David Lynch’s legendary supernatural murder mystery returns to television this month – here’s everything we know about Twin Peaks 2017
There will be spoilers, but you may not be sure exactly what they’re spoiling. David Lynch’s classic 90s cult TV series Twin Peaks – rammed full of demonic killers, riddle-setting giants and backward speaking dwarves - returns after 25 years this month and, frankly, we need answers. Like, what was all that freaky stuff going on in the Red Room? Did Agent Cooper make it out of the Black Lodge? And crucially, how’s Annie?
No doubt the new series – predicted in the original run when a doppleganger of Laura Palmer told Cooper “I’ll see you again in 25 years” – will throw up more questions than it answers, as is the Lynchian way. But that won’t stop it being one of the TV events of the year, a cult reborn for a new generation to be terrified, intrigued and not a little baffled by. Here’s everything we know so far about the return of Agent Cooper.
When does Twin Peaks: The Return air?
The road back to Twin Peaks has been particularly mountainous. Lynch first floated the promise of the series returning back in 2014, but pulled out of the revival the following year “because not enough money was offered to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done.” The cast made a video to try to lure him back, likening Twin Peaks without David Lynch to fire without heat, eyes without brows and a truck stop without donuts. Clearly touched (or properly budgeted), Lynch returned to the project a few months later, directing every episode and co-writing with Mark Frost in what Showtime president Gary Levine has called “the pure heroin version of David Lynch”.
The first two of the series’ eighteen episodes will air on Showtime on May 21 and two more will be made available directly afterwards on Showtime’s digital platform. So that’s four full hours of glorious bewilderment on day one, after which we’re expecting weekly hour-long bursts, although Showtime chiefs have claimed Twin Peaks will have an “unconventional” release. Will they be playing some episodes backwards, perhaps?
Which original Twin Peaks cast members are returning?
Most of them, it seems. Although Lynch is keeping details of the series tightly under wraps, it is understood that Kyle MacLachlan will return as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (in some form or other) and fellow original cast members including David Duchovny, Harry Dean Stanton, Michael Horse, Everett McGill, Grace Zabriskie and Harry Goaz are also involved, although it’s never certain in a Lynch project that they’ll be playing their original roles. Lynch himself takes on his old part of Gordon Cole, but sadly Frank Silva, who played Bob, has passed away and David Bowie unfortunately isn’t around to reprise his part of Phillip Jeffries in the prequel feature film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me as planned.
Many key original cast members appeared together on the cover of the March edition of Entertainment Weekly, but there were a few notable omissions. The actors who played Catherine Martell, Donna Hayward, Sheriff Truman and Annie Blackburn (a young Heather Graham) aren’t listed amongst the – count ‘em – 217 cast members, but a clutch of big Hollywood names are: Michael Cera, Tim Roth, Naomi Watts, Laura Dern (in a “top secret pivotal role”), Ashley Judd, Jim Belushi, Amanda Seyfried and Jennifer Jason Lee are all credited with appearances. There are a bunch of music megastars too, with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Sky Ferreira and Sharon Van Etten all on the cast list. Starry, starry nights in Twin Peaks, it seems.
What’s the plot of Twin Peaks: The Return?
To be honest, we might not know even after we’ve watched it, but for the time being very little is being revealed about what happens in the new series. We know it’s set 25 years after the original events and that Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which covered the final seven days of Laura Palmer’s life, is “very important” to the plot of the revival series. Mark Frost’s 2016 book The Secret History Of Twin Peaks held a few more clues, suggesting that Harry Truman’s older brother Sheriff Frank Truman would be involved and that there would be a new investigator arriving to hunt down a missing person from the original show.
The rest, at this point, is about as clear as a giant’s prophesy. The head of Showtime David Nevins has described the series as "Agent Cooper's odyssey back to Twin Peaks" and suggested there are answers to be found. "What I think is satisfying about the new version is that it's a deeper exploration of that stuff,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “What is the Red Room? How does the Red Room work? Where is Agent Cooper? Can he make it back?"
“I think what we’ve learned is you’ve gotta have a very strong central path through the woods,” Frist said in 2014. “It’s fine to have tributaries and streams, and little byways, but ultimately, that path through the woods has to be very dark, clear and dangerous. That’s the path we’re going to keep to. There’ll be a healthy percentage of delightful sidelines or paths off to the side, but there aren’t any shortcuts. You’ve gotta follow that main path.”
With Showtime billing the series as an “event”, it’s likely to be the last chunk of Twin Peaks that will appear. Much speculation revolves around Lynch’s original plan to make a sequel film after Fire Walk With Me, a plan stymied by the film’s poor box office. Some fans believe this series may follow the story he wanted to tell there.
Are there clues in the trailers?
Minimal. The plentiful trailers released since September 2016 are made up largely of footage from the original series, with a few new shots thrown in as fanbait. The latest features a series of brief snapshots of colourful characters old and new, including Lynch making an appearance, but still gives away very few clues as to what might be happening - There’s also been a Showtime featurette featuring cast members talking about making the series, but they’re uniformly tight-lipped on plot points. Check them out for yourself.