Following David Lynch's wonderfully bizarre video message to the crowd assembled in Hall H, moderator Damon Lindelof kicked off the rest of the Twin Peaks San Diego Comic-Con panel with a personal and emotional statement about what the show meant to him when he first watched it as a teenager in 1990.
“In 1990, I was a sophomore in high school, a quirky misfit," said the writer/producer of Lost and The Leftovers. "The popular kids had colorful ways of describing me with my saddle shoes and slicked back hair. To cool kids, I was a weirdo."
Then on April 8 that year, he saw the premiere of Twin Peaks and his life changed forever: "I loved every single one of (the characters) because they were all weirdos. I was transported to this place and never wanted to leave it."
Lindelof then spoke about the cultural impact of the show, saying, “Without Twin Peaks, there would be no Sopranos, no X-Files, no True Detective, no Fargo and no Lost... I owe my entire career to this show and I can’t think of a better place to say that then in Hall H at Comic-Con before a roomful of weirdos.”
It was a poignant way to introduce the first-ever Twin Peaks panel at Comic-Con, focused on the new season of the show which has remained a cult favorite in the intervening 25 years.
Lindelof then brought out a roster of cast members old and new, including star Kyle MacLachlan, Naomi Watts, James Marshall, Everett McGill, Dana Ashbrook, Kimmy Robertson, Tim Roth, Don Murray, and Matthew Lillard.
None of the cast could talk about what was coming up in the weeks ahead on the show, because as MacLachlan explained, "None of us have seen anything beyond what's aired."
MacLachlan did recount getting a phone call from Lynch, asking him to meet in person. When MacLachlan arrived, Lynch asked him if he would be interested in coming back to Twin Peaks. MacLachlan said that his response was, "David, I never left Twin Peaks."
Everett McGill, who plays Ed Hurley, came out of retirement to do the show and appear in front of a camera for the first time in 20 years. He recounted that he has an empty house where he keeps some vintage cars stored. He happened to be there one day and the phone rang for the first time in 10 years. He picked it up and it was Lynch. "Is this a good number to find you?" asked the director. McGill told him, "This is not a good number." But he, like MacLachlan, was ready to come back at a moment's notice.
An audience member wanted to know which question the cast members were asked the most, to which the answer was "What's David Lynch like?" "Well, what is he like?" queried Lindelof.
Lillard said that "Lynch has this incredible sense of joy and peace," while MacLachlan remarked, "His belief in his vision and process and point of view is so profound and focused. He follows this dream in his mind and I find that inspirational in my own life." (MacLachlan and Watts both do pretty good Lynch impersonations, by the way.)
87-year-old Don Murray, who genre fans may remember as Governor Breck from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, said, "You go home after a day's work with David and you feel good about yourself and the world because you've had that experience."
Clearly the cast was not there to spill secrets or talk about upcoming episodes, but the love for Twin Peaks and Lynch was in the air in Hall H today. All that was missing was somebody handing out coffee and pie.