Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah, Jon Rudnitsky leaving Saturday Night Live

Big changes are coming up for SNL, as popular regulars Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam are leaving, alongside featured performer Jon Rudnitsky

The departure of Killam and Pharoah – both of whom are well-known and versatile cast members – has come as a surprise to many fans.

WATCH: Some of Jay Pharoah’s best impressions

Killam and Pharoah both had one year left on their contracts, and were expected to play a prominent role in upcoming SNL Election skits.

Pharoah played President Obama, while Killam had played both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

WATCH: Killam as Trump

With Killam and Pharoah gone, there will be big shoes to fill for the Election skits.

Pharoah and Killam aren’t leaving voluntarily

Since they both have another year on their contracts, the departure of Killam and Pharoah ahead of the upcoming SNL season implies they didn’t want to leave.

Killam said as much in an interview with Mike Ryan from Uproxx: “You sign for seven years, so I had one more year,” said Killam. “I had sort of had it in my head I would make this upcoming year my last year, but then heard they weren’t going to pick up my contract. I was never given a reason why, really.”

Representatives of Pharoah have yet to comment.

A big loss to SNL

As a fan of the show, the loss of Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah is disappointing. Both were highly entertaining and have a wide skill-set. While it will be interesting to see what the new SNL cast members bring to the table, Pharoah and Killam will be widely missed.

Read more about the departure of Pharoah, Killam, and Rudnistsky