After 25 long years, the cult hit Twin Peaks is finally returning to television. The eerie show, which first debuted on ABC in 1990, is getting a revival on Showtime beginning May 21.
Though the series, created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, lasted only two seasons, it had a massive impact on the future of television. Creators like Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers), Noah Hawley (Mr. Robot) and Jane Campion (Top of the Lake) have cited Lynch as an inspiration for their own work. The show has since had a resurgence thanks to its endlessly gif-able characters.
But Lynch has maintained an aura of mystery while promoting the revival: He refuses to reveal plot details, and the trailers have consisted largely of footage from the old show. Here is everything we do know about the cast, plot and possible future seasons of the series.
This post does not contain spoilers for the original Twin Peaks unless indicated.
The revival had a rocky start
David Lynch announced that the series would return back in October of 2014.
Showtime confirmed the show’s revival, but in 2015 Lynch dropped out of the project. “After 1 year and 4 months of negotiations, I left because not enough money was offered to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done,” he tweeted in April 2015.
The cast created a video to lobby for his return, and in May 2015, Lynch confirmed that he was returning to the project.
Lynch and Frost will write and direct every episode
Lynch directed six episodes of the original show, and Frost co-wrote 11 of them. This time, the duo will helm every single episode, which means each hour will have their signature style. Showtime president Gary Levine said the new season was “the pure heroin version of David Lynch.”
The show’s beloved original composer, Angelo Badalamenti, is also returning.
The series picks up 25 years after the original show
Think of the new Twin Peaks as a long-awaited sequel. The show will take place 25 years after the events of the original run, which makes sense, since the show aired its final episode 25 years ago. It’s spooky, though, that the writers seemed to predict Twin Peaks’ revival way back in 1992. In the final episode of the original show, Laura Palmer tells Agent Dale Cooper that she’ll see him again in 25 years.
The Twin Peaks movie will affect the plot
After the original run of Twin Peaks, Lynch made a (poorly reviewed) prequel film called Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, without Mark Frost. The film chronicled the FBI investigation into the death of a waitress named Teresa Banks. The movie then flashed forward to the last seven days of Laura Palmer’s life, just before the original Twin Peaks series took place.
Lynch has said that those last seven days are “very important” to the new series, and Showtime has made the movie available on its streaming service.
Diehard fans may also want to read Mark Frost’s book, The Secret History of Twin Peaks, which was released last year. The book reveals a few details that may factor into the plot of the show, including the introduction of a new character named Sheriff Frank Truman, Harry Truman’s older brother. It also introduces a new investigator brought in to find a missing person from the end of the original series.
Two teasers drop some hints about what will happen
Spoilers for the end of the original Twin Peaks
In addition to the trailer (at the top of this story), which basically summarizes—and spoils—the plot of the first two seasons, Showtime has released two teasers.
The first shows the cliffhanger ending of the original show: Agent Cooper stares into the mirror and sees the killer, BOB, staring back. It then cuts to an image from the new show, a shot of an older Cooper walking towards the camera from the darkness.
The second teaser shows an image from the original show, a dead Laura Palmer wrapped in plastic, and then cuts to a shot presumably from the new show of Laura Palmer’s homecoming photo. Even though the homecoming picture featured heavily in the original run of the series, it was shown in a picture frame, not taped to a wall as it is in this teaser. The picture could be on an evidence board.
Showtime head David Nevins has added that the new show may shed a some light on the mysteries left unsolved in the original series. “What I think is satisfying about the new version is that it’s a deeper exploration of that stuff. What is the Red Room? How does the Red Room work? Where is Agent Cooper? Can he make it back?” he told Entertainment Weekly. That’s a lot of questions and no answers, but audiences can infer that Cooper’s body may still be inhabited by BOB.
That’s all we know. It’s not much.
No more spoilers beyond this point.
There are 217 cast members
Many of the actors from the original cast are returning for the revival, but Lynch won’t confirm whether any of them are playing their original characters — except for Kyle MacLachlan, who will reprise his role as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper. Cooper originally travelled to Twin Peaks, Washington, to investigate the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer.
A teaser for the show also confirms that several other original cast members will be in the new series, presumably reprising their old roles: Everett McGill (Big Ed Hurley), Harry Dean Stanton (Carl Rodd), Grace Zabriskie (Sarah Palmer), Harry Goaz (Deputy Andy Brennan) and Michael Horse (Deputy Tommy “Hawk” Hill).
Notably, Michael Ontkean (Sheriff Harry S. Truman), Piper Laurie (Catherine Martell), Lara Flynn Boyle (Donna Hayward) and Heather Graham (Annie Blackburn) are not listed on the cast list for the new show, though they may show up in cameos.
Some of the other actors — including Frank Silva, who played the menacing BOB — have passed away since the show went off the air, but Catherine Coulson, who played the iconic Log Lady, reportedly shot her scenes for the show before her death in 2015.
Showtime has added a host of celebrities to the cast, including Naomi Watts, Michael Cera, Laura Dern, Jim Belushi, Ashley Judd, Tim Roth, Amanda Seyfried and Jennifer Jason Lee. In total, there are over 200 cast members.
You can binge four episodes on the first night
The new season of Twin Peaks will be 18 episodes long, but the rollout of those episodes is a little complicated.
Showtime will air the first two episodes on the cable network on May 21. Immediately after those episodes air, the next two episodes (which are one hour each) will be available on Showtime’s digital platform. Presumably, the episodes will be released on a weekly basis after that.
There probably won’t be more seasons after this
Showtime is billing the return of Twin Peaks as an “event,” which means there probably won’t be future seasons. Lynch always planned to make a prequel film, Fire Walk With Me, and a sequel film after the show ended to bookend the events of the series. But Fire Walk With Me performed poorly at the box office, and plans to make a Twin Peaks sequel were suspended. If this new season is indeed the last chapter in the Twin Peaks saga, Lynch will have finally gotten to tell the story as he originally planned.