SNL Cast Shake-Up Ahead? McKinnon, Davidson and Strong Spark Speculation About Exits in Season 46 Finale

SNL Season 46 Finale Cold Open

Key moments from this weekend’s Saturday Night Live finale have sparked online speculation that a huge cast shake-up could be just around the corner.

During the Anya Taylor-Joy-hosted episode (watch the cold open here), viewers hit social media questioning whether three of its mainstay cast members — Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong and Pete Davidson — were indeed moving on.

In Saturday’s Weekend Update segment (view clips embedded below), Davidson thanked viewers for watching him grow up on the show. “The pandemic has taught me that we never really know what the future holds. It’s also taught me to be grateful,” he said. Then, Strong came out as Judge Jeanine to perform a rendition of “My Way,” the Sinatra standard oft regarded as an almost defiant declaration of independence.

As for McKinnon, the comedian teared up during the cold open, reflecting on this most surreal year and referring to the SNL cast as her “family.”

SNL typically does not hammer out new contracts (or not) until late summer.

Davidson, who in recent years has disappeared for episodes at a time to tackle outside projects (including The King of Staten Island and The Suicide Squad), said in February 2020 that while he may be ready to leave, he is “happy to be there as long as Lorne likes me.”

McKinnon, in a recent interview for Variety’s Power of Women in Comedy issue, indicated she was ready to leave, but hedged, “It’s April. It’s early, and I really love working there, and I really love everyone who works there, so we will see.”

As for Strong, she last year took time to shoot the Apple TV+ musical comedy Schmigadoon (opposite Keegan-Michael Key and Alan Cumming), but has not recently commented on her SNL longevity.

Other veteran cast members have also commented recently about their potential futures with the long-running sketch series. Colin Jost, who has been hosting the Weekend Update segments with Michael Che since 2014, said in his 2020 memoir A Very Punchable Face that he was “preparing mentally” to part ways with the show after this presidential election-heavy season. As for Che, who recently launched a new, eponymous HBO Max series, he told The View just last week that he is “99.9 percent sure” he will return to SNL this fall.

Aidy Bryant, whose “side” gig, Hulu’s Shrill, recently released its third and final season, just weeks ago said of her SNL future, “I don’t know. I really don’t know. And I kind of keep thinking I’ll have a moment of clarity where I feel like OK, it’s the time, or no, I need to stay. And I haven’t quite had that moment yet.”

Kenan Thompson, the longest-running cast member in SNL history, just wrapped his 18th year with the show — but told Tamron Hall this spring, “I would like to get to 20 [years], because I’m so close to it.”

Did Saturday’s season finale feel like a swan song for McKinnon, Strong and Davidson? And what did you think about the Anya Taylor-Joy-hosted episode? Grade it below, then sound off in the Comments!