Twin Peaks San Diego Comic-Con Hall H Report: An Appreciation Of David Lynch And Weirdness

Showtime pulled out the big pots of coffee for Twin Peaks at San Diego Comic-Con, giving the show the royal treatment at the legendary Hall H, the con’s biggest venue.

The panel included Kyle Maclachlan, Dana Ashbrook, Kimmy Robertson (who was at SDCC in 2014 for the Twin Peaks Blu Ray box set panel,) Matthew Lillard, Everett McGill, James Marshal, Don Murray, Tim Roth, and, making her SDCC debut, a radiant Naomi Watts.

Moderator Damon Lindelof, fresh off of The Leftovers, opened the panel by sharing how Twin Peaks touched his life. He was sixteen years old when the show premiered. “I was lonely, the world was scary and confusing. On 4/8, my life changed forever. Suddenly I was no longer alone. I was in Twin Peaks.” It was clear that Lindelof’s own artistic journey as a director was influenced by Lynch, “ the true maestro, the visionary. I owe my entire career to this incredible show.”

Damon Lindelof’s two-page Twin Peaks speech for SDCC (via EW)

While Lindelof was admitted he was a bit grateful that Lynch couldn’t attend, lest he fanboy too hard, Lynch’s presence still loomed large over the panel. Literally. Attendees were treated to a special welcome recording from the man himself, who, after several hilarious false starts and audio jokes – including the last golf ball O.J. hit before going to prison, a runaway horse, and a squished cat.

Kyle Maclachlan’s welcome to the crowd was a resounding Mr. Jackpots style “Hellooo-ooo-ooo.”

The panelists discussed how they answered David Lynch’s sometimes cryptic calls to return to Twin Peaks. Dana Ashbrook was heading to the Twin Peaks U.K. fan convention in London, traveling with Sheryl Lee when she, too, got a call from Lynch. Kimmy Robertson, a fan favorite for her perfect comedic timing, especially among long-time viewers, was “in bed.” Until she was so shocked she slid off of it and onto the floor! But settling back into her role as Lucy was “mostly about the wool and the sweaters.”

Naomi Watts has been keeping in constant touch with Lynch since Mulholland Drive and would frequently team up with Laura Dern to pitch ideas for them to collaborate on with Lynch.

Tim Roth was big fan of Lynch’s earlier work, particularly Eraserhead and Blue Velvet but never got to watch Twin Peaks when it aired because he was too busy shooting with Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs at the time. He was particularly excited to learn he would be playing scenes with Jennifer Jason Leigh again, after the two starred in Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

Veteran actor Don Murray (Bushnell “Battling Bud” Mullens) says long, long pages of dialogue opposite a mostly silent Dougie are some of the most challenging deliveries of his long career, but “[t]he most impressive thing about David is he shows appreciation for other people’s work. You go home after a day’s work with David
and you feel good about yourself and about the world, for having had that experience.”

Matthew Lillard came to the show completely innocent, very bewildered by the entire Lynch fandom but stoked to be a part of the weirdness. Lindelof got the entire auditorium clapping when he said Lillard’s character’s breakdown in Part 9 was reminiscent of Ray Wise’s iconic interrogation scene in the original series. Lillard gets asked often what date Bill Hastings wrote down in Part 9, and he only “thinks” it was the 20th, but it was over a year ago. He loves that The Search for The Zone really exists online.

“I can’t get away from Shaggy [from the live-action Scooby Doo movie]. I just want to be Bill Hastings forever!” he laughed. “Hack the Planet!” said the crowd.

Most audience members weren’t really expecting answers to bigger fan questions, i.e. “Where is Audrey?” and “When will the real Agent Cooper manifest?” but that never stopped people asking. The only problem is most of the cast hasn’t watched the series. Naomi Watts has been traveling to places with bad internet. (“Like Canada,” Maclachlan quipped.) Tim Roth plans on marathoning the entire series run with his kids. “I don’t know what it’ll do o us as a family, but I’m up for it.”

Maclachlan revealed that he refers to his evil character as Mr. C, but he laughed at “Dirty Cooper.” He also says filming in the Black Lodge feels wholly different in energy from the other sets. The hottest take on Dougie was, of course, from his TV-wife. “He’s hot,” she purred, laughing about Part 9’s recent love scene between Dougie – who had a cosplayer in Hall H! – and Janey-E. Dana Ashbrook and James Marshal have been enjoying how their characters have grown up since the original series. Ashbrook also hinted, accidentally it seemed, that Bobby would share a scene with Tim Roth’s Gary Hutchens, suggesting the circle around Mr. C is closing in.

Only Maclachlan knows almost as much about Twin Peaks as Lynch himself, but the director’s artistic side occupies a place that’s purely David, him as the artist. At that point, I “become like a fan.” Lynch is clearly a figure that inspires all who work with him. “David pretty much brought me up in the film world, Maclachlan said. “I’ve been spoiled forever by working with David. There is a point at which he goes into a place that’s purely David, him as the artist. At that point, I become like a fan. That’s untouchable.

Lastly, social media has proved to be an obstacle to keeping big secrets about the show, at the same time Twitter bolstered Peaks enough to keep it ripe for a revival for which every actor on the staged echoed gratitude for.

The final announcement was sadly not a new peek at upcoming episodes, but a simple announcement of an early screening of Part 11 at Comic-Con, merchandise for sale at Entertainment Earth’s booth, and a time change for the show; beginning August 6th , Twin Peaks will air at 8pm PDT.

Still, watching fans speak with the cast was a special time, made more special by Damon Lindelof and Kyle Maclachlan, the ultimate fans of Twin Peaks, sharing the enthusiasm of the crowd.

Watch 25 minutes of the Twin Peaks panel at SDCC 2017

Audience Q&A during the SDCC 2017 Twin Peaks panel

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