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The marshmallows were out in full force Wednesday night in Hollywood.
Enthusiastic backers of Veronica Mars' Kickstarter campaign hit the TCL Chinese Theater for the movie's Los Angeles premiere. Most of those in attendance were among the fans who pledged between $750 and $10,000 for various packages that included tickets to the premiere and afterparty, along with other swag such as T-shirts, PDFs of the scripts and DVDs of the film.
Creator-writer-director Rob Thomas said he felt pressure to make the fans happy after they contributed more than $5.7 million on Kickstarter. (A total of 91,585 people made donations to the campaign.)
"Now that I've gotten to see the movie in Austin [at SXSW] and New York, and the fans are happy, I'm a little more relaxed," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "But I certainly felt a lot of pressure writing it. The fans chipped in all this money, and I wanted them to be happy with it."
For her part, star Kristen Bell says the response has been especially heartening.
"I feel an overwhelming amount of joy," said Bell, clad in a strapless pastel-pink J. Mendel gown. "As an artist, all you want is for people to enjoy the work you do and to have this amount of excitement is the best feeling in the world."
Asked if she thought she'd ever be playing the character again, seven years after the CW canceled the show, Bell said she had an inkling that Veronica would be revived in some form.
"I felt in my bones there would be some incarnation of her," she said. "I certainly didn't know that it would be like this."
Meanwhile, Thomas and Bell -- who gamely posed for several hundred photos with fans at the afterparty at Sadie's Kitchen in Hollywood, while other cast members signed autographs -- are optimistic about the chances for a sequel.
"I was talking about the sequel before this one was even finished," Bell told THR. "There is a number that, if we hit it, will be very, very, very easy for them to make a sequel, and I think it's a very possible number."
Added Thomas: "If movie does well -- it's not the most expensive movie in world -- I think Kristen would love to do it, I would love to do it. Fingers crossed the movie warrants one."
Jason Dohring, who plays Veronica's love interest Logan Echolls, said he jumped at the chance to play the character once again.
"This is probably the best character I've ever played," he told THR. "I got to be a bad boy when we started off [the series], and one day [the writers] told us, 'In episode six or so, you guys are going to wind up together.' And we were like, 'No f---ing way.' I got to play this love story and be a bad boy; to get to go back into that role was great."
In the meantime, Ryan Hansen, who plays Dick Casablancas, also is set to star in a digital spinoff of the series that was greenlighted by the CW in January. In the web series, he plays a version of himself.
"It's me trying to get a spinoff with Dick, and all the [cast] will be in it," including Bell, he told THR. Thomas added that the aim is to begin shooting likely this summer, which would be after he production is finished on his CW pilot iZombie.
Enrico Colantoni, who plays Veronica's dad, Keith Mars, said he feels like the movie offers a level of closure for fans who were upset that the series ended abruptly and with no resolution.
"The only expectation we had was to give the backers value for their dollar, and I think it will," he told THR. "As a fan of television and knowing when a TV show ends prematurely, it leaves such a vacancy inside your heart."
While a slew of other former cast members make appearances in the movie, one of the newcomers is Jerry O'Connell, who plays Sheriff Dan Lamb, brother of the late ex-Sheriff Don Lamb.
"It was a really cool vibe on set," O'Connell told THR. "All of my jobs have been for the man, and this wasn't the case." As an example, O'Connell said he was chatting with some people one day on set, but he wasn't quite sure what their jobs were.
"I told them, 'You seem like really cool, creative types,' and I found out they were backers," he said.
The movie, distributed by Warner Bros. Digital, opens Friday in about 270 theaters around the country and also will be available online, to rent or own, the same day. Thomas noted that release strategy was the result of some 70,000 of the Kickstarter backers being promised digital copies of the movie on or around the date of its theatrical release.