Entertainment

'Veronica Mars' Star Jason Dohring on Logan's Big Season 4 Twist

Jason Dohring logan veronica mars
Jason Dohring as Logan in 'Veronica Mars' | Michael Desmond
Jason Dohring as Logan in 'Veronica Mars' | Michael Desmond
This interview contains major spoilers for Season 4 of Hulu's Veronica Mars. Proceed with caution.

"I thought our story was epic," Logan Echolls once told Veronica Mars. "You and me. Spanning years and continents. Lives ruined and blood shed. Epic." The pair's undeniable electric chemistry led many in the cult show's fanbase to ship them as LoVe (Logan + Veronica, get it?), and they finally tied the knot in Season 4. And then, just as fans finally got what they wanted, it was cruelly taken away, as Logan became the final victim of the Neptune bomber. To say fans have been outraged is an understatement. Actor Jason Dohring, who plays Logan, attempted to comfort us about his character's death, shared some final insights, and gave us hope for a LoVe flashback if there's a next season. 

logan veronica mars
Michael Desmond

Thrillist: Have you seen the huge online reaction regarding what happens to Logan? Did you read through any of the #LoganDeservedBetter hashtag on Twitter or in other forums? 
Dohring:
Yeah. Not too much, you know what I mean? Obviously, I knew going into it. [Showrunner Rob Thomas] was kind enough to let me know, before any of the scripts were written, what the whole story would be. And I was sad. But he was just totally outstanding as a gentleman and just told me everything, including the reasoning or rationale behind why he was doing that and making those choices. It was very helpful, to understand his choice and his plans for the show. And I was really happy that we kept up the quality of the show, for the fans. And I think they really enjoyed that aspect of it.

Well, maybe, but some people are very upset about Logan dying. And some take issue with Rob's rationale for it. I don't know if he explained it the same way to you, but he's explained it in a few interviews -- how he wanted to get past the teen drama, how he wanted Veronica to be an underdog. He expanded on that in one interview where he said Veronica needs to be single.
Dohring:
Yeah. It was those first two points that I was made aware of. Trust me, I was sad, man. There was probably nobody sadder than me about this, for the first two days I knew about it, because I enjoyed creating this so much, more than you know. It's one of the top characters I've ever played. And being a part of that family, and making something that's special for people. That was something that was really meaningful in my life, you know? And I was just pleased that I could have been a part of such a thing. 

So those two days when you first got the news, what did you do during those days to help you come to terms with it?
Dohring:
Um, well... I'll be honest, I think it was just trying to understand what Rob was saying to me, and if I stepped back, I could see that, for the longevity of the show. That understanding made me able to move through it. But I was also like, "What do I tell my wife?!" You know what I mean? Because my family are big fans of the show, and we had a viewing party scheduled, and everybody was asking about that, and he was asking me not to tell anyone. I did tell a few select people, but not many. Because even telling certain cast members was quite an experience, you know what I mean? It would just be met with disbelief.

So what do you tell people then, to comfort them? Because that sounds like one the stages of grief, and that's what a lot of the fans are going through. Denial, anger, bargaining... They have all sorts of arguments about this, that Veronica and Logan could have a healthy, grown-up relationship, that having a relationship wouldn't prevent her from doing detective work. And perhaps more so than other fandoms, they feel very personally invested in this, because they donated money to the Kickstarter or whatever.
Dohring:
Yeah, sure. That's all understood. To some degree, I guess that's storytelling, and where do you want to take the show? I've always been a fan of Rob's work, and I've never been disappointed by the quality of his shows, and I've worked on a few of them. That's partly why people care so much, because it starts from the top down, with his selection of actors and creation of worlds. Veronica Mars all started because of an idea of his. It made it all possible. But what to say to people? I don't know. I don't know, man. I'm not good at that sort of stuff. But part of the joy of being an actor is to do something that is so meaningful to people. That's fucking awesome. To have people care about characters in this world to such a degree that fans would be involved on a personal and financial level to help it, and to continue it, and to make it available to more audiences? That's been awesome. 

