How’s Annie? The Implications of The Secret History of Twin Peaks

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers for Mark Frost’s novel, The Secret History of Twin Peaks.

On October 18th, 2016, Mark Frost released his much-anticipated novel The Secret History of Twin Peaks to tie in with the new season due to arrive in 2017. Fans hoped that this would answer many of their pressing questions, however, the book seemed to create more mysteries than it solved. The fates of Annie Blackburn, Benjamin Horne, and Agent Cooper are left up in the air, characters that seemed like comic relief in the show are revealed to be involved in wild conspiracies, and while the “Owl Ring” is given an origin, it is still not explained what, exactly, it does. Not only that, but the book is seemingly riddled with inconsistencies. Listed below are only a few:

  • Andrew Packard’s “death” date is inconsistent
  • Norma’s mother is named Ilsa Lindstrom, not Vivian Niles, and supposedly died 5 years before the show
  • Annie seems not to exist at all
  • Cooper expected to get shot by Josie
  • Audrey leaves a note before heading to the bank, telling her father that she knows he plans to continue with the Ghostwood Development Project, despite his behavior to the contrary in the last episodes of Season 2
  • In the book, Laura reportedly began seeing Jacoby at age 18; however, she died at age 17

(Read a more extensive list here.)

It’s rather difficult to believe that, after all these years to prepare, that Frost would make so many drastic and obvious errors. Some can be written off as retcon, such as Pete Martell shielding Audrey from the bank explosion, when in the show, he’s quite a ways away from her when the blast goes off. Had the series continued back in 1991, most likely Pete would have survived along with Audrey, but after Jack Nance’s death in 1996, a noble death was probably penned in memory of him. Other issues, like Audrey’s note, are much harder to reconcile.

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One of the biggest questions we are left with at the end of Twin Peaks and Fire Walk with Me is the fate of Annie Blackburn. Despite the importance established for her character in the show and film, the book does not mention the ill-fated damsel once, even in her sister Norma’s post card home. In fact, the information provided within the post card seems to conflict with Annie’s very existence.

First of all, Norma writes the post card to her parents, Mr and Mrs Lindstrom. This is problematic for many reasons, but let’s forget about Vivian Niles’ brief stint in Season 2 for the sake of staying on track, and suppose for a moment, Norma’s maiden name is Lindstrom. So why is Annie’s last name Blackburn? Mrs Lindstrom is said to have never remarried. Did Annie have a brief, unmentioned marriage to a Mr Blackburn, and keep her married name? Was Annie actually adopted, and kept her old family name? Did Annie simply change her name, out of personal choice? Furthermore, how could Norma not mention her little sister in her post card home from her honeymoon? As for Annie the possibility of Annie having not been born yet, Norma is at least 18 at this point, and it’s hard to believe that Annie is nearly 20 years younger than Norma.

Did the novel write Annie out of existence? Annie’s character was created for the show’s revival, after brief cancellation during the second season. The show runners managed to convince the network to bring back Twin Peaks for a few final episodes, which would wrap up the major story lines (more or less). Due to the dissolution of the Audrey/Cooper romance, Annie Blackburn’s character was speedily written in order to fill the role of Cooper’s love interest. It is possible, if unlikely, that Lynch and Frost decided to rewrite the series to omit characters not in their original plans.

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When asked about Annie by a fan at a book signing, Frost allegedly responded that he can’t talk about Annie, but that Lana Budding won Miss Twin Peaks in 1989 (the year Twin Peaks is set and Annie Blackburn is supposed to have won Miss Twin Peaks). What does this mean? Was Lana, as runner-up, granted the title after Annie fell into a coma? That wouldn’t exactly make her win Miss Twin Peaks. Frost chose this very specific way of answering this particular question. There must be a reason. Annie had to have been purposefully omitted, after having played such an important part of Season 2. But why was she omitted, and what is the explanation for her disappearance from the story?

All these apparent “errors” could have one answer: The book, and the new season, take place in an alternate universe.

