colantoni, who plays her father, Keith Mars, caught up in the good vibes of the night, laughed. “Wouldn't I love to be the guy who gives her one?” he said. “I guess we'll just have to come back and do another movie — or another season!”

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