jason dohring logan veronica mars
Michael Desmond

Apparently you went to the same guys who were advising on the new Top Gun movie to consult about Logan's military background? How did that even happen? What help did they give you?
Dohring:
They were pilots! Aviators. You know, I feel like everybody's got one degree of separation to the military somehow, so if you can just find the right person, they know a hundred people who work very closely with the military. It's such a tight group. Like I found somebody at the gym, you know what I mean? And he was like, "I have a friend who is advising on Top Gun." And I'm like, "Oh, fantastic. That's great." So we went down to the San Diego area and had lunch with him, talked to other helicopter and jet pilots, and went on a tour of a base. I was getting the mannerisms down. And I think the more knowledge you can amass about something, the more you're able to control it, you know what I mean? So I was just picking up little details about how they moved, their thought process, their family life, and then all of that is in your reservoir of tools, so you can use it where you will.

One of the things that was great about Logan is his embrace of therapy. He kept trying to get Veronica to join him in a session.  If she had, while he was still alive, how do you think it would have gone?
Dohring:
Boy! I would like to think that Logan had worked through things enough to learn self-control, control of his emotions. I think he would have been polite, and honestly interested in becoming bitter. I think that's it cool and I always admire the people who can do that. It's pretty incredible, you know? Especially as opposed to other methods he had used. I feel like it was cool he was able to rise above it, pull himself up by his bootstraps, and make a new life. And then not only that, but to try and persist to help somebody else, or touch somebody else.

People don't really talk about this one, but when I was working on this one particular scene, it was really painful. I'm sitting there with Veronica on the couch, and I say something like, "If you're not happy, then I'm willing to end this all right now. If it would make you happy and you could go chase your dreams, because you are more important to me." And I was literally crying in my fucking room, rehearsing that. I was just like, "Jesus." It just hit me in certain rehearsals how deep that would be, to say that as much as I love you, and love this, this is fucking more important to me, and I want that for you, you know what I mean? Even if it means the end of us, you know? That is fucking amazing, dude. And that's a huge being who can do that for somebody else, you know what I mean?

The thing that was hard about mature Logan was playing the straight guy. It was a little easier when I was the cut-up, when I was the fun guy. When Dick Casablancas came on, I kind of wound up being more of the guy who keeps the shit straight, you know? And I think that I enjoyed playing more the loose cannon, the volatile guy. [Laughs] Just as an actor, perhaps there's more to create in that. But once you kind of find the character, it's like a little door, and you remember what got you into that character and you can just pop into it. The light behind your eyes changes, and you can just actually see the world differently, see how he responds to things. John Travolta told me once, "I really know when I have the character because I can improv with him," and I was like, "Dude, that's really cool, man." That can be a good test. Are you able to be him all the time? Can you live like he would? I think that happened for me with Logan very early on, and then we just added things, like for the military and such.

So what are some things you were able to do to improv with Logan?
Dohring:
I feel like it's in every choice you make, not just in the lines. One of the best comments I ever got was from a writer who said, "We never know what you're going to do. We give you the page, and we don't know what we're going to get back," and I was like, "That's awesome." I can give you an example from the original run of the show. I think I was in the car making out with Veronica in the backseat, and she's like, "My dad's watching," you know what I mean?  And I'm like, "Oh, then he'll be proud of us," or something like that. But then I say, "Five more minutes." The line was scripted to be said to her, like, "I want five more minutes with you." But because the dad was watching, I played it to the dad, like, "Can I have more more minutes with her, please?" So that was my idea, as he's looking with the binoculars, possibly as a joke.

Speaking of getting more time, there is a petition to bring Logan back. If there were a way to do it -- flashbacks or some other thing -- would you be up for it?
Dohring
: Yeah, totally. This character has been a bright spot in my life, and if Rob wants to do flashbacks or move the story forward in that way, I would be pleased to work with Rob and Kristen [Bell] again. Always, always.

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Jennifer Vineyard is a frequent contributor to Thrillist.