When Sherilyn Fenn was officially cast in next year's Twin Peaks revival, the original reporting indicated that she would reprise her role as Audrey Horne.
On the one hand, that seemed obvious: Audrey was a major part of the original series, and a major character to boot. Fenn's performance energized the character and made her, arguably, the most beloved inhabitant of Twin Peaks besides Kyle McLachlan's Special Agent Dale Cooper.
The trouble was -- hadn't she died in the series (now season 2) finale?
Audrey had chained herself to the door of a bank vault and, in order to bring attention to some of her father's dirty business dealings, was expecting the media to come see what she was up to. Instead, Pete Martell opened a safe deposit box and a massive explosion rocked the vault. As of the end of the episode, Audrey was presumed dead by most viewers.
Years later, when it was revealed that the film Mulholland Drive started as an Audrey Horne spinoff story, some fans started to speculate that the character had somehow survived.
"The Audrey spin-off that would’ve come about, it really ended up being the original idea for Mulholland Drive," Fenn said back in 2014. "That was either in between the first and second season or after the second season, but they were like, 'What if we did a movie, and it’s Audrey in California?' And they talked about an opening scene of her driving along Mulholland Drive, and how she’s a little bit older. Whatever it was going to be, it never ended up happening for me. But I was young, and I thought it sounded weird, because no one ever really did that. I was, like, 'Okay, but do people do that? Go from TV to a movie as the same character?' Then all those years later, David made the other one, and I didn’t have anything to do with it."
That likely informed some of the educated guessing when Fenn was cast, but other fans weren't so sure. After all, in a series like Twin Peaks it would be just as likely that Audrey had an identical family member (a recurring motif in the original show) or that we might see her haunting the Black Lodge. And Ray Wise, who plays the definitely-dead Leland Palmer, has been confirmed to return (as, for that matter, has Sheryl Lee, whose character's murder literally set up the premise of the original series).
There's also the matter of potential flashbacks and the like: A handful of characters from Twin Peaks did go from TV to the prequel movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me as the same characters. Fenn, too, would later return to a very Audrey Horne-like character in a Psych episode titled "Dual Spires," which also starred fellow Twin Peaks alumni Ray Wise, Dana Ashbrook, Catherine E. Coulson, Sheryl Lee and others.
Why bring all this up now, with months to go before new Twin Peaks and very little chance David Lynch and Mark Frost will release a significant amount of footage before the premiere airs?
Because last week, Frost -- the series' co-creator -- wrote a tie in novel titled The Secret History of Twin Peaks. It delves into hundreds of years of history, trivia, and conspiracies both real and imagined for the world of Twin Peaks, and wraps it all up in a minor character from the original TV show. It's expected that elements of The Secret History of Twin Peaks will inform the forthcoming event miniseries/third season, and one such event -- sure to play a big role -- is the revelation that Audrey Horne survived the blast at Twin Peaks Savings & Loan.
The novel, which comes packed with "original documents," photos, newspapers, and the like, contains a clipping from the Twin Peaks Post in which it's revealed that three people died and one was injured in the explosion at the bank. Audrey was apparently saved when Pete threw himself on her to protect her from the blast. The other two casualties were a bank employee and a tangential character who was there with Martell.
There's no word on what happened to Audrey following the explosion -- the vast majority of the book takes place before or during the events of Twin Peaks's first two seasons -- but seeing that she survived the explosion, and no intimation is made in the book that she met a bad end later on, it's likely safe to assume -- as many already had been, but now with evidence to back it up -- that Fenn is playing Audrey again.
Widely considered one of the most groundbreaking and influential broadcast series of all time, Twin Peaks followed the inhabitants of a quaint northwestern town who were stunned after their homecoming queen Laura Palmer was shockingly murdered. The town's sheriff welcomed the help of FBI agent Dale Cooper, who came to town to investigate the case. As Cooper conducted his search for Laura's killer, the town's secrets were gradually exposed. The mystery that ensued set off an eerie chain of events that plunged the inhabitants of Twin Peaks into a darker examination of their very existence. Twenty-five years later, the story continues...
Twin Peaks is written and produced by series creators and executive producers David Lynch and Mark Frost and is directed entirely by David Lynch.
Twin Peaks returns as a limited series to Showtime in 2017.