Veronica Mars has long been a fan favorite and nothing proved that more than when fans donated to a Kickstarter to fund what eventually became the 2014 movie. After airing for three seasons on UPN and, later, the CW, the series is back with a fourth season, this time on Hulu. The revival–an eight-episode noir mystery that sees Veronica following the case of Neptune’s Sea Sprite motel bombing while in the throes of vacationing college spring breakers–reunites Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, and Enrico Colantoni, with cameo appearances by many familiar faces.
The Young Folks got to chat with Jason Dohring prior to the premiere of the series. He admitted to being surprised that the series is back after so long, but praises the dedication of Veronica Mars fans (lovingly called Marshmallows). Dohring also discussed Logan’s journey so far and the chance to revisit this character at different life stages, developing the Veronica/Logan relationship with Kristen Bell, and whether he’d come back to the show in the future.*
Season four dropped a week in advance on Hulu, but whether you’ve already binge-watched it or not, the interview is fairly spoiler-free, so read on to see what Dohring had to say about Veronica Mars’ revival.
*This interview took place before the events of the finale were revealed.
TYF: So it’s been five years since the Veronica Mars movie and even longer since the original series. Were you surprised at all that they were bringing the series back after all this time?
Jason Dohring: All of it. Yeah, for sure. I mean, I know that I’m in the third season of the initial show, I remember hearing that the CW network told Rob Thomas, our creator, that “We’re probably going to close it down this season. We don’t know if we’re going to renew it,” and he should probably button everything up and tie it up neatly. And he did, basically, just the opposite, [he] left it open for the audience, which, in retrospect, was pretty cool because I think people didn’t feel like it was fully solved and just the quality of the show also increased the fan base. But I think having that big of a fan base pushing forward the movie was pretty cool and that was just an unbelievable experience.
I remember Kristen [Bell] calling me and being like, “J, do you know what’s going on? This is such good news.” And then we ended up in Time magazine. I mean, my mother-in-law was sending me articles and it was totally incredible. To have it keep going, to be part of something you dumped your soul into and to have it coming back because people appreciated that? That to me, that’s really cool. That people appreciated the work that was put in by the entire cast and everybody representing the show.
TYF: It’s been an amazing ride and you’ve been acting for a long time now, but Logan is the character you’ve played the longest. How does it feel to keep revisiting this character at different points in his life?
JD: Yeah, it’s cool. I mean, that was kind of my dream role as far as like coming out of high school and you’ve got to play this hateful, violent, emotional guy. And then as the story developed, you found out more about [Logan’s] home and life situation, which they developed and then having this romance on top of it with Veronica, it was just a dream. I got to play the bad guy, the good guy, the in-between guy all throughout the show. And then, the one aspect I guess, the disciplined sort of idea of the character, which he found in the military with the writing of a movie and that storyline. So, basically I got to do it all, which I was so pleased to do. I was watching a bunch of James Dean movies at the time, so I was just very emotional. Whatever I find I am watching kind of bleeds into the work, so I was just watching a lot of guys that I appreciated as actors… James Dean and just different things like Brando.
TYF: How has Logan developed since we last saw him in the movie and how has that development impacted his relationship with Veronica?
JD: I think it’s pretty cool the way they set it up, because I was initially the guy who was always flying off the handle, very undisciplined, immoral, all that sort of stuff. And it starts out totally the opposite, having sort of transformed his life. And I think that, in a way he’s sort of a guiding influence in Veronica’s life to start enjoying her life more. Maybe taking the next step in their relationship and he’s a grown-up in that sense. So it’s very weird that that’s how it starts. I’m just going to be back from a tour and so you’ll see we get back together and there’s fire and romance and some broken cracks as well.
TYF: Speaking of coming back from the tour. Logan did end up joining the Navy, so is that where you thought he’d end up or did you envision a different 10 year plan for him?
JD: No, I think that’s cool. I think, just as an actor, just creating maybe what that’s like, seeing people with families and other people when you’re over there and sort of wanting that from your home life. It’s like, “Can I provide that for others?” And having Veronica as such a strong influence, thinking about that in regards to family life. But I’m really glad that they took it in that direction because you can only go through so much pain. I mean, if you make a list of everything that happened it sounds like a soap opera, although it was done very well and over a three year period, but it was pretty brutal. But to sort of come out of that and grow stronger and to try to be a compass for Veronica as well, that’s really where we’re going with it.
