From the minute you hear Kristen Bell's hard-boiled voiceover, it's clear that some things never change — though Veronica might allege she has. Veronica Mars' titular hero claims to have moved on from her time as a teen detective ("Trust me, I know how dumb that sounds.") in favor of a prestigious career as a New York lawyer. Though Veronica might claim to be a marshmallow now, when she learns Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) is a murder suspect (again!) she doesn't hesitate before resorting back to the righteously indignant and dogged detective we fell for all those years ago.
So who's Logan suspected of murdering this time? None other than Carrie Bishop (Andrea Estella), or as the world now knows her, Bonnie DeVille, troubled pop star and Logan's ex-girlfriend. (How many dead ex-girlfriends can one guy have?)
Can't wait to find out more? Here are eight things to know about the Veronica Mars movie before its premiere:
1. No one's safe Seriously, guys, prepare yourselves. This movie is not messing around. People drop like flies in this thing. Car crashes, gunshots, electrocution — everyone's at risk and no one's above suspicion. And then there's the death of someone who's been with the show from the very beginning that hit us particularly hard. Bring tissues. And lots of them.
2. It's all Adam Scott's fault: While the movie is designed for longtime fans and newbies alike, if you're going to watch one Veronica Mars episode to prep for the film's release it's "Mars vs. Mars." The Season 1 episode featured Veronica investigating claims made by the now-late Carrie Bishop (originally played by Leighton Meester) that their teacher Mr. Rooks (Scott) got her pregnant and she gave the baby up for adoption. In reality, it was Carrie's best friend Susan Knight who had the affair with Rooks, something that haunted her and helped set off a chain of events that eventually resulted in the deaths of both Susan and Carrie.
3. Logan's all grown up: After years of filling his days with surfing, organizing hobo fights and running poker games for Neptune's elite, Logan finally found a way to get some discipline in his life: The Navy. (Trust us, you won't miss his old puka shell necklace-green t-shirt combo once you've seen Logan in uniform.)
And don't let his tabloid relationship with Carrie fool you. Logan's hard-partying, reckless days really are over. In fact, for once it was Logan who took on the caregiver role in a relationship, doing his best to make sure Carrie was safe and sober — not to mention, proving to us he might finally be mature enough for our dearest Veronica.
4. Veronica's still her own worst enemy: Veronica's mom Lianne couldn't resist her vodka, but what's Veronica's addiction? Sleuthing, adrenaline, Logan — those are only beginning to scratch the surface of her many damaging compulsions. But since transferring from Hearst college, Veronica's done everything she can to better herself, even quitting Logan cold-turkey nine years ago.
Now she's back with Piz (Chris Lowell), one of the few men Keith (Enrico Colantoni) actually approves of, and has just accepted her dream job at a top NYC law firm. It's everything Keith's wanted for her and on the surface Veronica seems happy. "Or does all that bores the sh-- out of you, Veronica?" she silently wonders.
Like a moth to a flame, it only takes one phone call from Logan before Veronica is back in Neptune, putting everything she worked for at risk ("When Logan said jump, did you actually say how high?" Wallace jabs). But as delightful as it is to see Veronica slip back into her old habits, it's clear just how destructive this lifestyle is for her. So while Veronica's busy trying to solve two murders, it's obvious to viewers that the film's real mystery is whether she'll completely relapse or will finally overcome her past -- and whether we even want her to.
5. Neptune's class warfare has reached a breaking point: If you thought the first Sheriff Lamb was bad, just wait until you meet Dan Lamb (Jerry O'Connell). Unlike his brother, who wouldn't completely ignore evidence the Mars' brought him, Dan doesn't give a crap about justice or even the law. In fact, he's leading the charge in illegal stop-and-frisks, police brutality and even encourages planting evidence — but only on those unlucky enough to live outside Neptune's notorious 90909 zip code, of course.
6. It doesn't shy away from fan service: Even if you've never seen an episode of Veronica Mars, the movie is still a blast. However, for fans of the show it's like the golden mecca of cinema. Little references to the series are sprinkled throughout, though rarely brazenly enough to feel forced. Neptune High's 10-year reunion provides a seamless way to feature familiar faces that serve no real purpose plot-wise (Corny FTW).
And while Veronica might not slip back into her signature green jacket, something even better resurfaces: The bag! Yup, as it turns out Veronica's kept a box of her old detective gear, including her iconic purse, back at Keith's house. (Unfortunately, her Sidekick was not among the relics.) But that's just one of many little Easter eggs thrown in to make fans of the series squeal — though not always with joy. Veronica and Piz's sex tape from Season 3 comes back in a major way, resulting in brawl that gives us some serious deja vu.
7. Veronica and Keith > Veronica and Logan: Though it's been years since we've seen our favorite father-daughter duo, the pair fall effortlessly back into their signature rhythm. The bad puns, whipfast rapport, Keith's sacrificial protectiveness — it's all there. So while everyone makes a big fuss over Logan and Piz, there's no question if Veronica had to choose one man in her life, it'd be Keith, hands down. And you know what? We can't blame her. #TeamKeith
8. Stay for the credits: After all these years of waiting, do you really think Rob Thomas would let fans leave the theater without throwing in a little something extra? (A cherry on top of the marshmallow, if you will.) While we won't spoil it for you, we will say it features a hilarious cameo by one of the following: Justin Long, James Franco, Gaby Hoffman or Dax Shepard (all of whom you will see in the film, but only one gets the honor of closing it out).
Veronica Mars is set for theatrical release and digital download Friday. Are you excited to return to Neptune?