This season of Saturday Night Live has been a roller coaster, and now that it’s over, fans are starting to worry that some beloved cast members may have taken their final ride. After some surprisingly emotional moments during the cold open and “Weekend Update” segments of Season 46’s finale, there’s been a lot of speculation that several of SNL’s longtime faves won’t be back next season. Most notably, a heartfelt signoff had viewers asking if Pete Davison is leaving SNL, and there were also moments that made fans wonder about Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon’s futures with the show.
SNL’s Season 46 finale, which aired on Saturday, May 22, brought tons of laughs courtesy of host Anya Taylor-Joy and some iconic moments thanks to musical guest Lil Nas X. But the show actually kicked off on a more emotional note, as the whole cast reflected on their whirlwind year. From filming at-home episodes due to the coronavirus pandemic to covering the heated presidential election, it really is hard to believe so much has happened during one season of television.
The cast was split up into small groups for the cold open, with the longest-lasting cast members (Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Cecily Strong) taking center stage. The grouping felt notable to viewers, as did McKinnon and Strong’s tearful response to calling the cast their family toward the end of the segment.
McKinnon’s emotional response, in particular, caused fans to wonder whether Season 46’s finale would be her final SNL episode, especially since there have been rumors about her potential exit in recent years. As for Strong, she spurred on more speculation that she could be bidding SNL farewell later on in the show when she reprised her fan-favorite impression of Jeanine Pirro on “Weekend Update.” Strong went all-out with a show-stopping performance of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” that felt like a fitting farewell performance for the star.
But it was Pete Davidson who seemed to most heavily hint he may not return for Season 47. The breakout star ended his “Weekend Update” segment by thanking the SNL audience for watching him over the years. “The pandemic has taught me that we never really know what the future holds. It’s also taught me to be grateful,” Davidson said. “I’m very grateful to be here and it has been an honor to grow up in front of you guys. So, thanks.”
The uncharacteristically earnest signoff felt like Davidson may have been saying his final goodbyes to the show. Since it is still a bit too early for SNL to finalize contracts for Season 47, there’s no real news yet on if Davidson, Strong, or McKinnon will be back or not, but after those moments in the Season 46 finale, it’s safe to say fans may have to say goodbye to some of their faves.