David Lynch is making it happen again.
The singular filmmaker once again fire walks among the Douglas firs in Showtime’s upcoming Twin Peaks revival, debuting Sunday. The series, co-written by Lynch and Peaks co-creator Mark Frost, comes in the form of an 18-part movie disguised as a television series, with each installment directed by Lynch himself.
“I see it as a film,” Lynch tells The Hollywood Reporter about how he views the new Twin Peaks. “I think if you think about it as one whole that’s been divided, it’s a little different than thinking about it as one episode after another. It’s just a little bit different.”
Another way the revival is “just a little bit different” than most other high-profile television experiments: we know almost nothing about it, at least on a story level. At Lynch’s request, plot details about the new Twin Peaks are under strictest lock and key, so much so that crew members won’t be permitted to speak on the record about the revival until it finishes airing at the end of the summer.
When the series resumes, will Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) still be under the influence of Killer BOB? How will the show address the BOB of it all without the late Frank Silva, who played the murderous spirit during the original run? Most importantly: how is Annie? Don’t expect any answers to any of those questions until Peaks starts moving, as everyone involved is happily adhering to Lynch’s request for maximum secrecy — largely because they have no choice, given how the sprawling Twin Peaks script was divvied out.
“They let me read it all the way through, and then I had to pass the script back,” MacLachlan says. “The pages were then distributed out, and I was one of the ones who had most of the script, which I needed. Most people just received what was pertinent to them. Again, it was an effort to keep things contained, and also to help us. That way, if anyone asks us about the story, we could say, ‘I don’t really know!’ As opposed to feeling an obligation to say something, or maybe you would feel compelled out of your own sense of whatever to say it’s about this or this. There were no opportunities for that. I love that people are going to be embarking on this fresh. For something that’s so well known, it’s going to be a whole new journey. I think that’s wonderful.”
Plot details aside, here’s everything else to know about the new Twin Peaks ahead of its return:
• For years, rumblings of a Twin Peaks return were exactly that: rumblings. Then the rumblings became tectonic, as the show’s 25th anniversary approached, a faint echo of what the late Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) promised at the end of the original run: “I will see you again in 25 years.” The timing is only slightly off, as the new Twin Peaks will debut 26 years after the first series’ cancellation. The looming milestone fueled Lynch and Frost’s desire to return to the world they created all those years earlier, with Lynch saying: “It wasn’t really something you can plan, but then again, there it was.”
• In 2014, Showtime announced plans to revive Twin Peaks for a limited run, set to take place 25 years after the show went off the air. Kyle MacLachlan was confirmed to return as Agent Dale Cooper shortly thereafter. But trouble soon emerged in the form of public negotiations between Lynch and the cable network, with the filmmaker taking to Twitter to announce his departure from the project “because not enough money was offered to do the script the way I felt it needed to be done.”
• Cast members from the original Twin Peaks swiftly rallied behind their leader’s cause, gathering together for a #SaveTwinPeaks campaign designed to get Showtime on board with Lynch’s vision. Take this quote from Sheryl Lee, who played Laura Palmer: “Twin Peaks without David Lynch is like a girl without a secret.” See the other cast members’ defense of Lynch in the video below.
• Whether due to fan backlash, the cast’s efforts, or some other cosmic circumstance, Showtime and Lynch eventually got back on the same page with their Twin Peaks vision. In May 2015, Lynch and Showtime president David Nevins announced the start of preproduction, adding that the limited series was expanding from the initial vision of nine episodes. It was announced that Lynch would be directing the entire project, which as of this reporting clocks in at 18 installments.
• In December 2015, fans received their first official look at the new Twin Peaks, in the form of a production announcement trailer that highlighted the stunning pacific northwest terrain the show was always known for. The trailer came paired with commentary from Michael Horse, who plays Deputy Tommy “Hawk” Hill: “Location sometimes becomes a character. There are a lot of holy places up here, a lot of sacred places. I can’t put my finger on how I would describe it. It just touches something in the psyche. It’s almost like being in a moving painting.”
Composer Angelo Badalamenti’s soaring score washes over the video as the iconic “Welcome to Twin Peaks” sign is unveiled for the first time in decades. Watch the moving teaser here:
• From its earliest days, Twin Peaks was a difficult show to define by genre, due to the multi-faceted characters that populated Lynch and Frost’s world. Indeed, the population increased significantly for the revival: in April 2016, Showtime unveiled the official cast list for the new Twin Peaks, with 217 returning and new actors on board for the project. The list included high-profile names like Michael Cera, Ashley Judd and Amanda Seyfried, as well as Lynch’s frequent collaborator Laura Dern, not to mention a slew of actors from the original run. See the gallery below for a look at some of the players aboard the new Twin Peaks:
• At the start of 2017, with months to go before the show’s return, the famously secretive Lynch made a surprise appearance at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour to discuss the new Twin Peaks. In reality, “discuss” might be too strong of a word. Highlights from his 15-minute appearance include “single-sentence declarations as, ‘I love Laura Dern,’ ‘Mark is very smart’ and ‘I hear heroin is a very popular drug these days.'”
• Lynch’s TCA appearance would set the tone for how Showtime unveiled Twin Peaks in the months leading up to the premiere: shrouded in secrecy, providing only the faintest whiffs of that damn good coffee. Take, for instance, the show’s first official teaser trailer, dubbed “The Return”:
• Another teaser took viewers on a tour of some of the town’s old haunts, including the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department and the Double R Diner:
• And still one more, which offers first looks at Lynch and the late Miguel Ferrer reprising their roles as FBI mainstays Gordon Cole and Albert Rosenfield respectively, with only the slightest amount of dialogue:
• In other words, Showtime’s commitment to Lynch’s secrecy policy is abundantly evident in their promotional efforts, which offer almost nothing beyond visual splendor and mood in the build-up to Twin Peaks‘ return. For viewers wondering how best to prepare for the series, THR‘s Chris E. Hayner recommends brushing up on your Lynch and studying the filmmaker’s most recent works for insight into the possible genres and tones Twin Peaks will explore. THR has also been advised that viewers with distinct recollection of Twin Peaks will find their fandom rewarded; what’s more, a closer examination of the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is recommended before embarking on the new series.
• In a recent interview with MacLachlan, the Twin Peaks star would only say that “the journey continues. I have said it’s almost as if Twin Peaks never stopped. The world of Twin Peaks, the environment and the town and the people, have all continued to live on, and now we’re dipping back into that world and taking a further journey with them. We’ll catch up on what’s happened after these 25 years. Beyond that, I can’t say much, other than it’s David’s vision.”
“I feel like it’s going to be something that’s as unexpected and compelling as the original was when it was first broadcast — in a different way, of course,” he continues. “But it has that same kind of power and magic going forward. I, like you and many people, am curious to see how the audience is going to respond.”
The new Twin Peaks debuts May 21 on Showtime with a two-hour premiere, followed by the release of the third and fourth installments on Showtime’s on demand and streaming services. Stay tuned to THR.com/TwinPeaks for continuing coverage of the series.