Veronica Mars is a ridiculously memorable and criminally short-lived television series that still has a small legion of fans. It actually has enough fans to generate a feature film AND a new season on Hulu over a decade after the series was canceled. And now that Veronica and her squad are making their return to the small screen it seems like the perfect time to reflect on and remember all of the things that made Veronica Mars so awesome the first time around.
And there are definitely a lot of things that make VM awesome, but one thing that sticks out in particular is it's impressive roster of guest stars. Of course no one could have known at the time, but a lot of the bit players on VM went on to become some of the most recognizable and successful actors in Hollywood. So who really stands out as the best of the best guest stars in the VM universe?
10 Harry Hamlin
The casting of real-life married couple Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna as fictional superstars Mr. and Mrs. Echolls was a pretty genius move, but Harry has got to take the cake as the Veronica Mars guest star with the biggest impact on the story as a whole.
Beware of incoming spoilers for those of you who haven't watched VM, but the original mystery that drove Veronica's story line was who actually murdered her best friend, Lilly Kane. There were many suspects throughout the course of season one, but ultimately it was professional liar Aaron Echolls who did the deed.
9 Melissa Leo
Veronica Mars had a habit of hiring prestige actors before they were really well known, and there is probably no better example of that than Melissa Leo. The actress, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2009 and wound up winning one in 2011, was a guest star on one of the early episodes of Veronica Mars. Leo played a transwoman who's son hadn't seen her since before she transitioned.
Said son hired Veronica to help him track down his missing father, but went on to discover that the person he had known as his father John was now a woman named Julia.
8 Charisma Carpenter
Charisma Carpenter is typically at her best when she's being snarky and sassy, and the writers of Veronica Mars definitely recognized and capitalized on that when they hired her to play Kendall Casablancas, the smokin' hot gold-digging wife of real estate mogul Richard Casablancas. Unsurprisingly, there was more to Kendall than met the eye. She and Logan had an affair, and for a hot minute, she was Keith's prime suspect in the bus crash that could have killed her own stepsons.
Later Keith and Veronica discovered that Kendall was actually a con artist involved with the Fitzpatrick crime family, and sadly Kendall's crime spree came to an end when her boyfriend, Cormac Fitzpatrick, killed her.
7 Paul Rudd
In a lot of instances, Veronica Mars is one of the earlier entries on the resume of actors who went on to be enormously successful. However, VM was also a cult hit pretty much from the moment it started, which meant that a lot of successful people were more than willing to work on this relatively small show.
One of the clearest examples of this is when Paul Rudd guest-starred. And, in true, witty Veronica Mars fashion, Rudd played a role that was pretty perfect for him. Rudd played a washed-up 90's rock star named Desmond Fellows, and his abysmal attitude doesn't win him any fans in Neptune.
6 Ken Marino
Veronica Mars has been lucky enough (or maybe their writers have been skilled enough) to have more than a few side characters that have reached near icon status, but arguably their best is the slick, slimy private investigator Vinny Van Lowe, played by the incredibly memorable Ken Marino.
Marino has gone on to some awesome work, but his palpable enthusiasm in his performance of Vinny the scumbag makes his performance on Veronica Mars extra special. If he doesn't make at least one appearance on Hulu's VM reboot then it'll be a real loss for the show and for Kristen Bell herself, who plays brilliantly off of Marino.
5 Jane Lynch
Although we might argue that Jane Lynch's talents were unfortunately underused during her brief tenure on Veronica Mars, she has to make it on the list simply because she's awesome. Lynch only showed up on VM for one episode, and she played the role of one of Veronica's teachers at Neptune High.
And despite the fact that she played a one and done character (as Lynch has actually done a staggering number of times on a staggering number of TV shows) we do have to give credit to the casting director of Veronica Mars, they obviously have a pretty sharp eye for real talent.
4 Aaron Paul
In yet another instance of Veronica Mars hiring actors for bit parts who went on to become critically lauded superstars, we have a pre-Breaking Bad Aaron Paul. And it would seem that Paul has a particular talent for believably portraying criminal creepers, because his character on Veronica Mars, Eddie "The Worm" LaRoche, is a weirdo who at best films drunk women in compromising positions and at worst might be a serial killer.
He ultimately winds up not being the murderer in the mystery of the week, but his creep credibility doesn't take much of a hit considering what a weird, gross hobby he likes to spend most of his personal time on.
3 Krysten Ritter
Obviously, Krysten Ritter is now best known for her three-season turn as the titular character in the Netflix Marvel series Jessica Jones. Now that she has gone on to play such a serious, badass character it's even more fun to look back on her multi-episode guest arc on Veronica Mars.
Ritter played Gia Goodman on VM, a ditzy, obscenely wealthy airhead who is nice and well-meaning despite rolling with the typically mean cool kids of Neptune High. Like most characters and storylines on VM, Gia winds up having a bit of a dark side to her, but she ultimately meets an unfairly brutal end.
2 Armie Hammer
It's not extraordinarily rare for actors to start their careers off with smaller guest starring roles before moving on to bigger and better success, but it is somewhat rare for them to go on to the level of success that actor Armie Hammer has managed to achieve.
Hammer might be an award-winning film star now, but once upon a time, he was just guest starring on Veronica Mars. Armie played a college student and football player at Hearst along with Veronica, and in one of the lighter cases, Veronica tackled he eventually wound up seeking her help to find his missing football playbook.
1 Jessica Chastain
It's kind of hard to beat someone like Armie Hammer when it comes to building up a successful acting career in the film industry, but another one of VM's guest stars actually managed to do it. Jessica Chastain is easily one of the most famous, successful, and sought after leading ladies in Hollywood today, but once upon a time she was guest-starring as Veronica's neighbor on Veronica Mars.
Chastain is definitely crazy talented, but surprisingly her stint on Veronica Mars was actually her second appearance in mainstream film and television. Pretty cool that Veronica Mars was the starting point for a two time Academy Award nominee!