The desire to bring Veronica Mars back as a movie was not revolutionary – that’s a common hope from fans of shows that are beloved but eventually tossed aside – however, the successful Kickstarter campaign that transformed those wishes into a reality may be.
Shocking the industry with both the size of their goal ($2 million dollars) and how fast they reached that goal, the success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter may be an indication that crowdfunding could be useful for more than indie projects. The question is: which fan-favorite shows could be ripe for this kind of resurrection?
Naturally, there are shows that spring to mind. Firefly, Party Down, Chuck, Pushing Daisies, and Terriers all make sense as comeback opportunities – and in some cases, there have already been minor rumblings on Twitter in relation to the Mars campaign.
Said Shawn Ryan, the co-creator of Terriers:”Very interested to see how this Veronica Mars Kickstarter goes. Could be a model for a Terriers wrap up film.”
Bryan Fuller – the man who brought us Pushing Daisies – didn’t go as far as Ryan, but he did urge fans to vote for his departed show on an Entertainment Weekly online poll that asked fans to indicate which show they would support if they followed in Veronica Mars‘ Kickstarter footsteps.
One show that would seem like a slam-dunk to follow that path is Party Down. That show died after only two seasons, but rumors about the state of a follow-up film have been persistent, and the show was also the brainchild of Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas. On top of that, Party Down also featured Mars‘ co-star Ryan Hansen as one of its leads. Hansen was seen in the Mars‘ Kickstarter campaign video (alongside Kristen Bell, who also appeared on Party Down), leading one to assume that he would be interested in a similar campaign. That’s another part of this equation: a willing cast.
Zachary Levi, the star of Chuck, seemed willing last February when he told TV Line:
“I really want to do it [the Chuck movie] like, kinda Kickstarter style,” said Levi, adding “I want it to be something that the fans can all pitch in for… because we’ve always been supported and survived on our fans anyway.”
Unsurprisingly, Chuck fans – who as a group once helped to keep the show on the air by binge-buying Subway sandwiches – seized on this and started a fund raising drive – though not on Kickstarter since they don’t own the show. That’s another part to this puzzle: a willing studio.
The relationship between the Veronica Mars campaign and Warner Brothers appears to be outstanding. Bringing back a long-shuttered project is not impossible, but it usually requires – among other things - a taste for risk and a willingness to surrender control – two things that studios don’t embrace.
Yes, a Veronica Mars film seems – in this moment – like a license to print money, but if it’s terrible, it could hurt the brand and salt the earth. With Thomas and the cast back in the fold and no need for a huge budget, the risk of a truly onerous continuation seems minimal, but other projects might not be a so lucky.
Firefly is a prime example. Firefly fans got their big miracle in the form of Serenity, a cult-favorite film that performed modestly at the box office. That performance caused Fox to clam up when the conversation turned to future installments, but that might not always be the case.
Serenity cost $39 million to make; not a massive amount of money for a sci-fi epic, but a figure that might prove too large for crowdfunding – and a failed Kickstarter campaign would make a very loud and embarrassing thud. Another thing that would make a very loud and embarrassing thud? A low-budget Serenity that had to sacrifice quality for frugality.
The idea of Serenity 2 assumes, of course, that Joss Whedon could actually fit another Serenity film into his schedule. The same goes for many members of the cast like Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin, Gina Torres, and Alan Tudyk (and wouldn’t he have to be back in some capacity?), who are all working steadily in TV.
For those actors, their hiatus is sacrosanct, allowing them to take on a limited number of other projects. Would they turn down real money and other opportunities to make another Serenity? Would Whedon, considering what he would likely be turning down if he stepped away from Marvel after Avengers 2?
Granted, Fillion and Whedon made Doctor Horrible on the cheap during the writer’s strike, and the upcoming Much Ado About Nothing was also economical – Whedon has that kind of effect on people – but a Serenity sequel isn’t something that could be filmed in Whedon’s backyard over the course of two weeks.
Sadly, it’s one thing to talk about a project and another thing to actually find a way to make it real and actually do it. That’s what makes the success of Veronica Mars so astonishing – it’s a perfect storm, and though the conditions for another one certainly exist, we probably shouldn’t expect to see every dream project come to life.
We’ll keep you updated on the status of the Veronica Mars movie - as well as future crowdfunded TV resurrections.