Twin Peaks season 3: trailer, cast, release date, and everything you need to know

Fast facts

  • Twin Peaks season 3 release date: May 21, 2017
  • Director: David Lynch
  • Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Robert Forster, Laura Dern, Tim Roth
  • Writers: Mark Frost, David Lynch

Twin Peaks season 3 sees the return of David Lynch’s cult show

After 27 years, the weirdest show in television history is back. Twin Peaks was a phenomenon in the ‘90s, with tens of millions of viewers asking “Who killed Laura Palmer?” It was the most talked-about show on TV, famous for its idiosyncratic sense of humour, dreamy music, charismatic ensemble cast, and mind-bending weirdness. Co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost combined soap opera melodrama with a dark, supernatural murder mystery to great effect, and there hasn’t been a show quite like it since.

But dwindling ratings led to the show’s abrupt cancellation in 1991, which may be attributed to the premature reveal of Laura's killer halfway through the second season. At its peak (aha!) the series was watched by 20 million people, but viewing figures steadily dropped after the reveal. Lynch later expressed regret at having solved the murder, saying they “killed the goose that laid the golden egg.” But over the years the series has developed a dedicated and passionate cult following. Enough to convince Showtime to bring it back, and the miniseries is now a full season of 18 episodes.

Twin Peaks season 3 release date is sooner than you think

You can watch it on Showtime in the US on May 21, 2017. And Sky Atlantic will be doing a simulcast for UK viewers, although you’ll have to stay up until 2am to catch it live. But if you’re a superfan who’s waited 27 years for a new episode, you can probably cope with that. Filming began in September 2015 and ended in January 2016. Lynch shot the entire thing as one long feature film, then split it into episodes at the editing stage.

It was unclear exactly how many episodes there would be for a while, but in January this year it was revealed, alongside the release date, that there would be 18. The premiere will consist of episodes 1 and 2 in a two-hour special, then 3 and 4 will immediately be available on Showtime’s digital platform. Showtime president Gary Levine has seen the whole season in a private screening and describes it as “the pure heroin version of David Lynch.”

Twin Peaks season 3 script picks up right where season 2 left off

The new series is set 25 years after the bleak season 2 cliffhanger, which saw Kyle MacLachlan’s Special Agent Dale Cooper being possessed by BOB—the evil spirit that compelled Leland Palmer to murder his own daughter. Is BOB still lurking inside him after all these years? If so, we may see a very different, darker Cooper this season.

Twin Peaks season 3 trailer is suitably weird 

The first teaser shows David Lynch, reprising his role as hard-of-hearing FBI regional bureau chief Gordon Cole, eating a donut. Cole is mentioned several times in The Secret History of Twin Peaks, which means he may still have an important role to play in the story.

And the second teaser shows a brief shot of Kyle MacLachlan as Dale Cooper. His shadowy surroundings and the concerned look on his face suggest this might be the ‘good’ Dale, who may still trapped in the Black Lodge. Let’s hope he finds a way to escape and return to his old, lovable self.

Twin Peaks season 3 cast includes new and old faces 

Kyle MacLachlan will, of course, return as Special Agent Dale Cooper. The late, great Miguel Ferrer shot some new scenes as the hilarious Albert Rosenfield before he died in January. David Duchovny teased that he may be reprising his role as DEA agent Denise Bryson.

As for the town’s residents, David Patrick Kelly and Richard Beymer will be back as Jerry and Ben Horne. And Ben’s daughter, Audrey, will be back as a “major presence”, played once again by Sherilyn Fenn. Catherine E. Coulson reportedly shot some new scenes as the enigmatic Log Lady before her death in 2015. Everett McGill and Wendy Robie are returning to play Big Ed and Nadine Hurley, and Peggy Lipton will return as Norma Jennings.

Other returning actors include Kimmy Robertson (Lucy Moran), Harry Goaz (Andy Brennan), Michael Horse (Tommy Hill), Julee Cruise (Roadhouse singer), Phoebe Augustine (Ronette Pulaski), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Gary Hershberger (Mike Nelson), James Marshall (James Hurley), Al Strobel (Mike), Russ Tamblyn (Lawrence Jacoby), and Grace Zabriskie (Sarah Palmer).

