Today at Comic-Con was the big Veronica Mars movie panel. It was a chance for the cast to get fans all riled up once again about the Veronica-Logan-Piz love triangle and make Dick jokes. (Dick is a character in the show.) Of course it makes sense; this insider-y fan obsession is what allowed them to make the movie through a somewhat controversial Kickstarter campaign. But if creator Rob Thomas' franchise dreams were to be realized, he doesn't want to use Kickstarter again.
At the panel, per The Hollywood Reporter's Michael O'Connell, Thomas revealed his big dreams for his private investigator character, making her into a "James Bond" type with multiple films. He already has a deal for two follow-up books. "I want this to be a franchise," he said. "I hope we make a ton of money on this movie, and we get to do it through the normal channels. If we're a huge hit, I'm not sure Kickstarter is meant to fund huge hits."
The Veronica Mars movie set the, what some might call unfortunate, trend of famous people using Kickstarter to help fund their projects. In the case of Veronica Mars, famous person Kristen Bell was asking non-famous people to help her make a movie that will be put out by big-movie-studio Warner Bros. Richard Lawson wrote at the time: "If this was some little indie movie it'd be different, but again Warner Bros. will be the ones distributing it and, theoretically, pocketing any extra money that comes in. Basically you're donating money to a movie studio. Is that something anyone should be asking you to do?" Thomas is now backing away from Kickstarter with the hope that his movie will be a hit. If not? Well, that's the problem.
It might not be that easy for the Veronica Mars franchise to become financially independent. It's really not clear yet how non-fans will respond to the reboot, which is planning some starring cameos. Jamie Lee Curtis appeared in the footage shown at Comic-Con. As Michael Cantrell tweeted from the panel: "Veronica Mars fans will most likely love the movie (which will be out early 2014). I'm still not sure it will do well in theaters." While Thomas said (per HitFix's Alan Sepinwall) that he kept references to the big mysteries of the television show like the Lilly Kane murder out of the movie for the benefit of "people who are coming fresh," the endeavor is still very much for the fans. The question is whether those fans will let go if the movie doesn't have wide appeal or whether Thomas will revert to his kickstarting ways.