Believe it or not (and we prefer not), but it’s been over a quarter of a century since David Lynch‘s surreal mix of mystery and melodrama posed the question, who killed Laura Palmer?
Almost 26 years after the final episode of Twin Peaks aired, a new 18-hour season is due to revive the series. The very belated third season starts this Sunday (May 21), and to say fans and critics are excited would be an understatement. And if any further proof were needed of the high regard in which the series is held, then the first two episodes will also be premiering this weekend at the Cannes Film Festival.
It’ll undoubtedly be every bit as weird and wonderful as we remember, but whether you’re a long-standing fan or a newbie, there are a few things you should know about the revival.
1. It’s not just another reboot
You’d be forgiven for yawning at news of yet ANOTHER revival of a classic TV series, but there are reasons to believe this one has been in the pipeline for some time. It’s possible even that a 25-year gap was always planned, given the enigmatic final episode when Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) reenters the Red Room and a spirit who looks remarkably like Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) utters the mysterious phrase, “I’ll see you again in 25 years.”
The fervor surrounding its return is more than just nostalgia, too: a landmark in modern television, Twin Peaks arguably changed TV forever and led to prestige series like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad.
2. It’s a sequel
Rest assured: This revival isn’t a remake. It’s a bona fide sequel, which (we hope) will tie up some of the, uh, loose ends of the last season.
“Loose ends” is understating it, of course. The final scene of Twin Peaks gave new meaning to word “cliffhanger.” It saw Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) smash his head into a mirror and reveal he was the latest victim of body-surfer BOB, before laughing demonically and chanting the phrase “How’s Annie? How’s Annie?,” in reference to his girlfriend Annie, played by Heather Graham. For many fans, it was the beginning of a story, not the end — and we’ve had to wait almost 26 years to see it resolved. Hrrrng.
3. Is David Lynch involved?
Yes indeed. The show’s original creator and director and all-round visionary genius is firmly at the helm, though it’s fair to say it was touch and go for a while there. When it was announced way back in 2014 that a new season of Twin Peaks had been commissioned, Showtime were keen to point out it would be written by original creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, and directed, like the first two seasons and spin-off prequel film Fire Walk With Me, by the former.
By 2015 however, Lynch was expressing doubts that the reboot would come to pass — and then came the worrying news that he would no longer direct it. Hang on a sec: Twin Peaks, without David Lynch behind the camera? It was inconceivable. Thankfully the behind-the-scenes dispute was quickly resolved, Lynch was back on board, and the planned nine-episode season had now ballooned to 18 episodes. Not only that, but he’ll be back as donut-guzzling FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole too.
4. Do you need to have watched the first two seasons?
A Twin Peaks crash course may be advisable, although knowing the first two seasons and feature-length spin-off word-for-word is no guarantee that this new season will make any sense either. Co-writer Mark Frost has gone one further, stating that he wants a “whole bunch of new people to come to the party as well.” That said, Showtime have put together a three-minute clip (see above) summarizing the major events of the first two seasons — handy if you haven’t got the time to binge on 30 episodes before Sunday (May 21).
5. What’s it about?
Goooooood question. The answer is: we don’t know. Nobody knows, despite the release of 10 (10!) separate teaser trailers. The new season is just as shrouded in secrecy as its predecessors were, though some details have emerged. A novel released last year called The Secret History of Twin Peaks, for instance, hinted at a new character called Agent Tamara Preston, who’s been assigned to investigate Agent Cooper’s disappearance. Where’s he been all this time? And why? We have no idea. And let’s face it: This is David Lynch here. Chances are we won’t be any the wiser even when we’ve watched the whole thing.
6. Who’s back?
Everyone! Well, almost. Agent Cooper and Laura Palmer are back of course, and so are femme fatale Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn), Laura’s father Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) and her former boyfriend Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook), diner owner Norma Jennings (Peggy Lipton), waitress Shelly Johnson (Mädchen Amick), Ed Hurley (Everett McGill) and his eccentric one-eyed wife Nadine Hurley (Wendy Robie), biker James Hurley (James Marshall), and even David Duchovny, who’ll reprise his role of FBI agent Denise Bryson. The new season will also see the final screen appearance from Miguel Ferrer, aka agent Albert Rosenfield, who sadly passed away from cancer in January. Even the Log Lady will reportedly make an appearance, despite the actress who played her, Catherine Coulson, having died in 2015.
7. And who isn’t?
The biggest omission on the list of returning characters is undoubtedly Donna Hayward, Laura’s best friend played first by Lara Flynn Boyle, and then Moira Kelly in the prequel film Fire Walk With Me. Joan Chen, who played Josie Packard on the series, also won’t be returning, which is unsurprising as her character was last seen stuck in a wooden drawer knob. Another major absentee will be Heather Graham, who portrayed beauty queen Annie Blackburn towards the end of the show’s second season.
8. Who are the new faces?
The absent names are more than made up for by a huge cast of new faces. And with a whopping 180 brand new names confirmed, it’s probably easier to list which A-listers aren’t making an appearance in the new season.
The most high-profile include regular Lynch collaborator Laura Dern (who’s reportedly playing a “pivotal” role in the new season), Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Cera, Amanda Seyfried, and Naomi Watts. Other famous faces you may recognize include Jim Belushi, Sky Ferreira, Ernie Hudson, Ashley Judd, Matthew Lillard, and Monica Bellucci, though there are no more details on any of their characters.
9. Will the revival’s music be as powerful as the original?
You betcha. Julee Cruise‘s ethereal Grammy award-winning theme song was instrumental to the show’s success back in the 90s, and Showtime have confirmed it and composer Angelo Badalamenti, who wrote the score for the original, are onboard for the new season.
10. Anything else we should know?
Plenty, but you’ll have to tune in to find out. In the meantime, get ready to snuggle up on the sofa with a slice of cherry pie and some damn fine coffee.
Billed as an “18-hour limited event series,” (read: 18 episodes), Twin Peaks season three debuts this Sunday May 21, with a two-hour long premiere at 9PM ET/PT on Showtime. Its two-part finale is expected to screen in early September.
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