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‘Veronica Mars’ Creator Doubles Down on Twist Ending and How It Opens Future Stories

Rob Thomas chatted with IndieWire about the controversial fourth season of the once-teen detective series and trying to push the genre forward.

Jason Dohring and Kristen Bell, "Veronica Mars"

Jason Dohring and Kristen Bell, “Veronica Mars”

Hulu

[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from the “Veronica Mars” revival, including the finale.]

All things must change, and that includes “Veronica Mars,” according to series creator Rob Thomas. By now, the devoted fans known as Marshmallows have seen the revival of the teen detective series that first aired on UPN and The CW, but many were not pleased with the major twist ending.

In the finale, after unmasking and apprehending the bomber who had terrorized Spring Break in Neptune, Veronica (Kristen Bell) and her longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) tied the knot, despite some initial misgivings on her part about the institution of marriage. Before they are about to depart on their honeymoon, Logan is killed in one last bomb planted in their car.

In previous interviews, Thomas had reiterated how that killing off Logan and the fan-favorite relationship was akin to the survival dilemma seen in war or films like “127 Hours.” It felt like cutting off a limb to save the [rest],” he told Variety.

But why Thomas felt the Veronica-Logan relationship held back the show is rooted in its noir trappings. For him, it just doesn’t compute for Veronica and Logan to continue on their path together.

“I think there’s a reason that the shows tend to end when you get the two big romantic leads together,” he told IndieWire. And while shows like “Moonlighting” would bear this out with its so-called ratings curse, other shows like “Superstore” have been able to keep the flame alive. But again, it comes down to the genre.

“And particularly with a badass detective show, I mean there aren’t – I’m trying to think of examples, other than ‘The Thin Man,'” he said, referring to the Dashiell Hammett novel about married society couple Nick and Nora Charles who are drawn into solving mysteries, despite Nick supposedly having left his detective life behind. The novel inspired a series of films starting William Powell and Myrna Loy, and even a TV series.

“There aren’t many couples at the center of a [detective] show,” Thomas continued. “I feel like even this year, you could see the strain of trying to get Logan into the storyline. I’m like, what is Logan going to do? What? Just to be the husband she comes home from her detective work for?”

In a way, Thomas may have written himself into a corner with Logan, who in the “Veronica Mars” movie was a Navy pilot, and for the revival, a military intelligence officer who would get called away unexpectedly for indeterminate periods of time.

“I want the show to be a mystery moving forward, to me, that’s the way the show survives,” said Thomas. “I don’t think we can keep being the teen soap/mystery show. I think we have to move forward.”

What Thomas envisions if the show is renewed are less Neptune-specific local mysteries and more of a hard-boiled overarching mystery in the classic format.

“One thing I’ve been thinking about this next season as really announcing ourselves as a mystery show by going full Agatha Christie, like murder in a country manor or something [like that],” he said. “I mean it would be an updated version of that. There will be no one in petticoats or anything around. I’ve been leaning in towards something that feels like pure mystery.”

Neptune might not be completely left behind though. In the revival, the show introduced viewers to Matty (Izabela Vidovic), a plucky and resourceful teenager whose latent investigative skills are awakened after a personal tragedy. Sound familiar? Could Matty be Veronica 2.0?

“It has some appeal to me. I have not pitched that,” said Thomas. “But particularly if Veronica starts going elsewhere, we do have an interesting character sitting in that office now.”

Check back with IndieWire for more “Veronica Mars” postmortem coverage in the coming days.

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