Who killed Laura Palmer? It’s the question that captured international audiences in the early 1990s, and irrevocably altered the course of TV drama. Twenty-five years on, Agent Cooper’s back, damn good coffee in hand, for Twin Peaks season three…

Full House, Gilmore Girls, Will & Grace – it seems nostalgia is fuelling the revival of popular TV shows left, right and centre. But few have been as hotly anticipated, or heavily guarded, as the return of subversive drama Twin Peaks. Even the actors themselves only received scripts for their specific scenes.

But, while the trailers for season three have been vague at best, we’ve done a bit of digging ahead of its 22 May release. Read on for everything you need to know, grab your NOW TV Entertainment Pass* and get watching…

The cast

If you’re familiar with Twin Peaks, you’ll know a fair few faces. Kyle MacLachlan (Agent Dale Cooper), Madchen Amick (Shelly Johnson), James Marshall (James Hurley), Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), David Duchovny (Denise Bryson), Ray Wise (Leland Palmer) and Sheryl Lee (Lauren Palmer) all return for season three. A recent Variety feature also revealed the reprisal of co-creator David Lynch’s role as the hard-of-hearing FBI Regional Bureau Chief, Gordon Cole. And, despite Miguel Ferrer’s sad passing in January of this year, we have word he will be back in the role of FBI Agent Albert Rosenfield, having wrapped up all of his scenes prior to falling ill.

But never fear, along with the old comes plenty of new. In April 2016, Radio Times revealed Showtime’s whopping list of 217 cast members including: Laura Dern, Michael Cera, Ashleigh Judd, Amanda Siegfried, Jim Belushi and Robert Forster.

Some key cast members that won’t be returning to the not-so-sleepy small town this season include Lara Flynn Boyle as Donna, Piper Laurie as Catherine Martell, Joan Chen as Josie Packard, Michael J. Anderson as ‘the man from another place’, and Chris Mulkey as Norma’s husband Hank. Nor will Heather Graham reprise the role of Agent Cooper’s girlfriend Annie Blackburn, as we continue to wonder: how’s Annie?

The story

If you’re yet to watch the original Twin Peaks, there is still time! Quit reading and head over to NOW TV to catch up on the first two series. Or, you can take in the below clip for a three-minute recap. Whichever path you choose (and we strongly recommend the full version) be aware that this article is riddled with spoilers from here on in. Proceed unprepared at your peril.

In an interview regarding the third series with IndieWire, Showtime president and CEO David Nevins told Michael Schneider that at “the core of it [season three] is Agent Cooper’s odyssey back to Twin Peaks,” and that fans would be satisfied with the revival. Ok, so that’s hardly the spoiler we promised. But, like we said, details are scarce. What we do know is: this is not a remake. Time has moved on since the original Twin Peaks and season three is set 25 years in the future. The characters have aged, the actors have aged, some things have changed, but a lot of things haven’t – as evidenced by teaser footage of Shelly and Norman in their Double R Diner uniforms.

One change you can expect is, that although the town of Twin Peaks is the main location, it’s not the only one. According to information from Entertainment Weekly, the 142-day shoot took place in a number of different cities. Prepare for some new settings alongside the Black Lodge, Red Room and Double R Diner!

We’ll also finally get some kind of resolution to that creepy cliff-hanger, which saw the possessed Agent Cooper head-butt a mirror reflecting Killer Bob, while repeatedly cackling ‘How’s Annie?’ and bleeding from the head. We know that because Agent Cooper’s back, and he’s leading the series. And, as Little White Lies magazine reported, Nevins told a Television Critics Association Audience (TCA) that Twin Peaks season three is “designed to be a close-ended, one-time event” or, as co-creator Lynch described it, “a feature film in 18 parts.” But what is the Red Room? How does it work? Can Agent Cooper make it back? You’ll have to watch and see.

In the same TCA address, Lynch also confirmed that the story of Laura Palmer’s last seven days is vital to the plot. So, if you haven’t watched Lynch and Robert Engels’ 1992 movie prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, you might want to watch that too.

The format

The two-hour premiere episode will screen here in the UK at the same time as the US. That means an early rise for avid fans (2am on Monday 22 May) or, if you can hold out, it’ll be available on demand on NOW TV at any time thereafter.

Taking it back to the traditional mode of appointment viewing, new episodes will be released weekly. And with 18 episodes in total, you’ll be spending a fair bit of time on the edge of your seat.

Find more enthralling entertainment options… in May 2017’s essential entertainment mix

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*Feature image sourced from Bago Games under Creative Commons