Recently it was revealed that the upcoming Twin Peaks 'Complete Mystery' dvd box set was to have included a third season graphic novel illustrated by acclaimed artist Matt Haley and written by Twin Peaks producer and story editor Bob Engels. The project got dropped. Why? We asked Matt...
Twin Peaks Archive: When did you first get into Twin Peaks?
Matt Haley: When it first aired, I can't recall if I saw the first broadcast episode, but it was definitely the 2nd or 3rd.
Twin Peaks Archive: Were you a fan of David Lynch before Twin Peaks?
Matt Haley: I was looking for something unusual, and I think I had already seen DUNE, so I knew of Lynch's works, though I didn't see ERASERHEAD until much, much later. It just grabbed me in a visceral place, I can't describe the appeal. Something about the genuine quality of the actors he cast and the characters they were portraying, especially Ray Wise and Michael Ontkean, I just got sucked into watching Twin Peaks religiously, and was a bit crushed when the show ended without resolving the storyline.
Twin Peaks Archive: When did you first get the idea to do a graphic novel/season 3 story?
Matt Haley: Round about the time the first season DVD set came out, I rightly surmised they would be creating a boxed set of the entire show. I kept thinking, "Wouldn't it be cool if somebody did a '3rd season" graphic novel to coincide with the DVD set, which became "Well, why don't I do it?", so last September or so I started calling and e-mailing people I knew, asking idly if they knew what the rights situation was. I wasn't really taking it seriously, it was just kind of a fun intellectual exercise that grew out of control. I finally got in touch with the right people at CBS/Paramount, specifically Paula Block, whom it turned out I had worked with on my very first comic project, "Star Trek" for DC Comics. She found out that they did indeed have the rights to do a Twin Peaks comic, but warned me up front that there was a 'trail of broken hearts' where Twin Peaks licensed products was concerned. Once I realized there was a chance of actually doing this, I understood I couldn't do a Twin Peaks comic and just write it and put my name on it, as fans would want one written by somebody connected with the show, and Bob Engels (co-producer and executive story editor of the series) seemed a logical choice to write it, so I contacted him and he said if I could secure Lynch and Frost's blessing, he would write the graphic novel.
From there, I got in touch with various people involved with the tv series, including Angelo Badalamenti and Sheryl Lee, and finally Mark Frost, and they all seemed to think it was a good idea. Mark in particular told me Lynch probably wouldn't go for it, but that he had my blessing to proceed. Apparently, when they sold Twin Peaks to ABC, they were given unprecedented creative control over the series, so while they do not technically own Twin Peaks, they both have veto power over any projects related to it. Then, I secured an agreement from Top Shelf to print the book, and then Paramount Home Entertainment, including Ryan Adams who is the actual DVD producer, to agree to package the book with the set. So really, everything was sort of magically falling into place, and it seemed that suddenly I had this project that was bringing itself to life.
Twin Peaks Archive: Did you have any thoughts or wishes about where the storyline would have gone? Or, were you interested more in the visual side of things? Can you tell us anything about what may have been written by Bob or yourself or considered about the proposed season 3?
Matt Haley: Bob and I had a number of discussions about what the story would be, I was keen to use whatever notes they had for the proposed third season, I really wanted this to be a literal '3rd season' of the show. Bob told me they really wanted to get away from the high school setting, so after the resolution of the Cooper-BOB-possession plot point, they would have cut to something like "Ten Years Later", and then shown us a Twin Peaks where Cooper had quit the FBI and had become the town pharmacist, Sheriff Truman had become a recluse, etc. He also mentioned they were going to have Sheryl Lee come back yet again, this time as a redhead, and probably have her character killed by BOB again. There were also some vague ideas about BOB and Mike being from a planet made of creamed corn, something about Truman driving Mike backwards through the portal into the Black Lodge (which I think would have been a really nice cinematic scene).
Twin Peaks Archive: Why did the project fall through?
Matt Haley: Honestly, I sent the proposal and the art to Lynch's assistant Jay, and when Jay showed it to David, I was told "While David respects the artwork and the effort put into this project, he just does not want to continue the story of Twin Peaks in any way." That's it, and again, I was warned. I don't hold it against Lynch, I mean, I was playing with his toys, but I was kind of hoping that if I had all my ducks in a row he might just say "go ahead". So really, it was just Lynch deciding not to continue the story and I have to respect that, as an artist. I think he probably likes the idea of not resolving the story, and I have to admit, so do I.
Twin Peaks Archive: Is the project completely dead? Many fans have wished for a graphic novel continuation of the Twin Peaks storyline. Based on your artwork, you seem to be the perfect choice for such a project...
Matt Haley: That's very kind, but I don't know if there's a real point to going after it, as it made financial sense to include the book with the DVD set, we would have had at least 100,000 copies in print. To try to convince Lynch would only make him more reticent, and I'm leery of pushing it. It's his and Frost's creation, I can't just come along and horn in on their baby, you know? I would love to meet Lynch face-to-face and maybe mention it, but... it's hard to know how to proceed. If anybody has any ideas...! I'd still dearly love to do it, and Bob seems interested as well, so who knows?
Twin Peaks Archive: What's next for you?
Matt Haley: Well, I'm back doing the art for Stan Lee's "Who Wants To Be A Superhero", we just started our second season on the SciFi Channel, Thursdays at 9pm, and we have 8 episodes. I create the comic panels for the show, whenever our contestants first appear, or get their new costumes, or when we cut to commercial, etc. I'm also back creating new issues of "G.I. SPY" with "Eureka" tv series creator Andy Cosby for BOOM! Studios, as well as doing a how-to draw manga aimed at girls which will be out from Cico Books UK fall of 2008. I also designed all the characters for an XBOX 360 game called "Codename: Liberty Rocket" which I think will be out this winter. There's some other fun stuff on the horizon, but right now I'm thankful to be so busy!
TPA cannot thank Matt enough for taking time out of his very busy schedule to talk to us! We urge everybody to check out his website!