Arriving hot off the heels of the stacked guest-host lineup for Saturday Night Live season 45—including the return of Eddie Murphy after 35 years, extremely joke-free 44th-anniversary appearance notwithstanding—comes a bit of a bummer. Much-beloved cast member Leslie Jones will not return for season 45, EW reports, choosing to focus instead on her burgeoning film career.
Hired as a writer in 2013, Jones first popped up on-screen as the center of a particularly controversial “Weekend Update” bit. Undeterred, the comedian officially joined the cast as a featured player in October of 2014. Since then, she nabbed two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2017 and 2018, but also appeared in this digital short with Kyle Mooney that I think about at least once a week.
Jones’ first major foray on to the big screen came in 2016 with her lead role in Paul Feig‘s Ghostbusters reboot. She is, in fact, looking at a mighty busy schedule in the next few years. Jones is currently filming director Craig Brewer‘s Coming to America sequel alongside Murphy, James Earl Jones, and Weslie Snipes, with also I Am Maurice with Chris Rock and Queenpins with Kristen Bell coming down the pipeline.
So far, Jones is the only major cast member not returning for season 45. Perennial MVP Kate McKinnon was recently confirmed to return, as was Kenan Thompson, who will still be appearing on Saturday Night Live long after nuclear war wipes us from the face of the planet.
Saturday Night Live season 45 kicks off September 28 with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish.