THE RETURN Why was there so little Ray Wise in The Return?

DartsinLovers'Eyes

Sparkwood & 21
Dec 24, 2022
1
3
Has anyone ever heard from Ray Wise/Mark Frost/David Lynch on why there was so little of him in Season 3? I adore the Return, it's one of my favourite pieces of art flat-out, but was always surprised at how his role amounted to essentially a couple of lines, considering how fond Lynch seemed to be of him and the character. I'd love to hear the thinking about why they kept the role so minimal/what Wise's feelings on it were.
 

Jordan Cole

White Lodge
Sep 22, 2022
596
929
This is also one of my main disappointments with season 3. You've got Ray Wise and he's eager and happy to do it. I mean...we know his character is dead...but.

I feel the same way about Heather Graham really. I forget where I read this or if this is a real memory, but I swear I read she would have loved to be in the season.
 

Jasper

Bureau HQ
TULPA MOD
Apr 12, 2022
211
778
This comes up sometimes, and it actually just came up a couple of days ago.

My one not-very-serious hypothesis has long been that Ray Wise was being punished for spilling the beans on a Twin Peaks continuation back before The Return was announced. Or maybe it’s not necessarily a punishment per se, but merely the thought that, well, if we give Ray a bigger part, and he has the script, even just his part, then he might go running his mouth about it.

It could just be that The Return had so many moving parts that Leland just didn’t have much of a chance of fitting into things in a more pronounced manner, especially considering that the character is dead. Of course, Jacques Renault was dead, but his “cousin” appeared in The Return, and while it was a small part, it was significantly more than Wise’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-them appearances. The character of Laura is dead, but she manages some significant screen time. Even Major Briggs and and BOB have bigger roles than Ray Wise, and neither of those actors is living! Even Pete Martell arguably has a bigger role than Leland.

Of course there are also questions about the Leland that we do see. Is this just the good part of Leland’s self? BOB is elsewhere with Mr. C, and this Leland doesn’t have milky eyes, so he’s not the creepy doppelgänger we see in episode 29, and furthermore, this Leland seems legitimately sad that Laura’s missing. While Twin Peaks certainly treats Leland's guilt and innocence in a very fluid way, it might be worth noting that in Leland’s death scene in the original series, he seems to be welcomed by Laura into some sort of hereafter. Also, why is Leland in the lodge in The Return anyway? Is it because he’s in a sort of purgatory? Can practically anybody who's dead appear to lodge visitors, like when Maddie appears to Cooper in episode 29? Is Leland in The Return the same in-denial Leland from the Between Two Worlds segment? On this latter question, The Return really doesn’t give us enough to go on.

I feel the same way about Heather Graham really. I forget where I read this or if this is a real memory, but I swear I read she would have loved to be in the season.

I'd have loved to have seen Annie, if only just a cameo where she's catatonic and staring blankly into space, whether in some facility, in Norma's home, or somewhere else. It's strange, because Lynch himself used the character very effectively in FWWM and in the Missing Pieces outtake. I was glad that Annie's existence was at least acknowledged in The Return, in the scene with Hawk and Frank Truman.
 

Count Alto

Sparkwood & 21
Dec 15, 2022
10
18
When I found out The Return is happening I remember hoping that maybe he would be portraying Bob since Frank Silva passed away. I did ultimately like that Bob took a bit of a back seat in favor of Mr. C as a prominent antagonist however.

I was glad that Annie's existence was at least acknowledged in The Return, in the scene with Hawk and Frank Truman.

A shame that the same can't be said for poor old Windom Earle. I hoped he would at least be namedropped whenever Lodge lore got brought up but nada.
 

Tulpa

Bureau HQ
TULPA MOD
ADMIN
Apr 11, 2022
581
787
A shame that the same can't be said for poor old Windom Earle. I hoped he would at least be namedropped whenever Lodge lore got brought up but nada.

Pretty sure his theme song is playing very faintly in the scene where the diner patrons switch around between cuts.

It’s extremely eerie once you hear it.
 

Tulpa

Bureau HQ
TULPA MOD
ADMIN
Apr 11, 2022
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Pretty sure his theme song is playing very faintly in the scene where the diner patrons switch around between cuts.

It’s extremely eerie once you hear it.



Audible near the end of the credit when Heidi giggles. Or at least I’m fairly certain that’s what it is.

Why? Who the heck knows.
 

AXX°N N.

Waiting Room
Apr 14, 2022
201
493
I think this might be a case of differences in anticipation and expectation and even fandom identification. You can make a persuasive argument for the idea that a brief glimpse of something can evoke stronger reaction than showing it more, or that namedropping a person without them showing up can serve to highlight some relationship with themes of memory, loss, history glazing over things, and linking it to the broad motif of people disappearing into thin air (Chet Desmond, Cooper).

But as fans it goes beyond narrative or thematic utility--we like Ray Wise, we have a personal relationship we've formed with both the actor and their character, and we wanted to see them more for reasons that extend beyond the grasp of a story as story, themes as themes, etc. In my view, TR extended themes that were always present and did so in a linear way, but how many people, if you sat them down, would say news of new Twin Peaks excited them because it made them look forward to explorations on the frailty of time? Although I've seen Leland's brief appearance taken as an error among fans online, my one viewing partner I've seen TR with took the brief appearance as strange, and it jarred, but in a way that felt unreal in an evocative, anything-goes Lodge-adjacent way. But they saw the old content once, and they took it in not as a self-considered fanatic, but as they would any film.

I don't mean this as a dismissal of those who were disappointed, I just think it's the case that something feeling truncated doesn't automatically mean it's a fluke; although we're liable as viewers to take in something appearing briefly as analog to a misplaced bit of ink dropped by accident from the quill, the production reality of securing someone makes it unlikely it occurs without having to think through the decision and justify. Taking a beloved cast member and going through all the related efforts to have them show up for nearly 2 seconds is an abandonment of conventional consideration for every reason in the book, especially because it's liable to be taken as "a waste," but you could say that every single creative choice TP has ever made was "a waste" for not being a consensus choice, as it was never a show built on what was "proven" to be gratifying.

Maddy shows up very briefly in ep 29 as an ambiguous figurant, evoking all the liminal feelings of Lodge entities, but we're not disappointed because we're familiar with the said-and-done nature of the old content. Of course having waited multiple decades and built up expectations, the implementation of any storytelling or atmospheric device is weighted under an additional criteria: Did this choice, regardless of what it could be argued to contribute as a device, in reality rob us of more time with actors we like to see for their own sake?
 
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Dom

Waiting Room
Jul 10, 2022
445
468
Some of the dismissals of past storylines did seem odd in The Return: Annie was reduced to just some girl who went into the Black Lodge, not Norma Jennings's sister, Cooper's girlfriend, who was kidnapped by Cooper's former partner and mentor, who murdered several people in the town, including Shelly Johnson's psycho husband. The dismissal of Annie and seeming erasure of Windom Earle never quite sat right with me, unless they were 'erased' from people's memories on purpose.

I can understand a story unconnected to these characters not mentioning the events of season two, but Windom Earle and Annie were essential. Ray Wise's appearance I can understand being brief due to the character being dead, but given what we learn about Sarah Palmer, how much impact did the being possessing her have on Leland? Did she turn Leland evil? There must have been more going on in that marriage. I'd love to know, because Twin Peaks, to me as I was growing up, was first and foremost about the wonderful characters and the mystery and the new knowledge about Sarah changes the entire dynamic of the Palmer family, retrospectively.
 

eraserJoe

Great Northern Hotel
Apr 12, 2022
72
184
If the original Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me were mainly about exploring the "Father" side of the American nuclear family and Laura's murder, then the Return is more about exploring the "Mother." So it would make sense that Ray Wise is barely in it.
 

Jordan Cole

White Lodge
Sep 22, 2022
596
929
I think there's an interesting conflict between fans that looks something like:

- Oh, you wanted fun and competent Cooper more in season 3? You wanted Leland back, and Annie? You wanted Audrey and Cooper to run off and have a happy ending? Want Dale to stop by the old RR and have a black coffee? You simplistic sheep! Don't you understand you're not supposed to get what you want and life is nothing but pain? You should be grateful that Lynch and Frost even let you engage in their brilliance!

vs.

- (sarcastic) How nice of the original Twin Peaks characters we love and care about to make brief cameos in season 3! Jesus christ, season 3 is 18 full hours long, would it have killed Lynch and Frost to give us one or two scenes with Annie, or give James something to do, or explore Bobby and Shelly's relationship more, or how about a cameo from Josie since Joan Chen literally begged to be in the show, or give us the Cooper who is a dynamic, entertaining character some presence outside of part of one episode? This artsy stuff is fine, but can't we have that and also something enjoyable for people who love the characters and what made Twin Peaks so fun to watch in the first place?

Me? I mostly lean towards the top one, but I'm kind of in the middle. I agree with AXX that the absence of something is as meaningful as including something. Yeah, no one talked about Leo...why WOULD they? Twin Peaks season 3 captures the real feeling of a town, not a TV show, where 25 years have passed. Some things are still around, a lot of things (and people) are gone now and just a memory. "Oh yeah...Annie...I remember her..."

We may think Annie's kidnapping and hospitalization would be a big deal to the town of Twin Peaks 25 years later, but look around...half the people in the town now are kids who weren't even born when that happened! And we're privy to glimpses of their conversations. And that captures the feeling of, frankly, what I feel like now that I'm 40 (RIP me) and so many people I meet are half my age and don't know or care about any of the things I care about (a recent conversation with a coworker about X-Files comes to mind...she had no idea what it was and didn't care!)

But I also have a strong feeling of What If...? I mean...Heather Graham WANTED to do it...How could Lynch and Frost pass that up? Can you imagine that? If it were ME, I'd be like oh hell yes, we HAVE to show Annie, that would be powerful and fascinating and tragic or possibly morbidly funny, etc. Let's brainstorm something!

If it were ME, oh man, James is actually a real subtle, soulful actor now, let's give him a bigger role in the plot, as one of the few people still around who were involved with Laura. Maybe him and Bobby can play off each other in some way? That would be so satisfying when thinking of how far they've come since the pilot, with Bobby barking at him through the jail cell (I mean did they even interact at all? No, right?)

Oh man we have the insanely incredible Grace Zabriskie? The woman is a Lynch painting come to life. We've gotta put her in more scenes, why not focus a whole episode on her? Woh, Kyle Maclachlan is ready, willing and able to be that awesome, funny Dale Cooper we know and love...? Let's move up his re-emergence to, I don't know, episode 14...? And follow him around more, maybe he gets to Twin Peaks sooner and interacts with...here's an idea...a character or two??

As you see, I'm totally in the middle. I love season 3, but sometimes I wonder...But you can't deny it does convey the feeling of a giant hole in the center of everything. Missing pieces, as it were.
 

Agent Earle

Great Northern Hotel
Apr 12, 2022
77
133
I don't believe for a second Lynch looked into every nook and cranny of the original series prior to embarking on script writing for The Return - so much of this "giant hole" is probably down to him simply being unfamiliar with the material and not letting such petty things obstruct his wanting to do more Art. I know many people would declare this take as blasphemous, but I can't help feeling this way after thinking over various statements about how this project came about.
 

Jordan Cole

White Lodge
Sep 22, 2022
596
929
I don't believe for a second Lynch looked into every nook and cranny of the original series prior to embarking on script writing for The Return - so much of this "giant hole" is probably down to him simply being unfamiliar with the material and not letting such petty things obstruct his wanting to do more Art. I know many people would declare this take as blasphemous, but I can't help feeling this way after thinking over various statements about how this project came about.

I actually think the total opposite. Season 3 has so many tiny, specific details and references to things from the first two seasons, it seems insane to me that they didn't refresh their memory. I just remember on reddit every week during its airing, so many people caught lines or visuals or musical things that called back to random things. Though I'd say it might be reasonable that Frost has the more encyclopedic brain and responsible for this stuff since he also wrote a book at that time. Who knows though.

I don't think it makes much sense that the reason Annie and others aren't in season 3 is because David Lynch literally forgot about their existence because they hadn't watched the show, and had he remembered, he'd go "oh, woops!" and have put them in. That's kind of silly.
 

Tulpa

Bureau HQ
TULPA MOD
ADMIN
Apr 11, 2022
581
787
I actually think the total opposite. Season 3 has so many tiny, specific details and references to things from the first two seasons, it seems insane to me that they didn't refresh their memory.

I think that’s more Frost than Lynch.
 

NormaNorth

Sparkwood & 21
Dec 26, 2022
4
10
I actually think the total opposite. Season 3 has so many tiny, specific details and references to things from the first two seasons, it seems insane to me that they didn't refresh their memory. I just remember on reddit every week during its airing, so many people caught lines or visuals or musical things that called back to random things. Though I'd say it might be reasonable that Frost has the more encyclopedic brain and responsible for this stuff since he also wrote a book at that time. Who knows though.

I don't think it makes much sense that the reason Annie and others aren't in season 3 is because David Lynch literally forgot about their existence because they hadn't watched the show, and had he remembered, he'd go "oh, woops!" and have put them in. That's kind of silly.
When we got the first four episodes of the return with Cooper through the cosmos, details relating back to FWWM stuck out: falling through space is the major one. As Tulpa pointed out that may be Frost’s input, which makes me a bit sad as I’ve always got the impression Frost paid more attention to FWWM than Lynch did to the original series and books.

It was bizarre that Lynch in recent years said the only “real” TP is the pilot and finale/FWWM… especially since he directed episode 3 which has arguably the most iconic scene in the show with Cooper’s dream. Of course the Red Room was featured in the Return so maybe Lynch just doesn’t recall exactly when it came into play. I can understand mentally blocking out a project that ended less than satisfactorily from a creative standpoint.

I think Lynch did ignore lots of what went down aside from “his” version centered around FWWM. I often felt teased watching The Return. I enjoyed it but definitely kept waiting for some of the original hanging threads to get referenced, though I suppose that’s what The Final Dossier was for.

I would have enjoyed a little more of say Bobby and James saying two words to each other. Bobby killed a guy… James’ memory problems felt on the one hand like a typical Lynch fugue state but also kind of a writing cop out. I get that Lynch especially hated the soap opera aspect the network originally wanted, but we did get a fair bit of Norma and Shelley. Maybe because Lynch just loves those actors.

Still would love to have heard more of what Frost may have had scripted that got left out. I can’t make sense of excluding Joan Chen & Heather Graham while focusing on random Steven but I’m not a show runner or director.
 

Jordan Cole

White Lodge
Sep 22, 2022
596
929
It was bizarre that Lynch in recent years said the only “real” TP is the pilot and finale/FWWM… especially since he directed episode 3 which has arguably the most iconic scene in the show with Cooper’s dream.
Lynch is referring to the filming locations when he said this, not exactly about the quality or canon of the episodes in question.
 

NormaNorth

Sparkwood & 21
Dec 26, 2022
4
10
Lynch is referring to the filming locations when he said this, not exactly about the quality or canon of the episodes in question.
He says the location helped capture the mood for the pilot which was missing in the rest of the series for him. But he also says “so it’s the pilot and the red room and where they led- put those things together and you’ve got the real twin peaks.” Which to me suggests a lot of content beyond just filming on location was not “real” to him and that’s fine.
 

LateReg

Glastonbury Grove
Apr 12, 2022
110
315
I'm one of the few who is always surprised at the notion that Ray Wise/Leland Palmer should have been in it more than he was, because the little he was in it, however unexpected, seems perfect and right to me. For starters, to echo what others have said, this portion of the series focuses on the mother side of the equation, and the relative absence of Leland quite possibly speaks more profoundly than a greater role would have.

I also happen to think that, within his two five-second appearances, Leland plays one of the most important parts in The Return. We see him at first, and it is jarring, and we are caught off guard and perhaps have the expectation that we will see him in a greater capacity later. But his appearance is jarring because he seems so sad, and because he remains in a state of purgatory in the last place we saw him. But he doesn't seem incapable of escape so much as he seems resigned to the fate he deserves, to mull over the murder of his own daughter. All he says is "Find Laura," and as his very late second appearance makes clear alongside the likely cyclical nature of Cooper's journey through and outside of the Red Room, that may be all he can say, over and over again. Not only that, but why exactly, for what pure and selfish reasons, does he want Laura found? Most importantly, how much does his profound, single-minded regret end up influencing Cooper, in his 25-year stay, to focus mostly on the impossible task of preventing her death and thereby ripping her from her higher state of peace and enlightenment? In a series that seems to present shared, overlapping subjective experience, Leland and Cooper largely seem one and the same, as men sharing a similar physical/mental space of love and regret, overstepping their boundaries and attempting to correct the past rather than digging beneath that illusory urge to access the same enlightened energy that Laura displays when she removes her face.
 

Mr. Reindeer

White Lodge
Apr 13, 2022
606
1,332
I'm one of the few who is always surprised at the notion that Ray Wise/Leland Palmer should have been in it more than he was, because the little he was in it, however unexpected, seems perfect and right to me. For starters, to echo what others have said, this portion of the series focuses on the mother side of the equation, and the relative absence of Leland quite possibly speaks more profoundly than a greater role would have.

I also happen to think that, within his two five-second appearances, Leland plays one of the most important parts in The Return. We see him at first, and it is jarring, and we are caught off guard and perhaps have the expectation that we will see him in a greater capacity later. But his appearance is jarring because he seems so sad, and because he remains in a state of purgatory in the last place we saw him. But he doesn't seem incapable of escape so much as he seems resigned to the fate he deserves, to mull over the murder of his own daughter. All he says is "Find Laura," and as his very late second appearance makes clear alongside the likely cyclical nature of Cooper's journey through and outside of the Red Room, that may be all he can say, over and over again. Not only that, but why exactly, for what pure and selfish reasons, does he want Laura found? Most importantly, how much does his profound, single-minded regret end up influencing Cooper, in his 25-year stay, to focus mostly on the impossible task of preventing her death and thereby ripping her from her higher state of peace and enlightenment? In a series that seems to present shared, overlapping subjective experience, Leland and Cooper largely seem one and the same, as men sharing a similar physical/mental space of love and regret, overstepping their boundaries and attempting to correct the past rather than digging beneath that illusory urge to access the same enlightened energy that Laura displays when she removes her face.
The highly complex Cooper/Leland dynamic in The Return, stemming from that one tiny moment as well as the shared Bob connection, is especially interesting in light of Cooper seemingly absolving Leland in both Episode 16 and Episode 17, arguably being far too forgiving of Leland’s complicity.
 
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