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There are other hints that the new Twin Peaks will have something to do with alternate dimensions: An actor from nearly every other Lynch film is slated to appear in the new season — Laura Dern (Blue Velvet, Wild at HeartInland Empire), Naomi Watts (Mulholland DriveRabbits), Balthazar Getty (Lost Highway), plus Twin Peaks vet Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs), who also appeared in Eraserhead. This could easily fit with the Lynchian Universe Theory, which supposes that all of David Lynch’s major films are connected through interdimensional pathways, such as the Black Lodge, or the hotel from Inland Empire, or Club Silencio from Mulholland Drive.

We already know that alternate dimensions exist within Lynch’s films, and it has already been confirmed by Lynch himself that Twin Peaks and Lost Highway take place in the same universe. We’ve also seen that interdimensional travel is possible. So, what role could it play in Twin Peaks 2017? Could it be that, when the Good Dale emerges from the Lodge at last, he finds things… not quite as he left them? Could he end up in an alternate version of Twin Peaks, or even in another time altogether?

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Some fans propose that we are not so much seeing an alternate dimension, as an alternate timeline. This theory says that time travel, possibly by Cooper, has changed history, resulting in the “discrepancies” in The Secret History. Laura might still be alive, Annie might not have been born, and Ben Horne might never have reformed. As a matter of fact, Laura not being murdered would cause Leland to not die the way he did, and Ben Horne would never have been arrested, prompting his reformation (This would explain Audrey’s letter). Perhaps Cooper traveled back in time (maybe using the Black Lodge) and saved her life? And if Norma had different parents, they might not have had Annie.

If either the alternate universe or alternate timeline theories are correct, it would nicely clean up inconsistencies in the book, and explain why dead characters will appear 25 years later, aged 25 years older (ageing ghosts?). Whatever the truth is, we may learn the answers sooner than we think…

HEADLINE: Twin Peaks Season 3 Cast Revealed

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Written by Eden H. Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

Yesterday morning (April 25th, 2016), the official Facebook page for Twin Peaks released the final line-up for the cast of the long-awaited Season 3. There are many familiar faces, and many new faces to be excited about, as well as some names that are painfully absent. Below is an exact quote from Twin Peaks‘s official page, followed by a quick Who’s Who of some of the cast members.

DO NOT read below if you don’t want to know! This is your last warning to turn back. For everyone else, it is my pleasure to pass the happy news on to you:

The cameras have stopped rolling.
A key piece of the mystery is revealed.
Welcome back* to Twin Peaks.

