David Lynch's revival of Twin Peaks at one point looked to be very much in doubt, but with its creators coming to terms with Showtime the series is proceeding to production at a brisk pace. Fans of Lynch's cult classic series had long since given up hoping that they'd ever get a return to the groundbreaking world of the series widely viewed as having inspired later productions as diverse as The X-Files and Lost; but not only is the celebrated writer/director coming back with much of his original cast, the project has also begun to attract a bevy of major Hollywood talent from outside the original participants.
The latest big star to join the cast? Ashley Judd, whom Deadline reports has accepted an unspecified role on the series, set to air in 2017.
Judd, most recently seen in the Divergent YA dystopia franchise, joins a roster of Twin Peaks newcomers including Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Caleb Landry Jones, Naomi Watts, Laura Dern, James Belushi, Robert Knepper, Tom Sizemore, Balthazar Getty, Grant Goodeve and Larry Clarke; who will join original castmembers Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sheryl Lee, Sherilyn Fenn, Michael Horse, Dana Ashbrook and Miguel Ferrer, Ray Wise, Grace Zabriskie, Peggy Lipton, Everett McGill and others returning to their original roles. The season is expected to run for 18 episodes and follow MacLachlan's Agent Dale Cooper as he returns to the bizarre, isolated mountain town after many years.
The original Twin Peaks, which was structured around Cooper's investigation in the murder of local girl Laura Palmer, launched as an 8-episode season to critical acclaim and audience fascination, but the series was unable to maintain audience interest in its increasingly bizarre narrative and ahead-of-its-time use of the episodic television structure into the full-length second season - ultimately ending after a ratings drop with a feature film prequel (Fire Walk With Me) meant to tie up some of the more prominent story threads. Even still, the singularly unusual series left plenty of questions still to be answered, and fans are hoping that the new season may finally offer the answers they've waited over two decades for.
It remains to be seen whether Twin Peaks will fare better now than it did before, though running on cable in an age where psychologically-complex dramas are the norm rather than network television in the early 90s unquestionably feels like a more natural fit for Lynch's sensibilities in general and for this series specifically. On the other hand, it's entirely possible that material of this nature has now become almost too commonplace on modern television, and that viewers who weren't part of the original audience may find themselves wondering what the big deal is - although with Lynch actively involved that seems unlikely, as the famously offbeat filmmaker's ouvre has only gotten more esoteric and askew in the intervening years.
Twin Peaks is set for a return on Showtime in the first half of 2017, running double its original planned number of episodes.