In the 2000s, edgy teen dramas truly hit their zenith. With ridiculously soapy love triangles, shocking betrayals, and even the occasional murder, television for teens was darker and more addictive than ever.
Beginning in 2004, however, one show entered the scene and proved itself willing to get darker than any of its contemporaries: the UPN (and, eventually, CW) series Veronica Mars.
The series followed the life of a hard-boiled teenage private eye with plenty of emotional trauma and baggage to boot. It also introduced Kristen Bell to the world of Hollywood, cementing her future status as a big name player well before Frozen and The Good Place would.
Veronica Mars addressed increasingly dark topics, ranging from assault to underage affairs to possible intimate relations between siblings. It was unflinching in its pursuit of uncovering the deepest, darkest truths wherever possible.
However, as it turns out, it wasn't just the character of Veronica Mars who had her own secrets hidden away -- Veronica Mars the series had plenty of dark secrets tucked just out of view, too.
With that said, here are the 15 Behind The Scenes Secrets You Didn't Know About Veronica Mars.
15 Duncan and Veronica were meant to learn that they were related
It's a brief plot point in Veronica Mars's twisted narrative that you might not even remember all these years later: Veronica learns that the reason why Duncan broke up with her is because of claims from the Kane family that Veronica may, in fact, be his half-sister.
Of course, this turns out to be yet another lie put forward by the duplicitous Kane family.
However, if Rob Thomas had had his way, this would have been the truth.
No matter their romantic entanglement, Duncan and Veronica were meant to learn that they were related to one another in a twist that was clearly deemed inappropriate for the already squeamish UPN.
If Veronica Mars had, in fact, landed on any of its prospective cable homes, however, it's likely that this would have occurred, making Neptune feel a little bit more like Westeros.
14 UPN initially refused to let Veronica be an assault victim
In this period of #MeToo and the #TimesUp movement, frank discussions of sensitive, important matters such as assault and harassment are becoming increasingly commonplace. However, in 2003, talking about assault on television -- especially television aimed at a younger target audience -- was all but unheard of.
Even more unheard of was these discussions occurring on a network, and not a cable or premium cable channel. Initially, UPN pushed back at the idea of having Veronica be a victim of assault, because they felt it was too heavy for their audience and for the overall tone of the network.
However, in the end, the significance of this trauma for her character triumphed over any hesitation the network may have previously expressed, allowing Veronica's journey to become that much more meaningful in the process.
13 A Cast member sadly took his own life in 2017
Accidental death and the taking of one's life are both tragic subjects that have plagued many popular teen dramas in recent years. In 2017, Veronica Mars officially joined the list of series with impressive young talent who left us way too soon.
Brad Bufanda, who played Weevil's former best friend and right-hand man Felix Toombs across the first two seasons, sadly ended his own life in late 2017.
Felix was both a deeply troubled character and one who showed impressive humor and loyalty.
As a member of the PCHer biker gang, Felix was ultimately taken out due to his love of a member of a rival gang's sister. His memory is carried on by Weevil throughout the series, as well as in the movie, in a now even more touching moment when his name is recalled in a tribute to those who have passed on from the gang's graduating class of Neptune High.
12 Rob Thomas wanted the show to be darker, and on cable
It can hardly be claimed that Veronica Mars was ever afraid to get dark and grim in its subject matter. With countless violent deaths, a college assault plot, and so many more seedy plot elements among its ranks, the show was never for the faint of heart.
However, as it turns out, this was still only just a glimpse of the depths of darkness that Rob Thomas had originally envisioned for his up and coming private eye. Initially, Thomas had hoped a cable channel such as Showtime, FX, or HBO would be interested in picking the series up.
Yet when those plans fell through, and the series landed at UPN, Thomas was forced to scale back on what he had hoped to include. Given what did in fact make it into the series as it stands, we can only imagine what it would have looked like had it aired on cable.
11 Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard: Hollywood's most annoying couple?