Jay Aaseng
Alon Aboutboul
Jane Adams
Joe Adler
Kate Alden
Stephanie Allynne
Mädchen Amick*
Eric Ray Anderson
Finn Andrews
Elizabeth Anwies
Dana Ashbrook*
Joe Auger
Phoebe Augustine*
Melissa Bailey
Tammie Baird
Matt Battaglia
Chrysta Bell
Monica Bellucci
Jim Belushi
Leslie Berger
Richard Beymer*
John Billingsley
Michael Bisping
Ronnie Gene Blevins
Kelsey Bohlen
Sean Bolger
Rachael Bower
Brent Briscoe
Robert Broski
Wes Brown
Richard Bucher
Page Burkum
Scott Cameron
Juan Carlos Cantu
Gia Carides
Vincent Castellanos
Michael Cera
Richard Chamberlain
Bailey Chase
Johnny Chavez
Candy Clark
Larry Clarke
Scott Coffey*
Frank Collison
Lisa Coronado
Catherine E. Coulson*
Grace Victoria Cox
Jonny Coyne
James Croak
Julee Cruise*
Heather D’Angelo
Jan D’Arcy*
David Dastmalchian
Jeremy Davies
Owain Rhys Davies
Ana de la Reguera
Rebekah Del Rio
Laura Dern
Neil Dickson
Hugh Dillon
Cullen Douglas
Edward “Ted” Dowlin
Judith Drake
David Duchovny*
Christopher Durbin
Francesca Eastwood
Eric Edelstein
John Ennis
Josh Fadem
Tikaeni Faircrest
Eamon Farren
Sherilyn Fenn*
Jay R. Ferguson
Sky Ferreira
Miguel Ferrer*
Rebecca Field
Robin Finck
Brian Finney
Patrick Fischler
Erika Forster
Robert Forster
Meg Foster
Travis Frost
Warren Frost*
Pierce Gagnon
Allen Galli
Hailey Gates
Brett Gelman
Ivy George
Balthazar Getty
James Giordano
Harry Goaz*
Grant Goodeve
George Griffith
Tad Griffith
James Grixoni
Cornelia Guest
Travis Hammer
Hank Harris
Annie Hart
Andrea Hays*
Stephen Heath
Heath Hensley
Gary Hershberger*
Michael Horse*
Ernie Hudson
Jay Jee
Jesse Johnson
Caleb Landry Jones
Ashley Judd
Luke Judy
Stephen Kearin
David Patrick Kelly*
Laura Kenny
Dep Kirkland
Robert Knepper
David Koechner
Virginia Kull
Nicole LaLiberte
Jay Larson
Sheryl Lee*
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Jane Levy
Matthew Lillard
Jeremy Lindholm
Peggy Lipton*
Bellina Martin Logan*
Sarah Jean Long
David Lynch*
Riley Lynch
Shane Lynch
Kyle MacLachlan*
Mark Mahoney
Karl Makinen
Malone
Xolo Maridueña
Berenice Marlohe
Rob Mars
James Marshall*
Elisabeth Maurus
Josh McDermitt
Everett McGill*
Zoe McLane
Derek Mears
Clark Middleton
Greg Mills
James Morrison
Christopher Murray
Don Murray
Joy Nash
Priya Diane Niehaus
Bill O’Dell
Casey O’Neill
Johnny Ochsner
Walter Olkewicz*
Charity Parenzini
Elias Nelson Parenzini
John Paulsen
Sara Paxton
Max Perlich
Linas Phillips
Tracy Phillips
John Pirruccello
Linda Porter
Jelani Quinn
Ruth Radelet
Mary Reber
Adele René
Mariqueen Reznor
Trent Reznor
Carolyn P. Riggs
Kimmy Robertson*
Wendy Robie*
Erik L. Rondell
Marv Rosand*
Ben Rosenfield
Tim Roth
Rod Rowland
Carlton Lee Russell*
Elena Satine
John Savage
Amanda Seyfried
Amy Shiels
Sawyer Shipman
Tom Sizemore
Sara Sohn
Malachy Sreenan
Harry Dean Stanton*
J.R. Starr
Bob Stephenson
Charlotte Stewart*
Emily Stofle
Al Strobel*
Carel Struycken*
Ethan Suplee
Sabrina S. Sutherland
Jessica Szohr
Russ Tamblyn*
Bill Tangradi
Cynthia Lauren Tewes
Jodee Thelen
Jack Torrey
Sharon Van Etten
Eddie Vedder
Greg Vrotsos
Jake Wardle
Naomi Watts
Nafessa Williams
Ray Wise*
Alicia Witt*
Karolina Wydra
Charlyne Yi
Nae Yuuki
Grace Zabriskie*
Christophe Zajac-Denek
Madeline Zima
Blake Zingale

You’ll notice many returning cast members (as indicated by an asterisk*), which means we can (most likely) expect these characters in Season 3: Shelly Briggs (formerly Johnson), Bobby Briggs, Ronette Pulaski, a cop played by Matt Battaglia, Benjamin Horne, Margaret Lanterman a.k.a. the Log Lady, Sylvia Horne, Julee Cruise, Dennis/Denise Bryson, Albert Rosenfield, Doc Hayward, Audrey Horne, a trucker played by Brian T. Finney, Andy Brennan, Heidi the German Waitress, Mike Nelson, Jerry Horne, Laura Palmer/Maddy Ferguson, Norma Jennings, the Great Northern Desk Clerk (played by Bellina Martin Logan), Gordon Cole, Dale Cooper, James Hurley, “Big” Ed Hurley, Jacques Renault, Lucy Moran, Nadine Hurley, Cook (at the Double R Diner), the Jumping Man, Carl Rodd, Betty Briggs, Philip Gerard/MIKE, the Giant, Dr Jacoby, Leland Palmer, Gersten Hayward, and Sarah Palmer.

