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What You Need to Know About the Veronica Mars Books Before Watching Season 4

From why Weevil and Veronica aren't speaking to the adorable Pony

Sadie Gennis

Veronica Marsreturns (again) later this month for an eight-episode Hulu miniseries. But seeing as it's been 12 years since the original show ended and five since the fan-funded film was released, it's understandable if you don't remember every little thing that went down. To that end, maybe you decided to binge all three seasons and cap it off with a movie night ahead of the show's July 26 return. The problem is, even if you do just that, you still won't be perfectly primed for the miniseries' premiere. That's because creator Rob Thomas and author Jennifer Graham have also published two Veronica Mars books -- The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (2014) and Mr. Kiss and Tell (2015) -- that help fill in the gaps between the movie and the upcoming miniseries.

According to Thomas, the books are "98% canon," which means that if you really want to know everything that's been going on in Neptune leading up to Veronica Mars' triumphant comeback, then you also got some reading to do. But if you're busy as hell and don't have the time to read two novels, just check out the roundup below of everything you should know from The Thousand Dollar Tan Line and Mr. Kiss and Tell.

1. It wasn't easy for Keith to accept Veronica as a P.I. again. The film may have ended with Veronica (Kristen Bell) deciding to stay in Neptune and work as a private detective alongside her father, but that doesn't mean Keith (Enrico Colantoni) automatically accepted this massive change in lifestyle. A good portion of The Thousand Dollar Tan Line details Keith's struggles with Veronica's decision before he ultimately accepts it -- at least, as much as any father can accept their daughter entering into such a dangerous, low-paying career when they could be safe and making bank as a lawyer in New York City.

​Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni, Veronica Mars
Richard Foreman/Hulu

2. Neptune has already been terrorized during spring break. Although the revival season isn't an adaptation of either of the two books, there is one major similarity between the miniseries and The Thousand Dollar Tan Line: they both are centered around spring break crimes. In the first of the two Veronica Mars books, Veronica investigates a series of disappearances that occur during spring break. She's hired by Neptune's Chamber of Commerce to find the women so that local businesses, like the Neptune Grand, can go back to making big bucks off the seasonal tourism. The miniseries will also explore a series of crimes that occur during spring break and the effect it has on local businesses, but this time Veronica will be looking into a string of bombings on the boardwalk and instead of focusing mainly on how the crimes impact the wealthy, the new episodes are more interested in how these tragedies effect the working class.

3. The military literally saved Logan's life. In Mr. Kiss and Tell, Veronica is still having a hard time adjusting to the life of being a military girlfriend, with Logan (Jason Dohring) leaving for long stretches at a time to go on dangerous missions she is never quite certain he'll return from. It doesn't help that Veronica struggles to understand how or why Logan takes his role in the military so seriously, with none of that cheeky irony with which he approached everything when they were teens. But in a heart to heart before an upcoming deployment, Logan opens up to Veronica about how after he dropped out of Hearst he fell into a deep depression and self-medicated with drugs. After overdosing twice and considering ending his own life, Logan joined the Navy and was able to finally find the purpose and structure he had been searching for.

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4. There was never justice for Deputy Sacks. After Weevil (Francis Capra) was framed in the movie, Keith agreed to investigate corruption in the Neptune Sheriff's Department. But when Keith had a secret meeting with Deputy Sacks (Brandon Hillcock) in his car to get information, the discussion ended tragically when another vehicle purposefully rammed into them, killing Sacks and severely injuring Keith. It's clear to Keith that the hit was ordered by Sheriff Dan Lamb (Jerry O'Connell), but the media laps up the false story Lamb crafted about how Sacks was corrupt and the hit was committed by a meth dealer that he had allegedly wronged. Realizing just how dangerous Lamb can be, Keith opts to stay quiet about what really happened that night.

Mido Hamada, Enrico Colantoni, and Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars
Michael Desmond/Hulu

5. Keith has been having medical issues since the crash. Keith may have survived the crash, but his recovery has been a long and arduous one. Keith remains on medical rest throughout much of the first book before slowly getting in on the action again in Mr. Kiss and Tell. But there are certain things that will never be the same with Keith as a result of the crash. Although most of his injuries just needed time to heal, he's now forced to walk with a cane, and his impaired mobility can become a liability in dangerous situations.

