Veronica Mars creator wowed by Kickstarter record

A Kickstarter campaign for a movie adaptation of TV's Veronica Mars has raised $4.8 million US to date, surprising everyone from film studio Warner Bros. to show creator Rob Thomas.

Show creator Rob Thomas surprised by movie appeal's success

Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas is shown with star Kristen Bell in 2006. (Associated Press)

Since cult hit drama Veronica Mars was cancelled in 2007, fans have been lobbying for a movie version — and so has show creator Rob Thomas. Now, with a Kickstarter campaign that’s breaking all kinds of records, the movie is going to happen and will be bigger than Thomas ever dreamed.

The Veronica Mars project raised $2 million US in its first 12 hours, setting a record for the crowd-funding site. As the appeal enters the final week of its fundraising campaign, it has surpassed $4.8 million US.

Amazed at that result, Thomas is debating how to meet one of the promises he made to fans only half jokingly: snagging Bill Murray as a cast member.

The majority of the Kickstarter donors are devoted fans of the defunct series who donated anywhere from $35 to $50 in return for treats like a peek at the script, a T-shirt or a DVD of the eventual movie.

Different kind of pressure

Thomas had doubts about the Kickstarter fundraising process, he told CBC’s Q cultural affairs show, especially after Twitter posts he and actress Kristen Bell sent out about Veronica Mars on the eve of the campaign launch did not get picked up in the way he’d hoped.

'I have to do it in a way that rewards fans that have hung in there'—Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas

Now, Thomas said he feels a responsibility to write the film (he’s currently polishing the script) in a way that pleases fans of the original teen series.

"I do feel a different pressure because this movie is being crowd-funded  I don’t know that it’s necessarily a bad thing. There have been many different versions of the Veronica Mars movie in my head over the years. I have to do it in a way that rewards fans that have hung in there," Thomas said.

The series, which ran for almost three years, followed a high school student (Bell) who moonlights as a private detective. She solves mysteries large and small, while dealing with the challenges of growing up in southern California.

Female twist

A former high school teacher and a longtime film fan, Thomas had envisioned a teen series involving a male teenaged crime-solver, but at the time he pitched Veronica Mars, he needed a new gimmick to draw interest.

"The big idea, the thing I was interested in exploring, was this modern teenage generation of jaded adolescence — where they’ve seen too much. They’ve had too much information," Thomas said.

"Suddenly, it became more interesting to me if the hero of the piece was a girl. It seemed a more poignant story if the person facing that was a girl."

When the CW network cancelled the series at the end of three seasons, Thomas says he refused to wind down the storyline with a satisfying end, always hoping to continue it into the future.

Now, he'll get his chance in the film. Veronica's story will resume at her high school reunion, where the out-of-practice sleuth will be thrust into another mystery.