TheDonnas

Notably absent are either Lara Flynn Boyle are Moira Kelly, which would imply that Donna is not going to appear in the season, unless, as speculated by some fans, the character is recast once again. Her sister, the pianist Gersten, is going to be present. This should be quite a treat, as actress Alicia Witt has been honing her acting skills, giving amazing performances on television series, most recently as a guest star on The Walking Dead.

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Heather Graham, who played Annie, is also absent, leaving questions as to how Lynch and Frost plan on wrapping up her story. Last we saw Annie, she was comatose in a hospital, wearing the Owl Ring (until it was taken by the nurse). Her fate is one of many that has been left up in the air for the last 26 years, along with Leo Johnson, and, with Eric Da Re’s name missing from the list, it looks like we’re not going to get to see what happened with him either. It also looks as though Billy Zane’s character, Jack, isn’t coming back from South America.

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Despite the grim prospects of his character’s survival in the final episode of season 2, many fans hoped to see Kenneth Walsh reprise his role as Windom Earle, and find out what happened after BOB stole his soul.

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One of my personal disappointments was the lack of Joan Chen, who portrayed Josie Packard, and recently has done amazing work on the series Marco Polo as Chabi. Her rival Catherine Martell doesn’t look to be around either, with actress Piper Laurie sadly missing from the list. Neither Chris Isaak or Kiefer Sutherland are set to reprise their roles as the ill-fated detectives from Fire Walk with Me, leaving their fates in question. It also seems that Norma finally settled her issues with Hank, as actor Chris Mulkey is not included on the list.

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Perhaps the most disappointing of all, however, is the apparent confirmation that Michael Ontkean, who played Sheriff Harry S. Truman, will not be reprising his role, which is rumored to have been recast with Robert Forster. This has gained mixed reactions from fans, but overall, his presence in Twin Peaks and unique back-and-forth with Kyle MacLachlan will be sorely missed.

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Another blow for fans is the lack of an appearance by Michael Anderson, who played the Man from Another Place; easily one of the most iconic characters from the original series. It is possible that his role will be replaced by the Jumping Man, who appeared in Fire Walk With Me, wearing an identical red suit, and proving to be just as mysterious.

There are quite a few newcomers of note, as well, many of whom have collaborated with David Lynch in the past:

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Laura Dern is set to appear, generating much speculation by fans as to who she will be playing, the most popular theory being that she will play the infamous Diane. Dern began her career with Lynch at age 19, playing Sandy Williams alongside Kyle MacLachlan in Blue Velvet. She then reappeared in Lynch’s works Industrial Symphony, Wild At Heart, and Inland Empire, for which Lynch campaigned to win her an Oscar.

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Naomi Watts is another exciting addition to the cast. She, of course, starred in Mulholland Drive, playing the dual roles of Betty Elms and Diane Selwyn. Her amazing performance catapulted her career, earning her roles in well-known films such as King Kong (2005) and the Ring. Her most recent work with David Lynch was providing the voice of Suzie Rabbit for the Rabbits series and Inland Empire.

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Balthazar Getty is another previous Lynch collaborator to appear on the list. He played Pete Dayton in Lost Highway, which makes his inclusion all the more intriguing, as Lynch has said that the film takes place in the same universe as Twin Peaks. Is it possible that Getty will be reprising his role?