Overexposure is a very real problem that members of Hollywood deal with on a daily basis. In recent years, the tide has begun to turn on Kristen Bell's and husband, Dax Shepard's, fifteen minutes of joint fame.
The couple's quirky, honest approach to marriage and parenting was, at one point, refreshing, especially for members of the vaunted Hollywood star class.
Stars -- they really are just like us.
However, over time, the oversharing began to be too much, including frequent discussions of bodily fluids, breast feeding protocol, inappropriate Googling habits, the details of their couple's therapy sessions, and so much more.
It would be one thing for the couple to appear in their (often grating) commercials together. However, to share their unfiltered thoughts on social media and in interviews and whenever possible comes just about to the level of exposure that might be considered too much.
10 Rob Thomas wrote an unsatisfying series finale on purpose
It's the series finale that polarized a fanbase for nearly a decade, leaving them campaigning ardently and pleading desperately for more for all those years.
Veronica Mars' third season finale ends with the ominous image of Veronica exiting a polling place and walking home alone in the pouring rain.
Several plot threads are left dangling as the third and final season drew to an end. What the heck is going on with that secret society The Castle? Would Keith win the election, despite all evidence to the contrary? Would Veronica choose Logan or Piz?
The maddening finale, as it turns out, was meant to be unsatisfying by design. As has been reported over the years, Rob Thomas apparently knew ahead of time that The CW was unlikely to bring the series back for a fourth season, and therefore, decided to go out with nothing resolved to try and sway the opinion.
9 Logan and Veronica's relationship has recently received criticism
The world is a much different place right now than it was even ten years ago, in many more ways than one, and that holds true within the entertainment industry as well. Audiences are no longer willing to endure the same tropes that have been pervasive and problematic for decades.
In recent years, especially following the Veronica Mars movie in 2014, certain aspects of the series have received increased scrutiny -- but none more than the complicated relationship between Veronica and perennial bad boy, Logan Echolls.
Kristen Bell herself has admitted that she didn't support the relationship, citing Logan's troubling ways as an explanation.
Further, more feminist readings of the series have analyzed how frequently abusive and threatening Logan's often controlling, selfish behavior was.
The fact that Logan voluntarily proclaimed that his and Veronica's relationship consisted of "lives ruined" and "bloodshed" really should have said it all.
8 Several unsuccessful fan campaigns were attempted to get the series renewed
Time has shown that passionate fans are willing to do anything they can to save their favorite shows, no matter how bizarre they sound or how costly they may be.
When it comes to Veronica Mars, the fans now known as Marshmallows (formerly considered Cloud Watchers) really pulled out all the stops when it became apparent that The CW had no interest in renewing the series past a third season.
Fans raised enough money to fly a plane over The CW headquarters with a message encouraging them to renew the series. They also sent shipment after shipment of Mars Bars to the headquarters, totaling over 10,000 in the end.
Further unsuccessful attempts included raising over $50,000 in profits from fanmade merchandise and passing out fliers encouraging people to watch in major cities such as Los Angeles and New York City.
7 Paul Rudd was meant to play Vinnie Van Lowe
Sometimes, supporting characters can really take on lives of their own, coming alive in a far more animated capacity than even the best of writers could have anticipated.
In Veronica Mars, that character is the loose-lipped and morally indifferent Vinnie Van Lowe. Portrayed with great comedic effect by Ken Marino, Vinnie is everything that Veronica and her father, Keith, are not -- which is to say, as a fellow private eye, he serves as their perfect foil by embodying everything Mars Investigations rejects.
It's hard to imagine anyone else other than Ken Marino in the wonderfully hammy role, but as it turns out, Marino wasn't the original pick for the part.
In fact, earlier in the development process, Paul Rudd was meant to be Vinnie Van Lowe.
Rudd, however, would later appear in the third season episode "Debasement Tapes," as washed up rock star Desmond Fellows.
6 The show was originally a book with a male lead
Revision is a key part of any writing process. Whether writing for print, digital, or for the screen, it's inevitable that any writer will find themselves shocked by what the final product looks like, as opposed to their initial concepts.
