When Saturday Night Live Returns Next Season, There Could Be Some Cast Shakeups

Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Sadly, it's about that time of year. Saturday Night Live is about to take its final bow, and we'll all have to go a few months without any Weekend Updates or musical monologues. So when does SNL return for Season 44?

It's going to be a long summer, folks. Saturday Night Live has made a habit of returning to TV in either mid-to-late September or early October in the past. There hasn't been a formal announcement on a Season 44 premiere date, but that's about the time period fans can expect it the show to return. The show did make a reappearance during last summer's hiatus, though, for a few summer editions of Michael Che and Colin Jost's Weekend Update banter, but there's been no word on if that'll continue in the summer of 2018.

It wouldn't be a big surprise if the show chose to go that route, though — given the fact that there's a new political scandal every other hour in the current administration, they'd be passing up a lot of material if Saturday Night Live went for months of full radio silence. But until the time comes, we'll just have to wait and see what the show chooses to do with that possibility.

There also haven't been any announcements yet as far as any cast shake-ups. It's typical for SNL to use these between-season breaks to reveal which featured players are being upgraded to full-fledged cast members, and usually any info on cast departures comes to light before the season finale. The lack of concrete information hasn't stopped fans from speculating on the show's future, and who from the cast will continue on into future seasons.

Part of the uncertainty is due to the fact that several of this season's cast members have promising careers outside of Saturday Night Live. Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon hit it big with the Ghostbusters reboot, and Aidy Bryant appeared in The Big Sick. Any cast member who's had a good run could potentially comfortably leave the show in favor of bigger and better things. "Leslie Jones is 50, and live sketch comedy isn’t necessarily the best forum for her to demonstrate her talents," one Reddit user, FlingbatMagoo, wrote. "If TV or film opportunities are knocking, she may want to pursue those since they’d be more lucrative and she may not want to have to work through her 60s or 70s in order to retire comfortably."

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And as some pointed out, even fan favorites who don't necessarily have some huge project lined up could peace out with little notice. "Unfortunately any of the main cast could leave at any time, as we found with Bobby [Moynihan], Vanessa [Bayer] and Sasheer [Zamata], so I try not to make any guesses on those," wrote user illimist.

And of course, there are some featured players who have been killing it this season, and could be poised for a promotion — Heidi Gardner has solidified several Weekend Update characters, which is more than many cast members could say in the same short time on the show, and Chris Redd has been solid in sketches all season long. Even Luke Null, who's lacked the same amount of screen time (which isn't unheard of among new additions), has made a splash when he's gotten the opportunity.

Any other potential shakeups remain unclear. Kenan Thompson, the current longest standing current cast member, seems like he's not going anywhere, and Che and Jost have found their stride with Weekend Update, and it's unlikely the show would want to mess with that groove. Mikey Day, Alex Moffat, Beck Bennett, and Cecily Strong all feel integral to the show's fabric at this point, too, and if wonderfully weird oddballs like Pete Davidson and Kyle Mooney leave, I will riot without hesitation. But for now, we wait.