Other Mulholland Drive cast members are set to appear. Brent Briscoe, who played on of the detectives seen at the beginning of the film, Scott Coffey, who played Wilkins, a character whose role was greatly cut back when Mulholland Drive became a film, Vincent Castellanos, whose character Ed stole the notorious “Black Book” before being taken out by a hit man, and Patrick Fischler, who played the dreamer Dan from the infamous diner scene, are all confirmed as cast members in Twin Peaks Season 3. Frank Collison (Wild At Heart), Neil Dickson, Emily Stofle and Nae Yuuki (Inland Empire) are other previous Lynch collaborators to appear this season.

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Several musicians are slated to appear, some of whom have worked with Lynch previously: Chrysta Bell sang on the Inland Empire soundtrack, and collaborated with Lynch on her album This Train. Rebekah Del Rio made an infamous appearance singing “Llorando,” a Spanish version of Roy Orbison’s song “Crying,” in Club Silencio for Mulholland Drive. Trent Reznor, who collaborated with Lynch on the Lost Highway soundtrack, and a video for his song “Came Back Haunted,” will be lending his talents in some way, along with his wife, singer Mariqueen. Robin Finck, a guitarist who has worked with Reznor’s band Nine Inch Nails since the early 1990s, is also on the list, as is Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. Page Burkum, Finn Andrews, Heather D’Angelo, Sky Ferreira, Erika Forster, Shane Lynch (no relation to David), Elisabeth Maurus, Ruth Radelet, Jack Torrey, and Sharon Van Etten are other musicians attached to the project.

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However, not all of the actors listed are Twin Peaks vets, and actually several are pretty big name actors. Some of the more famous names included on the list:

  • Monica Bellucci, the famous Italian actress and model.
  • Comedic actor Jim Belushi, brother of infamous Saturday Night Live star John Belushi.
  • John Billingsley, best known perhaps for his roles in sci-fi such as Star Trek: Enterprise and The Man From Earth.
  • Michael Cera is an interesting inclusion on the list. He is mostly known for him comedic roles in television and film such as Arrested Development, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Superbad.
  • Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters, is also slated to appear. Perhaps he can use his Proton Pack to get BOB out of Agent Cooper?
  • Actress and activist Ashley Judd.
  • Jennifer Jason Lee, who recently garnered mass critical acclaim with her performance in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, is rumored to be playing an FBI Agent, and was reported by Kyle MacLachlan to be filming scenes with him in Death Valley.
  • Josh McDermitt, who played Eugene in 37 episodes of The Walking Dead, is a fitting choice, considering his previous experience with the horror/drama television genre, and worked with Jennifer Chambers Lynch on the show.
  • Tim Roth, who has appeared in multiple works by Quentin Tarantino.
  • Award winning-actress Amanda Seyfried is rumored to be playing the daughter of Shelly and Bobby Briggs, and reportedly filmed scenes with Madchen Amick and Harry Dean Stanton at the Fat Trout Trailer Park.

MMA fighter Michael Bisping, stuntmen Richard Bucher and Tad Griffith, Abraham Lincoln impersonator Robert Broski, visual artist James Croak, voice actor Oawin Rhys Davies, Francesca Eastwood (daughter of Clint), child actors Pierce Gagnon and Ivy George, voice actor Stephen Kearin, David Lynch’s son Riley Lynch, Christopher Murray (son of Peyton Place and Blue Velvet actress Hope Lange) and his dad Don Murray, and prolific television character actress Linda Porter, are all interesting additions to the cast, whose roles we can thus far only guess at.

This list would also seem to include crew members behind the camera (Jay Aaseng, Joe Auger, and Sabrina S. Sutherland). The rest of the cast is made up of a great variety of talent. Some are veterans like Meg Foster and Grant Goodeve, some are new to acting, like James David Grixoni and Travis Hammer. There are several comedic actors (Heath Hensley, David Koechner, lending their talents as well, presumably helping to lift the heavy mood. Quite a few stuntmen have been cast for the new season. What kind of wild action could we be in store for? Another interesting thing to note is a proliferation of child actors. Is it possible we will be seeing some flashbacks? Cooper as a child? When Leland met BOB at the Summer house on Pearl Lakes? Maybe some scenes from Laura’s Secret Diary?

