SNL watchers are distressed after the season finale implied that one or more of the show's seasoned cast members might be leaving. The episode had a few hints that stars like Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Colin Jost, Beck Bennett, Pete Davidson, Melissa Villaseñor and/or Kenan Thompson might be leaving. While no Saturday Night Live exits have been made official, fans are worried some of these long-running stars are done.
SNL kicked off with a surprisingly somber cold open for its Season 46 finale, with the cast members joking mildly about the COVID-19 pandemic in retrospect. Based on how emotional they were, many fans thought that one of them might be saying goodbye forever — particularly Thompson, Bryant, McKinnon and Strong who stood arm-in-arm. Strong's over-the-top performance on "Weekend Update" later in the night raised suspicions as well, and during his own "Weekend Update" monologue, Davidson's final line seemed suggestive too.
"It's been an honor to grow up in front of you guys, thanks," he said. The last major concrete hint that someone is leaving was from Melissa Villaseñor, who posted about leaving the show on social media but quickly deleted it. However, since the speculation is running so rampant, fans are now worried about every cast member.
These days, Thompson, Bryant and McKinnon all have big projects to work on outside of SNL, so it would be no surprise if they needed to take a step back. Still, fans will clearly be heartbroken. Here's a look at their conversations and theories about possible departures from the cast this year.
if cecily strong is leaving snl... pic.twitter.com/rVuQ7ZWYjj— mina (@bacaIIme) May 23, 2021
Strong seemed like the strongest candidate for leaving the show, and she also had the most die-hard fans mourning for her. So far, there has been no official word.prevnext
snl stans grasping at straws trying to figure out who’s leaving because snl won’t tell us pic.twitter.com/NrtsT8p0Jd— loo🤺/ SNL FINALE :( !! (@moldycheezit) May 23, 2021
IS PETE LEAVING SNL ??&;&;&; JUST TELL ME STRAIGHT UP pic.twitter.com/7lQnN6DaMa— haley stark✪ (@tokyohrrysgf) May 23, 2021
Fans admit that they sound a little insane connecting all the dots to try to figure out if anyone is leaving, and if so who. Some complained that the producers should just announce it, though usually casting decisions take place closer to the next season premiere after contracts have been negotiated.prevnext
i’m not ready to find out who’s leaving snl pic.twitter.com/jFU68oAJ1W— mia (she/her) 🇪🇪 (@miaeau) May 23, 2021
Some fans had conflicted feelings about possible SNL departures, feeling on one hand that they weren't prepared for such an announcement, but on the other that they couldn't look away from the latest updates.prevnext
me: colin might be leaving snl
my grandma: aww
me: kate mckinnon too
my grandma: the lesbian? oh my god...— roman | 7 days (@snlmulaneys) May 23, 2021
With many different rumors circulating, fans joked about how differently they would feel depending on which cast member left the show. Many said they would not be sad to see Jost go.prevnext
me trying to see who’s gonna be leaving snl based on the hugs pic.twitter.com/aPAT66C9aX— monica. (@shrillmonger) May 23, 2021
wh-what if they’re all holding colin because he’s leaving... pic.twitter.com/FfiS9pkzY3— eden ⚢ FINALE DAY!! (@snl_swaggy) May 22, 2021
Once all the straightforward hints had been accounted for, fans resorted to minute details such as which cast members got the most hugs in the ending credits to determine if they were leaving.prevnext
GUYS KENAN SAID ON AN INSTA LIVESTREAM HE ISNT LEAVING SNL FOR ANOTHER COUPLE YEARS STOP SCARING ME!!!— shannon | ME AND EVIE DAY! (@reddmoffat) May 23, 2021
all the snl cast members do are say they are leaving and then be like jk! it’s exhausting pic.twitter.com/4fV0L99jKS— brianna (@mckinnonsblunt) May 22, 2021
For every hint that a cast member was leaving, there was evidence that they were staying as well. Fans used it to reassure one another or to try to temper the heated discourse among their friends.prevnext
Looks like we'll be waiting for future announcements in the forms of tweets/articles or interviews about who is leaving SNL officially.
Until then, I'm wishing the best for Pete Davidson regardless of his plans. I hope whatever he does, it makes him happy. 🖤— MGK & Pete gifs (@mgkandpetegifs) May 23, 2021
Kyle Mooney might be leaving SNL but you know what if he does at least he got to be Jesus— arielle (mrs freaky magoo) (@jesterbestie) May 23, 2021
By Sunday morning, some fans had admitted defeat and accepted that they would not get a concrete answer on their questions any time soon. You can stream the SNL season finale on Hulu now, with a free trial available here.