The current season of Saturday Night Live will come to an end in just a few weeks, and this season finale might be an especially sad one because there are reports that fan-favorite cast member Kate McKinnon may be saying goodbye to the sketch series. McKinnon has been a mainstay on SNL for the past seven years, but her contract is about to come to an end, according to Variety, and she has a long list of major projects outside the show. So, is Kate McKinnon leaving SNL? It sounds like it is a major possibility.
Apparently, Kate McKinnon is currently working out the logistics on whether she will renew her contracts with Saturday Night Live after its currently airing Season 44, according to Variety's sources. Since there are only three episodes left in Season 44, with the Paul Rudd-hosted finale slated to air on May 18, that means McKinnon's potential farewell could be happening much sooner than anyone thought.
The timing does seem to be right for Kate McKinnon to potentially part ways with Saturday Night Live. The seven-year mark seems to be around the right time to say goodbye for some of Saturday Night Live's modern success stories. Will Ferrell, Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg, and Kristen Wiig all left the show after having starred on it for seven seasons and went on to become even bigger stars. Other breakout stars from the modern SNL era who also left close to the seven-year mark include Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon (who were both on the show for six years), and Amy Poehler, who left after her eighth season.
Kate McKinnon has already used her breakout role on the series to successfully transition into becoming one of the most in-demand comic actors. In recent years, McKinnon has starred in a string of big-budget movies, such as Ghostbusters, Rough Night, and The Spy Who Dumped Me. And she has two more major projects coming down the pipe this year: the Beatles-themed musical comedy Yesterday and the buzzed-about Fox News biopic Fair and Balanced. On top of that, she will also be top-lining Hulu's upcoming Elizabeth Holmes series The Dropout, on which she will also be an executive producer.
But what could a potential departure mean for Kate McKinnon's wide swath of characters and impressions? According to Variety's report, SNL and McKinnon are working out a way where she may still appear on some episodes without being in the cast anymore if she decides to leave. This is most likely a reference to the number of topical political impression that McKinnon does for the show, mostly within the cold open, which include: Hillary Clinton, Jeff Sessions, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, and Rudy Giuliani.
As of right now, nothing is official, so fans will just have to keep tuning into Saturday Night Live over the next few weeks to see if Kate McKinnon drops any big news, and of course, to enjoy what could potentially be her final few sketches as a cast member on the show. The final three episodes of Saturday Night Live's Season 44 will air over the next three Saturdays, with Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson, and Paul Rudd as hosts.