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Many fans wonder if Sheryl Lee will be playing neither Laura nor Maddy, but a third character, a redhead, as was allegedly planned for the potential season 3 back in 1991. It’s also up in the air as to how returning cast members with deceased characters such as Ray Wise (Leland Palmer) and Walter Olkewicz (Jacques Renault) will be written in. Will they be playing inexplicably aged ghosts? Doppelgangers? Lookalikes?

While on the subjects of deaths, there are several characters whose actors have died, forcing their exclusion in the new season, despite the importance of their characters. The Log Lady’s actress, Catherine Coulson, is known to have shot some footage before passing away in 2015, but it is unknown how much footage she was able to film, and if she was able to complete the role written for her. Jack Nance, who played Pete Martell and was a long-time collaborator with David Lynch, died in 1996 after filming Lost Highway. While Pete most likely would have been slated to survive the fateful bank explosion had the series continued in 1992, his character will most likely be written off as having died as a result of the blast. Don Davis’s character Major Garland Briggs was originally planned to play a large role in season 3, going with Sheriff Truman and the One-Armed Man to rescue Cooper from the Black Lodge. However, Davis sadly passed away in 2008 of a heart-attack. His character’s role will most likely be re-written for Bobby Briggs, who is rumored to be part of the Twin Peaks law enforcement.

One of the most hotly debated points is who will play BOB, after the death of actor Frank Silva in 1995. Some fans have speculated that BOB could be recreated using CGI, or simply recast (musician Andrew WK kindly volunteered for the role). My personal opinion has always been that BOB will be portrayed by Kyle MacLachlan, playing a fusion of Evil Dale/Killer BOB.

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The new lineup contains an array of talent, and many possibilities we can only speculate upon. One point that particularly fascinates me is the fact that the new season contains at least one actor from every David Lynch movie to date, opening the possibility of some kind of Lynchverse crossover. I have long suspected that all of Lynch’s movies are linked through the Black Lodge, and now may be the perfect time for that to come to light.

What do you think? Are you happy with the lineup? Who do you think the newcomers will play? Do you have any other speculations about the new season? Let me know in the comments below!

“Just Like a Movie Star”: The Evolution of Lynch’s “Judy”

The Many Faces of Judy?

The many faces of Judy?

Written by Eden Roquelaire for Twin Peaks Freaks.

 

Judy is an enigmatic character, and a point of extreme interest for some die-hard Twin Peaks fans. Researchers have managed to uncover her original identity as Josie Packard’s sister and Phillip Jeffries’ informant, but is Judy more than just a character cut out of Fire Walk With Me for time? There are still many unanswered questions about her: For one, why does the monkey whisper her name? And how does she know about the existence of the Black Lodge? I have a theory that may explain this, and reveal the true face, or faces, of Judy. This theory also indicates that we have actually seen Judy much more than we originally thought. Let’s start with this quote from Inland Empire:

My friend Nico, who lives in Pomona has a blonde wig. She wears it at parties. But she’s on hard drugs and turning tricks now. She looks very good in her blonde wig just like a movie star. Even girls fall in love with her when she’s looking so good in her blonde star wig. She blows kisses and waves. But she has got a hole in her vagina wall. She has torn a hole into her intestine from her vagina. She has seen a doctor, but it is too expensive. And now she knows her time has run out. She [will] score a few more times, and then, like that, she will stay at home, with her monkey. She has a pet monkey. This monkey shits everywhere, but she doesn’t care! This monkey can scream. It screams like it in a horror movie. But there are those who are good with animals; who have a way with animals.

-“Street Person #2” (Nae), Inland Empire

Right off the bat, we can say that Judy and Nico have two things in common: 1) We know very little about them, but 2) we know they are both associated with monkeys, for whatever reason. That may not be much to go on, but the monkey connection is a strange enough one to merit some further rumination.

Nico has "a way with animals," one could say.

Nico has “a way with animals,” one could say.