TYF: Yeah, he’s had a lot of growth. And in terms of season four, do you have any established relationships with Keith or Wallace or Weevil? What do those relationships look like for Logan?
JD: Yeah. Well, so cool. Because everybody hated me on the show as they should because I was always getting in trouble and organizing bum fights and sleeping with everybody. So I mean it was just a dream character in that way for an actor to play because you could get to do everything, these horrible things. And Rob [Thomas] around that corner was always writing you something heroic. I remember being at these mall tours when we first started out on the show, before anybody really knew, and you’d be signing autographs and people would just skip me. They’d just go right past me to the next cast member because they hated me so much.
And then we’ve got six, seven episodes deep and you saw another aspect. And then you’d have this old grandma and she came up to me and goes, “I used to hate you, but now I’m not sure.” I’m like, “That’s a win, man.” I’m into that. In this show, having basically made a 180 in his life and I’m now friends with all those people. Keith is… we’re enjoying together in sharing in Veronica’s stubbornness and we’re kind of the group, in a lighthearted way, to her resistance to change and that sort of thing. And I’m friends with Wallace because I’ve sort of turned around and made something of my life.
TYF: Kristen Bell seems like a great scene partner and I know that you both have fantastic chemistry. So what have been your favorite scenes to shoot together in the past? And are there any scenes in the upcoming revival you are excited about or you were excited to film?
JD: Yeah. I mean, she’s so good, I just say that. And she’s always right there with you and responds to whatever you’re doing and she just goes. Man, she just goes. I know at the start of this show, which is a cool aspect, [Veronica and Logan] were not intended to be together. Obviously, I was just completely the antagonist on the show as it first started out. And those scenes were so dynamic that the writers saw that and wanted to write more for that. And then they came up to us around, I think the third or fourth episode, and they said, “You guys are gonna get together,” and we’re both like, “What the hell are you talking about?” Like, “Yeah, there’s no way.” And they’re like, “Yep, we’re going to do it. So you guys better start warming up to each other.”
And I remember there was a scene where I had to put my hand on her shoulder as the first step of warming up and I couldn’t do it. But even in rehearsal I just couldn’t do it. And the producers are like, “J, you gotta do it, man.” And that’s why it was so cool when it finally happened because it was never intended in that way to be a romance ever. So it kind of takes the audience for a quite a surprise. And then it just turned out that she was just a brilliant actress and it was very easy to have those scenes with her.
TYF: This is not related to the show, but I wanted to know if you’re still doing organic gardening.
JD: Yes, I am. Yeah, we have 19 chickens and I just got into beekeeping, so I started with one beehive and now I have five. I just did a rescue last night from a friend of mine. It’s so awesome, I love it. I’ve planted over a hundred trees here at the house and yeah, four kids, so just teaching them the names of all the apple trees that we have here. And we go around and they mispronounce them because they’re very young, but we’re getting there.
TYF: What motivated you to start doing that?
JD: God, I just got into it. You know, I think the taste of the homegrown stuff, I couldn’t believe it. When you go to Europe and you take some of the food there, it’s a joy to eat every meal. You know what I mean? Even in places like Australia and New Zealand, I was like, “This is amazing!” You sit down and you’re going to have an experience every meal and it’s so different. The flavor of food is grown when it’s ripe and down the tree or whatever. So I’m able to provide that for my family, and not just my family, but my parents and all of our friends, and we have kids that come over to our house and they’ve never tasted a plum, ever. They’re like, “What is that?” And I’m like, “It’s a plum.” They taste it and it’s like candy, it’s unbelievable. And they’d rather have that than candy, so it’s truly remarkable and I just really kind of developed a love for it and it’s just become a time-consuming hobby that I really enjoy.
TYF: Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited about that you can discuss?
JD: Yeah, and I think that we’re about to do a press release (note: Dohring couldn’t talk about it because it hasn’t been announced yet).
TYF: I’m not sure if Hulu is going to come out with even more episodes for Veronica Mars or if this is just an eight episode thing, a one and done deal, but would you be willing to come back and play Logan if they wanted you to?
JD: Yeah, I mean, of course. I think that they set themselves up very well for this and I feel like the end of this show as it’s written might be the catalyst and start of something that we’ve never had on the show as far as launching into a new aspect of the show. And I think that it really sets them up well if they were to want to continue in that effort. You know, [Hulu is] just extremely happy with the episodes and Kristen’s been telling me that they’re just fabulous, so I’m excited myself.
Veronica Mars season four is currently streaming on Hulu.