(Presenting a special guest post by Andy Burns of Biff Bam Pop!)
This Sunday, May 21st brings us the long-awaited return of Twin Peaks. The surreal show, set in the Pacific Northwest, was co-created by Mark Frost and David Lynch and, for brief period in the early 1990s, was the biggest television show in North America. An audience of 34 million watched the hypnotic two-hour ABC premiere, which felt more like a movie than a television show. There, we were introduced to Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), sent to the town of Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of the homecoming queen, sixteen-year-old Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). Over the course of two seasons, Twin Peaks would meld auteur cinema with soap opera storytelling; myths and conspiracy theories; aliens and the supernatural; coffee and cherry pie. However, the series would quickly flame out thanks to network interference, and both Lynch and Frost’s other interests. When the final episode aired in the spring of 1991, fans were left with multiple cliffhangers, most notably Agent Cooper’s body now in possession of the malevolent spirit, BOB (Frank Silva). While David Lynch would release the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me one year later, it served as a prequel rather than sequel, leaving so many questions unanswered.
Season two wasn’t meant to be the end of Twin Peaks, though. In fact, David Lynch appeared on Late Night with David Letterman in an appeal to fans to write in to ABC to give it a third season order.
It didn’t work, but what if it had?
In an interview back in July 2007, with the Twin Peaks Archive, artist Matt Haley revealed he and Twin Peaks producer and Fire Walk With Me co-writer Robert Engels were working on a graphic novel that would have incorporated various ideas meant for Season 3.
“I really wanted this to be a literal ‘third season’ of the show,” said Haley. “Bob told me they really wanted to get away from the high school setting, so after the resolution of the Cooper-BOB-possession plot point, they would have cut to something like ‘Ten Years Later,’ and then shown us a Twin Peaks where Cooper had quit the FBI and had become the town pharmacist, Sheriff Truman had become a recluse, etc. He also mentioned they were going to have Sheryl Lee come back yet again, this time as a redhead, and probably have her character killed by BOB again. There were also some vague ideas about BOB and Mike being from a planet made of creamed corn, something about Truman driving Mike backwards through the portal into the Black Lodge (which I think would have been a really nice cinematic scene).”
Though Haley and Engles had the support of Mark Frost, and a tentative deal to include the graphic novel in the Twin Peaks Gold Box DVD collection, unfortunately, though not surprisingly, David Lynch put the kibosh on the idea through a message from his then-assistant.
Recalled Haley, “I was told ‘While David respects the artwork and the effort put into this project, he just does not want to continue the story of Twin Peaks in any way.’”
And like that, Twin Peaks remained dead. Until this weekend, when it returns to life for eighteen hours worth of episodes, with David Lynch at the helm and Kyle MacLachlan back as Agent Cooper, along with many familiar faces. Little is known about the series, except the obvious:
There will be coffee.
Andy Burns is the author of Wrapped In Plastic: Twin Peaks, the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the pop culture website, Biff Bam Pop!, Interactive Content Editor for SiriusXM Canada and a staff writer for Rue Morgue magazine. His next book, about Stephen King’s The Stand, will be published by Cemetery Dance in 2018.