So, who is Nico? According to her friend, she is a woman who turned to prostitution and drugs, but because of a perforation in her vagina wall, she will now live at home, with her pet monkey. Oh, and she wears a blonde wig, which makes her look “just like a movie star.” She is so beautiful, both men and women fall in love with her. It’s difficult to tell from the only shot we get of Nico, but the actress who plays her, Masuimi Max, is of Korean descent, which makes both Nico and Judy Asian.

Monkey

The monkey that mysteriously whispers the name “Judy” in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

But who is Judy? Thanks to some very loyal Twin Peaks fans, we have more info on Judy: She’s allegedly Josie Packard’s sister, an informant and possible love interest to Phillip Jeffries, and she seems to know something about a portal to the Black Lodge that exists in Buenos Aires. Through Josie, she may also be linked to prostitution. And a monkey mysteriously whispers her name in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

But what, if anything, does this mean?

Judy was meant to be a character in Fire Walk With Me, but when the script ran long, certain parts had to be taken out. And thus, poor Judy ended up on the cutting room floor… mostly. She’s mentioned, but never seen in the film, and never discussed at length. There are many theories about Judy, and whether or not the Judy mentioned in the final film product is still meant to be Josie’s sister, or a symbol for something else. According to my theory, it’s a little bit of both. Let’s look at another character, seen briefly in Inland Empire.

Although it’s Nico who’s described as blowing kisses and laughing, she does neither when we see her in the end credits. But someone does: Laura Harring, a.k.a. Camilla Rhodes, a.k.a. Rita, from Mulholland Drive. At first this may seem meaningless… until you realize that the character of Rita looks just like movie star Rita Hayworth, and wears a blonde wig. Even women have been known to fall in love with Rita when she’s looking so good in her blonde star wig. Now, because of the manner of storytelling utilized in Mulholland Drive, analysis gets a little tricky, but Rita may also be associated with the character of Diane Selwyn; a would-be movie starlet who had to resort to prostitution and maybe even drugs when her career fails. Many fans have debated about the film, its meaning, and the story behind its characters, and there are too many theories to recount in one place, but there is one I’d like to bring up at this point, and that is the theory that Camilla Rhodes was inspired by Lynch’s former girlfriend, actress Isabella Rossellini. Both Rossellini and Camilla are “exotic” actresses with dark hair, and they both dated well-known directors (Adam Kesher, played by Justin Theroux in Mulholland Drive, seems almost like a self-written parody of Lynch). Oh and as for the blonde wig…

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That’s Rossellini in Lynch’s film Wild At Heart, which he was working on concurrent to the second season of Twin Peaks. And if this isn’t building a clear enough pattern, it is known that Rossellini was originally going to play Josie Packard.

Before Josie Packard was played by Joan Chen, Lynch had written the part, originally named Giovanna, for Rossellini. She was, of course, Italian-American as opposed to Asian-American. But when Rossellini backed out of the project, Lynch re-worked the part and cast Chen instead. And Josie, of course, according to early drafts of the Fire Walk With Me script, is Judy’s sister, and is thought to have worked as a prostitute in Hong Kong.

But what does this all mean? Where is this going? To finally complete the picture, we need to look at another Judy…

Garland?

Garland?

Lynch’s fascination for the story of The Wizard of Oz is well-known among his fans, and it has been made evident again and again in his works. The motif of a girl traveling to a strange world, full of both magic and horror, is one that Lynch emulates in almost every one of his films. Sometimes the symbolism is even more blatant, such as having a character named Dorothy wear red shoes (Blue Velvet), or having Major Garland Briggs mention Judy Garland’s name in relation to his own (Twin Peaks). Women filling the role of “Dorothy Gale” in Lynch’s works include Laura Palmer, Nikki Grace, and Diane Selwyn: But the woman who most famously portrayed the original Dorothy Gale was Judy Garland.

Judy Garland, despite her tragic life, was forever immortalized as the hopeful and naive Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz.

