'SNL' 2021 Cast Lineup: The Newcomers and the Returning Stars for Season 47

Saturday Night Live returns for Season 47 on October 2, 2021 with three new additions to one of the most famous casts on television.

One long-time cast member, Beck Bennett, has departed SNL before the upcoming season while featured player Lauren Holt also left after just one season.

Owen Wilson is due to host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live with Kim Kardashian, Rami Malek and Jason Sudeikis hosting in the weeks to follow.

Who Are the New 'SNL' Cast Members?

Aristotle Athari

Athari is an actor and director who'll be best recognized for his role in Silicon Valley. He played the infuriating Gabe, a constant thorn in the side of Dinesh Chugtai.

He has also previously performed stand-up for Comedy Central and appeared in sketch comedy with Hasan Minhaj in Goatface: A Comedy Special.

James Austin Johnson

Johnson is a comedian who looks set to bring a collection of impressions and characters to Season 47 of Saturday Night Live. On Instagram he showcases his Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Elliott, Donald Trump, Nick Drake, Adam Driver and Michael Rapaport impersonations.

He's had small parts in a number of movies and TV shows like Hail, Caesar!, Future Man and a voiceover role in Tuca & Bertie.

Sarah Sherman

Sherman has performed stand-up shows under the stage name Sarah Squirm and is known for her surrealist humor. She often performs in bright colorful clothes while her comedy has dark, often bloody undertones.

Sharing the news of her addition to the cast on her own Instagram account, Sherman said "SNL just made a HUGE MISTAKE!!" followed by a bunch of emojis.

Returning Repertory Players

As mentioned, Bennett is the only regular performer not returning to Saturday Night Live for Season 47. Despite speculation suggesting she was leaving, Cecily Strong is returning for another year.

Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Kenan Thompson are the fan favorites who are definitely returning despite having their own futures in doubt too.

Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd and Melissa Villaseñor will all return as well. Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman have been promoted from featured players to repertory cast members for the upcoming season.

Michael Che and Colin Jost will also be back behind the Weekend Update desk.

Bennett announced he was leaving SNL after eight years with an Instagram post sharing 10 memories from his time working at Studio 8H.

Returning Featured Players

Punkie Johnson and Andrew Dismukes will return for a second season, joining newcomers Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson and Sarah Sherman as featured players.

Lauren Holt will not be returning despite being part of the Season 46 cast.

'Saturday Night Live' Season 47 Writing Staff

SNL have also added 10 new writers to the staff, according to Vulture. The new talent joining the writing room includes Mike DiCenzo, Billy Domineau, Alex English, Martin Herlihy, John Higgins, Vannessa Jackson, Tesha Kondrat, Ben Marshall, Jake Nordwind, and Ben Silva.

Che, Jost, Anna Drezen and Kent Sublette will continue to serve as Saturday Night Live's head writers.

Saturday Night Live Season 47 begins on October 2 at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Owen Wilson is hosting with Kacey Musgraves performing as the musical guest.

Saturday Night Live cast and writers
Lorne Michaels stands in front of the cast and writers of Saturday Night Live at the 2019 Emmy Awards in California. Dan MacMedan/WireImage