Curiously, a few deceased characters will be returning too. Ray Wise is back as Leland Palmer, Walter Olkewicz returns as Jacques Renault, and Sheryl Lee is playing Laura Palmer again. They’ll likely appear in dreams or flashbacks, or as the terrifying white-eyed doppelgängers from the Black Lodge.

Michael Ontkean declined an offer to play Sheriff Harry S. Truman again. But the character will return, now played by veteran actor Robert Forster. Interestingly, Forster was offered the role of Truman in season 1, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. So, 27 years later, he finally got the job — and should play the older, wiser sheriff brilliantly.

Frank Silva, the set dresser who famously landed the role of BOB when David Lynch saw him lurking in Laura’s bedroom, sadly died in 1995. But the fear-eating demon’s otherworldly nature means he will probably return in some other, equally terrifying form in the new season. Actor Jack Nance tragically died a year later, so Pete Martell won’t be back either.

And if various reports are to be believed, Piper Laurie (Catherine Martell), Eric Da Re (Leo Johnson), Lara Flynn Boyle (Donna Hayward), Joan Chen (Josie Packard), and Heather Graham (Annie Blackburn) won’t be coming back either, most of whom were pretty major characters. It’ll be interesting to see how they write them out of the show — especially Annie and Donna.

An enormous cast list was released in 2016, revealing over 200 names, many of whom are new to the series. Joining the original cast, playing as yet unnamed characters, are Tim Roth, Laura Dern (in a “top secret pivotal role”), Monica Bellucci, Michael Cera, Sky Ferreira, Ashley Judd, Trent Reznor (yeah, the guy from Nine Inch Nails), Amanda Seyfried, Naomi Watts, Jim Belushi, Amy Shiels, Matthew Lillard, and Ernie Hudson.

Twin Peaks season 3 director could be no-one but… 

David Lynch is directing every episode of the new series, his first time behind the camera (except for, weirdly, a Duran Duran concert) since 2006’s Inland Empire. Lynch directed some of the best episodes of the first two seasons, including the chilling reveal of Leland Palmer’s monstrous alter ego and Cooper’s disturbing descent into the Black Lodge. So the fact that he’ll be at the helm of all 18 episodes of the new season is hugely exciting, because no one creates worlds and atmospheres quite like him.

Fire Walk With Me, the Twin Peaks film Lynch directed in 1992, is much darker than the show. It has the subdued, sinister tone of the pilot episode, and almost feels like a response to the out-of-control silliness of the second season. You can expect more oddball characters and surreal humour in season 3, but don’t be surprised if it has more in common with the movie than the TV show. If there’s one thing David Lynch loves, it’s darkness. 

Twin Peaks season 3 filming returns to Washington 

The Twin Peaks pilot was shot in Washington, and is still stunning to look at — especially in the recent Blu-ray release. The overcast skies, mountains, and majestic Douglas Firs of the Pacific Northwest make for an evocative setting. But when the series went into production, they returned to Los Angeles to shoot it. This is evident in outdoor scenes, particularly in season 2, which look a little too sunny and Californian to be the forests of Washington.

But it seems some or all of the new season will be filmed on location again. Lynch and crew were spotted in the area several times, including at Twede’s Cafe in North Bend — the real-life inspiration for Twin Peaks’ Double R. Mädchen Amick, who plays Shelly Johnson in the show, tweeted an image of the Double R’s famous turquoise uniform. So either she’s still a waitress or Norma has retired and she’s the new boss. We can’t wait to see the haunting beauty of the Pacific Northwest through Lynch’s lens again.

Kyle MacLachlan and new cast member Jennifer Jason Leigh were also spotted filming in the Mojave desert in 2015, which raises some interesting questions. Why has Cooper travelled so far from Washington and Twin Peaks? Is BOB sending him on a cross-state killing spree? A lot will have happened in 25 years, so it could be a flashback, or even one of Lynch’s famously bizarre dream sequences. Or perhaps they’re just using the location as a stand-in for a Washington location as they did in the original series.

Twin Peaks season 3 poster doesn’t give much away 

Showtime have been keeping the new series under wraps, presumably at the behest of the famously secretive David Lynch. This stylish poster is the only official image they've released so far.

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