Judy Garland, despite her tragic life, was forever immortalized as the hopeful and naive Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz.

Garland is, in many ways, the perfect symbol of the wonder and tragedy of Hollywood, a subject that Lynch is passionate about: Born Frances Ethel Gumm, “Judy” was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer when she was only thirteen, and played the famous role of Dorothy Gale three years later. She was originally supposed to wear a blond wig for the part, but ultimately the producers decided against it. Her many years in show business were plagued with woe: She suffered various heartbreaks, including a time when MGM forced her into a divorce, and potentially pressured her into having an abortion for the sake of her career. She eventually married director Vincente Minelli, with whom she had her daughter, Liza Minelli. The stress of living always in the public eye ate away at Garland, driving her to multiple suicide attempts, stays at mental wards, and addiction to morphine, alcohol and barbiturates. “All I could see ahead was more confusion,” Garland was quoted as saying, after one of her many career disasters. At the age of 59, Garland was found dead of a barbiturate overdose. According to doctors who examined her, she was already dying of cirrhosis, and only had a matter of time, anyway.

This dark, tragic life, full of turmoil and a sense of hopelessness, is such a jarring juxtaposition to the roles she was most famous for: Happy, bright young girls, always singing and dancing and full of cheer. This telling vision of Hollywood struck a chords with Lynch, and “Judy” has been a part of his films ever since.

Let’s look at the evolution of the character: Lynch, inspired by the story of Judy Garland, creates the character Dorothy Vallens, played by Isabella Rossellini, who notably wears red shoes. He writes the role of Italian-American “Giovanna” for Rossellini, but she decides to pass up the role. The role is rewritten as Chinese-American “Josie” and goes to Joan Chen. When Rossellini is cast in Wild At Heart, a movie filled with Wizard of Oz references, Lynch consciously or subconsciously dresses her in a blonde wig, a reference to the early wardrobe plans for Garland’s Dorothy. The early drafts of Fire Walk With Me are written, featuring a character named Judy; Josie’s sister, who seems to know the secrets of other worlds, and may even know how to get into them. After multiple drafts, Judy is mostly cut from the script, but in the film we still see the blue-lit face of a monkey whispering “Judy.” After a period of tempestuous reinvention, Mulholland Drive is released as a feature film, with Laura Elena Harring playing the exotic and seductive actress Camilla Rhodes, whose alter-ego “Rita” disguises her Hayworth-esque appearance with a short blonde wig. She is so beautiful, she both men and women fall head-over-heels in love with her. Naomi Watts plays Diane Selwyn, a failed actress who resorts to prostitution and possibly drugs just to survive in Hollywood. Years later, Inland Empire tells the story of Nikki Grace, a Hollywood actress, apparently past her prime and hoping for a comeback. She eventually slips into another world, where we meet her alter-ego Sue, who is a prostitute in Hollywood, and at one time opines “All I can see from here is blue tomorrows,” a possible reference to the Judy Garland quote. She is stabbed on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, where she staggers past a partially-obscured star on the Walk of Fame: Only the name “Dorothy” is visible. She collapses next to some homeless people and hears an Asian woman (played by Japanese actress Nae) talk about her friend Nico, a drug-addicted prostitute who wears a blonde wig, so she looks “just like a movie star,” and owns a pet monkey.

After initially being inspired by the story of Judy Garland, who was born Ethel, became Dorothy on the screen, and was Judy to the public, Lynch carried the character of “Judy” with him, and, as with any character that is destined to be, she took on a life of her own: Showing the dark, seedy truth covered up by the glamor of Hollywood and its promise of fame and fortune. It is a place where magic and beauty can be made, but it is at the expense of millions who try and fail to become a part of it, and often fall into the underground world of drugs and prostitution, and those who do make it have taken hold of a double-edged sword. It is a stark balance between light and dark, horror and beauty, power and poverty, fame and obscurity, painful truths and attractive lies. “Judy” represents the glory and tragedy of life and death, and a desire to enter another world: Through death, through magic, or through movies.