Believe it or not, it's that time again. Season 43 of Saturday Night Live is coming to an end, and it's been one hell of a ride. The increasingly outrageous political climate that first gave life to Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump impersonation in Season 42 led to the creation of characters for his cohort — Cecily Strong as Melania Trump, Kate McKinnon as Jeff Sessions, the list goes on — and they have starred in the bulk of this season's politically-charged sketches that are sure to go down in the show's history. With such a legendary season on the books, fans can only wonder, who will remain in the cast of SNL Season 44?
From seasoned veterans to comedic newbies, the show is known to feature a variety of them all. After the abrupt departures of Vanessa Bayer, Sasheer Zamata, and Bobby Moynihan last season, casting brought on three new featured players, Heidi Gardner, Luke Null, and Chris Redd. The three have a mixed bag of experiences — Gardner made the cross-country move from L.A. to join the cast, Null was born and raised in Cincinnati but did improv performances in Chicago, and Redd is a known and experienced actor and comedian.
NBC has yet to release an official lineup for the season to come, and it's hard to make a 100 percent accurate forecast based on past casting decisions because so many different variables play a part, and there are often some big surprises. Nonetheless, fans of the show have already begun to conspire and make predictions about what to expect in Season 44 based on the current cast, so let's start there.
Colin Jost & Michael Che
This pair of "Weekend Update" anchors seem to be going strong, and needless to say, there definitely isn't a lack of current events for them to cover and razz on week after week. It would be silly for them not to continue the hilarious dynamic they have built throughout Season 43.
The SNL enthusiasts of Reddit have spoken, and they seem to agree that although his roles were a bit more subdued than usual toward the end of this season, Bennett isn't going anywhere.
Bryant is finishing her sixth season as a member of the SNL cast, and she continues to master the characters she is given with hilarity. Although the show would probably do good to keep her on, her career elsewhere is flourishing (read: her featured roles in recent films The Big Sick and I Feel Pretty) so it's possible that she could be ready to move on.
After spending part of Season 42 in rehab for his addiction and mental health issues, Davidson was welcomed back to the SNL set with open arms. Here's hoping his recovery has only made him stronger.
People speculated that Jones wouldn't return to Season 43 in anticipation of her breakout movie career via her starring role in the Ghostbusters reboot, but she still came back. It seems as though Jones will be sticking around at SNL, whether that's on set, in the writers room, or both.
I don't know about you, but after Season 43, I can't picture Saturday nights without seeing McKinnon playing Jeff Sessions. She's definitely a staple cast member right now, and I don't think SNL is ready to let her go.
Strong has been an incredible female lead since joining the cast of SNL in 2012. Now that she portrays FLOTUS Melania, she needs to stick around for at least the next three years.
It's no secret that Thompson has made history in his role on SNL. After breaking the record for longest standing cast member with a 15-season tenure, it may finally be time for him to pass down his comedic staff.
Day is still relatively new to the SNL stage, and has succeeded in his satirical portrayal of both Donald Trump Jr. and Secretary of State Paul Ryan. He could very well find himself in the seat of a repertory player next season.
New to SNL on Season 43, Gardner has not failed to impress audiences with performances driven by her stark humor. I can definitely see her rising to the top as more veteran women of the show begin moving on to next steps in their careers.
Redditors also seem to agree that Moffat had a knockout Season 43, and many are sure he's bound to be promoted to the repertory cast.
Null seemed to achieve the opposite of standing out this season, lacking memorable roles and sketches, which could mean that producers don't trust him with them. He could be on the chopping block at this season's end.
Redd came into SNL as a successful comedian already, and it shows. Now that he has a strong first season under his belt, there's no telling how much more of a factor he'll be he will become in future episodes.
As of right now, writers haven't given her much opportunity to show audiences what she's got. Hopefully it's not too late and Villaseñor is given another chance to shine on Season 44.
Of course, whether or not Saturday Night Live welcomes any fresh faces depends on if they decide to cut anyone or if anyone ultimately parts ways with the show. Only time will tell everyone's fate, but regardless, fans can still look forward to more laughter-filled Saturday nights come this fall.