6. Norris Clayton is now a cop. This little piece of information is completely irrelevant in the upcoming revival, but it's just fun to know! After nearly being framed by a corrupt DEA agent (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), the surprisingly kind-hearted Norris (Theo Rossi) grew up and went into law enforcement, landing a job at the Neptune Sheriff's Department where he even helps out Veronica from time to time. Maybe if Veronica Mars returns for a second revival season, Rossi will make a cameo and we can see the reformed weapons nerd teaming up with Veronica on a case.

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7. Weevil and Veronica had a major falling out. When the cops planted a gun on Weevil so Celeste Kane (Lisa Thornhill) could claim self-defense for shooting him in the movie, Keith agreed to do whatever he could to help prove Weevil's innocence. Mr. Kiss and Tell dives deep into how that crusade went, revealing that Weevil was acquitted of all criminal charges against him, but they were unable to use any evidence Keith gathered regarding the pattern of corruption in the sheriff's department in court.

However, after the criminal case is dropped, Keith suggests to Weevil that he sue the sheriff's department in the hopes of winning him money to help himself and his family, as well as take down Lamb and any other corrupt cops for good. But shortly before the trial is set to start, Weevil opts for an out-of-court settlement with the department, a betrayal Veronica can't stomach -- even if he did so for his wife, Jade, and young daughter, Valentina. When the miniseries picks up, Weevil and Veronica will still be at odds, breaking our hearts into several tiny pieces.

Francis Capra, Veronica Mars
Michael Desmond/Hulu

8. There's a new police chief. First of all, yes, we said "police chief" and not "sheriff" because, as Rob Thomas revealed in a tweet, Neptune has finally incorporated. But now that that's out of the way, we can talk about the new face of the law in Neptune. In Mr. Kiss and Tell, Dan Lamb is running unopposed until the last-minute entry of Marcia Langdon (Dawnn Lewis) in the race. A former Army Brigadier General, Marcia had been friendly with Keith when she was in high school and he was just starting out on the force, but that doesn't mean that they're friends.

With no patience for lawbreakers -- or even law benders -- when Marcia found cocaine in her brother's closet shortly after she graduated high school, she turned him into the sheriff, leading to her brother's arrest and eventual murder in prison. Although Keith is wary when he sees her running for sheriff, he knows she's still better than Dan Lamb. And fortunately, she wins the election and the Neptune Sheriff's Department is once again Lamb-less.

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9. Veronica got a gun. Despite almost being murdered (several times, in fact), Veronica has always had an aversion to firearms. But in The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Keith gifts Veronica a small gun, telling her that if she really wants to be in this dangerous business then she needs to learn to protect herself. Although she pushes back against Keith at first, Veronica ultimately teaches herself how to use the gun -- a skill you will see her demonstrate in the miniseries.

Max Greenfield and Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars
Michael Desmond/Hulu

10. Leo and Veronica still have sparks. When Veronica teams up with Leo (Max Greenfield) to investigate the sexual assault and attempted murder of Meg Manning's younger sister Grace in Mr. Kiss and Tell, it immediately becomes clear that there is still intense chemistry between her and her ex. But that's not all LoVe fans should be wary of; when things become difficult between Veronica and Logan in the book, she finds herself turning to Leo more and more -- all in the name of the case, of course, but Veronica does muse at one point how much easier she finds it to talk with Leo than Logan. Knowing that Veronica and Logan will go through some difficulties in the revival -- and that Leo will appear in a recurring role -- fans can probably expect Veronica and Leo's continuing connection to play into the new episodes.

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11. Veronica reconciled with her mom and has a half-brother. After Lianne (Corinne Bohrer) made off with Veronica's college fund in Season 1, Veronica didn't speak to her mother for over a decade. But when Lianne's stepdaughter goes missing in The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Veronica is forced to reconcile with her mother while working the case. In the process, Veronica also learns that she has a younger half-brother, Hunter, whom she develops a sweet relationship with. And after Hunter's father is convicted for helping to stage the kidnapping of his teenage daughter, Veronica picks up some of the slack of financially taking care of Hunter and even spends some holidays with him and Lianne.

12. Veronica and Logan adopted a puppy. Look, this may not be as important as some of the other things on this list, but also, PUPPYYYYY! In Mr. Kiss and Tell, Veronica and Logan adopt an adorable pup that they name Pony. So yes, after long last, Veronica finally has her Pony, who will appear in the miniseries because Rob Thomas knows what the people really want, and it's cute dogs.

Veronica Mars premieres Friday, July 26 on Hulu.

​Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars
Michael Desmond/Hulu