For Rob Thomas, that couldn't have been truer. Veronica Mars began as a novel featuring a male lead who was, like Veronica herself, a teenage private eye.
However, over time, as Thomas realized that he didn't have the time to commit to a novel, and that writing for television may be more lucrative in certain ways, he re-conceived of the story as a television show.
Also, in doing so, he realized that a female-led light noir drama would be far more interesting than a male-led one.
5 Rob Thomas used his own experiences growing up as inspiration for Neptune
Veronica's origins as a male character make even more sense once you know where Thomas derived a great deal of his inspiration from.
Thomas is the son of a high school vice principal, and he has admitted to taking much inspiration for the world of Neptune, and Neptune High in particular, from his own upbringing and all the fun that came from being the child of such a publicly known figure.
We have no real way of knowing whether any of the seedy crime, shocking betrayals, and mind-boggling family affairs that went on in Neptune actually took place within his own life, of course.
However. then again, they do say that all of the best stories all have an element of truth to them, so anything is possible.
4 Veronica was originally described as a young Angelina Jolie
Part of what made Veronica such a refreshing character was the way in which her story wasn't told from a clearly male-coded gaze. She wasn't constantly objectified. Instead, she was also allowed to express herself in ways that aren't often organically allowed in most soapy teen fare.
As it turns out, however, the pilot originally envisioned something much different. Per the official original logline for her character, Veronica was meant to appear this way: "She is not cute. She is s*xy. Tough. Prematurely jaded. Angelina Jolie at 17."
It suffices to say that this version of Veronica would have fundamentally changed the tone of the series, offering something more effusively objectified coded and less chilling and somber in its investigation of the ugliest parts of humanity.
Veronica remained "tough" and "prematurely jaded," but we can't help but be relieved that those are the only character traits that remained from the original concept.
3 A hoax in 2006 made the writers think that the show had been canceled
The concept of a bubble series is familiar to any passionate television fan nowadays, but Veronica Mars truly defined the concept before the term even existed in everyday usage.
Never a ratings hit, despite its popularity with critics and big names like Kevin Smith and Stephen King, the series was scarcely ever not on the verge of cancelation. Its short three season run only attests to that fact in retrospect.
In fact, the threat and fear of cancelation was all too real -- and not just for the devoted fans who tuned in on a weekly basis.
In 2006, a fake press release was circulated, touting the fact that Veronica Mars had been canceled. The hoax was so convincing that even staff writers for the series believed it, prompting Rob Thomas to have to assure them that the series was still on the air.
2 Over 500 actresses were screened for the role of Veronica
Casting the lead role for a series is always a difficult task, particularly when a series revolves around younger characters. Finding someone who is able to carry a series on their shoulders, no matter how short their resume may be up to that point, is a time-consuming and nerve-wracking decision.
So it should come as no real surprise, then, that over 500 actresses auditioned for the titular role of Veronica Mars. Veronica would become an unlikely icon: a strong female character who would go on to give voice to a jaded, self-loathing generation of female viewers who were unable to identify with any of the characters in other teen series.
By casting Kristen Bell, then a relative unknown, the series cemented Veronica's status as a future icon, well before they could ever have imagined her inspiring success.
1 Jason Dohring spent the first season believing that Logan had assaulted Veronica
The recent change of opinion regarding the status of Logan and Veronica as #RelationshipGoals just might be on the right track.
It's an inevitability that characters' roles and motivations will change with time, but for Jason Dohring, Logan's character transformation is especially troubling.
While Logan would go on to become a brooding bad boy love interest for the series' damaged heroine, Dohring went into the series believing that Logan was, in fact, Veronica's assaulter.
He committed, from the start, to portraying Logan in as evil a way as possible, delighting in causing misery whenever he could. Of course, Logan is not the one who assaulted Veronica in the end, so perhaps this point is moot.
However, the intention behind Dohring's performance remains, which decidedly recasts the eventual couple's earliest moments in a much different light.
What other shocking behind the scenes facts about Veronica Mars do you know? Let us know in the comments!