'Veronica Mars': Hulu Debuts Season 4 a Week Early in Surprise Release at Comic-Con

We know what we're doing this weekend.

Marshmallows, get ready to spend the next eight hours glued to your computer screens! 

Hulu dropped a major Veronica Mars-sized bombshell during its Comic-Con panel on Friday in Ballroom 20, closing out its 75-minute session with a surprise announcement: All eight episodes of the fourth season are now streaming, one week ahead of its planned July 26 launch.

The news of the surprise drop was met with audible gasps, cheers and excitement in the room, as the panelists -- creator Rob Thomas, executive producer Diane Ruggiero-Wright and stars Kristen Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Percy Daggs III, Francis Capra and Ryan Hansen -- were on hand to promote the cult show. 

And trust us, you'll want to stay off Twitter and remain spoiler-free until you watch every last second of the season. Seriously

The new season of Veronica Mars, which celebrates its 15-year anniversary this September, picks up five years after the fan-funded 2014 movie, reintroducing the seaside town of Neptune, California, in the midst of a spring break crime outbreak when a series of bombings threatens the city's standing as a tourist hot spot as a safe vacation destination.

Working alongside her father, Keith Mars (Colantoni), at Mars Investigations, Veronica (Bell) gets pulled into the new season-long case, which turns out to be far more than she could have imagined. Meanwhile, things seem to be heating up between Veronica and her longtime love, Logan (Dohring). 

Recently, ET spoke with Thomas about the origins of the new season, which he said he has been ruminating on since the movie.

"Kristen and I started talking about the possibility of the miniseries right around the time the movie [wrapped filming] in 2013. We talked about if you get to do this again, how do we want to do it? Because whenever we would get asked about it, both of us would say, 'We hope to do it as a miniseries. At some point, if our schedules ever line up, then we can do it,'" Thomas shared. "Joel Silver is an executive producer and apparently he kept reading in the press that both of us wanted to do it. Finally, he just called me and said, 'Well, if you both want to do it, let's make it happen.' He called NBC and made sure that they would give permission for Kristen to do a miniseries. (Bell stars on NBC's The Good Place.) And at that point, things moved pretty quickly."

The concept for the mystery, meanwhile, came to Thomas -- an Austin, Texas, native -- around the time of the serial bombings in March 2018 and a desire to return to the roots of what made Veronica Mars a classic teen noir detective drama.

"We had a serial bomber in Austin a couple of years ago and that was going on while I was trying to hatch a plot for the miniseries. I had this vague idea that I wanted to return to hitting this idea of a town without a middle class. It was an idea that we presented in the original pilot, where Veronica says in one of her first voiceovers in the series and it seems it's a harbinger for all of America," Thomas explained. "It's a theme that I wanted to go back to, but you don't want to pitch to a network, 'We want to do a show about gentrification!'"

"One of the reasons that we thought about doing it during spring break when there will be a massive influx of college kids was... what is the spoonful of sugar? But I knew I wanted to put Veronica into the 'haves-and-have-nots' world that we frequently gone back to," he added.

All eight episodes of Veronica Mars season four are now streaming on Hulu. Come back here to ETonline on Monday morning for exclusive postmortem interviews with creator Rob Thomas and star Jason Dohring.

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