So far, details surrounding Showtime's upcoming revival of Twin Peaks have centered almost entirely on the fact that it is actually happening. That is to say, concrete information as to what fans can expect when David Lynch brings his early '90s surreal drama back to TV have been limited. While it's true that casting announcements have confirmed Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Kim Robertson, and more will return (while an enormous list of guest stars and bit players has also been released), the series is relying mostly on secrecy as its main selling points.
In fact, the only concrete piece of information regarding the series Showtime was at liberty to discuss during its panel at the TCA Winter Press Tour was its premiere date of May 21. Still, president and CEO David Nevins was on hand to answer what questions he could, informing the press that he had seen all 18 episodes, which he described as the "Pure heroin version of David Lynch." While that likely sounds ideal to Lynch's hardcore fans, those in attendance were eager to get the network head to deliver something more specific, which he did in saying that the it was a "closed-ended, one-time event," confirming that, for the time being, anyway, Showtime has no plans to have Twin Peaks carry on past its 18-hour engagement this spring.
But before Showtime ended its afternoon panels sessions (that also included the '70s-set stand-up comedy series I'm Dying Up Here, the Idris Elba-led Guerillas, and the cast of Billions), the network announced it had a surprise guest in David Lynch, who would be happy to answer questions for next 15 minutes.
Though it was made clear ahead of time that he would not reveal much about the new season or its storyline this caveat was taken to an appropriately bizarre extreme, in which Lynch avoided most direct questions by either delivering circuitous metaphors or seemingly brusque responses, both of which succeeded as much in making the press laugh as they did in maintaining the exorbitant levels of secrecy regarding the series' particulars. Lynch's first answer to the question of how he and co-creator Mark Frost worked together set a high-water mark for the remainder of the session:
"Well, in the beginning, many years ago, we were, Mark and I, as if lost in the wilderness, as it always is in the beginning, and then we seemed to find some mountain, and we begin to climb, and when we rounded the mountain, we entered a deep forest, and going through the forest for a time, the trees began to thin. And when we came out of the woods, we discovered this small town called Twin Peaks. And we got to know many of the people in Twin Peaks, and the people who visited Twin Peaks, and we discovered a mystery, and within this mystery were many other mysteries. And we discovered a world, and within this world, there were other worlds, and that's how it started, and that's what brought us here today. This story continues."
Thankfully, Lynch seemed amenable, and after being asked more pointedly how he and Frost actually handle the labor of writing Twin Peaks, he surprised everyone by saying:
"We work together on Skype. Mark lives in Ojai, and I live in Hollywood, and we Skype and write together."
Lynch's use of video chat to compose a surreal television drama aside, his response to everything ranging from potential concerns over returning to the series after such a long period of time to his feelings about working with Laura Dern seemed designed to give reporters usable, sharable quotes that nevertheless had nothing to do with the Twin Peaks revival. When asked what sort of changes in tone or visuals fans can expect, Lynch said:
"First, it was just the same as all the others. I see it as a film, and film in parts is what people would experience, and it was a joyful, fantastic trip with this great crew and great cast, and this word 'expect' is a magical word, and people expect things, and their expectations are met, hopefully, when they see the thing."
He later seemed to catch himself when responding to the question of whether or not the revival consisted of unused stories from the show's previous incarnation on ABC, or if the revival was written entirely from scratch, saying, "Well, in the beginning, we ‑‑ I'm not really at liberty to talk about that."
As the Q&A went on, however, there were a few questions that didn't result in a deliberately unclear answer. While he met the question of why he briefly departed the series only to later return by saying, "I would rather not discuss that," and that he was "very happy being at Showtime," Lynch did open up about the series' second season and its eventual cancelation.
"What killed "Twin Peaks"… originally, who killed Laura Palmer was a question that we did not ever really want to answer, and that Laura Palmer mystery was, like I said, the goose that laid these little golden eggs. And then at a certain point, we were told we needed to wrap that up and it never really got going again after that."
As evidenced by Lynch's appearance at the TCAs, the series definitely got going again; something even he acknowledged didn't seem likely just a few years ago. And while he confirmed there are no plans in place to make Twin Peaks a regular part of the Showtime lineup, the director did leave things open for another possible return to the Pacific Northwest.
"Well, before I said I wasn't going to revisit it, and I did. You never say no. But right now there's no plans for anything more."
In all, the event turned out to be remarkable more for Lynch's appearance and how entertainingly vague his answers wound up being than for the concrete details he provided. But that's apparently what you get with the acclaimed director, as MacLachlan pointed out when he made his way on stage: "You guys got a lot. You did really, really well. He must like you."
Twin Peaks premieres Sunday May 21 @9pm on Showtime.
TCA Photos: Dan Steinberg/SHOWTIME