The Veronica Mars movie is a rare example of a continuation of a beloved TV series, which was borne on the backs of her empowered fan base. Fans not only financially supported the production, but made substantial contributions to the content of the movie, thanks to their fan fiction continuations of the TV series.
To me, the production and content of this movie makes evident the changing role of the consumer, and how technological advances have allowed consumers to play an active role in interpreting and recontextualising media.
In the years that followed the cancellation of the TV series in 2007, Veronica Mars gathered a passionate fan-base, and deservedly so. Set in Neptune California, the series was an indictment of the one-percent before the term existed.
After director Rob Thomas left Season 3 unresolved “in the hopes that there would be a movie”, Mars fans — known as “Marshmallows” – spent the years after, clamouring for resolution. A platform in which they tried to reconcile the heroine’s relationships and find closure was fan fiction.
Fans extended story lines, created new narrative threats, developed romantic relationships between characters, and focused on the lives of underdeveloped characters.
Director Rob Thomas couldn’t get a studio to sign on for the movie, so he funded the film though Kickstarter in 2013. Fans donated more than $5,000,000, and Warner Bros. Pictures soon came aboard. The filming lasting 28 days. On release, the film was showed in selected cinemas and became available to rent and buy through online platforms such as ITunes.
There are some interesting questions to ask about the text, and the most prevalent is just how much impact did the fans have on the Veronica Mars movie?
I think a substantial amount!
Fans not only funded the entire project, but they made huge choices in regards to the actual movies context.
Thomas has openly admitted in interviews, that the fanbase significantly impacted the way he wrote the movie, and that “the first film was really a love letter to the fans.” While I was watching it, I wondered to myself, why does the movie have so many characters, many of which served no purpose to the plot?
Because the fans wanted to see them.
“It was a fan-funded movie, and I felt the need to bring back old characters, and cross-reference the old show,” Thomas said. The fact that the film is as much of a reunion as it turned out to be, he says, is because they felt that’s what the backers wanted. Just as (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006) suggest, official producers do not have ultimate control over the messages, products, and consequences of transmedia.
It is evident that the interactions between the producer and the audience had a great impact on the movie and its meanings, as the movie would not be the same without the fans contributions.
The Veronica Mars Movie is a first of its kind. The production and content of this movie makes evident the changing role of the consumer, and how technological advances have enabled consumers to play an active role in interpreting and recontextualising media. The movie was able to exist today because fans financially supported the production, and the content is based on their fan fiction continuations of the TV series.
– Black, Rebecca W, ‘Online Fan Fiction, Global Identities, and Imagination’, National Council of Teachers of English, Vol. 43, No. 4, May 2009, Page 399 of 397-425, available at <http://www.jstor.org/stable/27784341>
– Fear, D, ‘Veronica Mars’ Rob Thomas Returns to the Scene of the Crime, Rolling Stones, viewed 20/3/14, < http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/veronica-mars-rob-thomas-returns-to-the-scene-of-the-crime-20140314>