WARNING: Spoilers For Veronica Mars Seasons 1-3 and Veronica Mars: The Movie below.
Marshmallows rejoice because the new season of Hulu’s Veronica Mars revival is almost upon us.
The show, which sees Veronica investigating a new mystery that involves an explosion, murder, and a bunch of scantily-clad Spring Breakers, is even darker and more grown-up that previous iterations. Kristen Bell returns to kick some butt and tase some bad guys as she tries to clean up the town of Neptune and prevent a class war from breaking out while also adjusting to domestic life with her long-term boyfriend, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring).
Before you start bingeing the new season, here’s a quick guide to what’s happened in the world of Veronica Mars — from the show’s original run to the films and books that have followed — plus a teaser of which characters and stories you should pay attention to if you’re going to solve the case.
The Original Mystery
When Veronica Mars aired 15 years ago on the now-defunct UPN, it practically invented the noir, teen murder mystery genre that shows like Riverdale now bank on. The series, which followed Kristen Bell as the titular detective, who was balancing high-school with her side gig of snooping, built much of its season one storyline around the tragic murder of Veronica’s best friend, the rich, hard-partying Lily Kane (Amanda Seyfried). Lily’s murder devastated the town of Neptune and altered the course of Veronica’s life forever. She split from her jock boyfriend (Lily’s brother Duncan), was exiled from her group of popular friends, and filled the void of intimacy with an obsession to uncover who was responsible for Lily’s death.
The answer to that question took everyone by surprise and ended up re-shaping the narrative moving forward. We learned that Aaron Echolls (Harry Hamlin), the father of Veronica’s nemesis-turned-love-interest Logan, had been having an affair with Lily (who was Logan’s girlfriend at the time) and killed her to keep the relationship secret. With Logan’s family life a wreck, his father’s legacy tarnished, Veronica nearly burned alive at the hands of Aaron, and a biker gang thrown in the mix, season one ended on a cliffhanger that promised even more drama. And it delivered.
Season two saw a new mystery — the crash of a school bus that killed a shocking number of Neptune High students. The crash and the conspiracy behind it were the overarching cases of show’s sophomore run, as Veronica uncovered a connection between Neptune businessmen intent on widening the economic gap between the rich and the poor in the town and the nefarious dealings of parents of her high school classmates. The season ended with the death of Aaron Echolls (who had just been acquitted for Lily Kane’s murder), Duncan’s decision to flee the country, a gang war put to bed, and the romantic reunion between Logan and Veronica. Oh, and the crew’s college acceptance letters.
Season three picked up with Logan, Veronica, her best friend Wallace (Percy Daggs III), and Logan’s 09er buddy Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen) attending college together. Veronica had two new cases to solve. The first concerned a serial date rapist that brought back memories of Veronica’s own date rape in high school. The second saw the group investigating the murder of the college’s dean. A handful of new characters were introduced in season three, most notably Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell), who became a romantic rival for Veronica’s affections when her relationship with Logan started to deteriorate. The show’s third season performed poorly in the ratings department, so its new network, the CW, decided to give it the ax, but that didn’t stop fans from campaigning for a follow-up film, which they eventually got.