In May 2022, it was announced that the sophomore season will introduce new characters and story lines as it focuses on the inspiration for the Lone Ranger.
“Known as the greatest frontier hero in American history, Reeves worked in the post-Reconstruction era as a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory, capturing over 3,000 of the most dangerous criminals without ever being wounded,” the official long line for 1883: The Bass Reeves Story read.
The news came three months after Paramount+ hinted that the “next chapter” of 1883 would be coming to the network. The sequel will be following in the footsteps of the original 1883 series, which starred Sam Elliott, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
The original Yellowstone prequel, which premiered in December 2021, told the story of how the Duttons came to own the Yellowstone Ranch land. The first and only season ended with the characters arriving in Montana. For creator Taylor Sheridan, that was the perfect way to wrap up 1883.
“I’m not someone who likes to tie everything up in a bow and explain how everyone lived happily after, or didn’t,” the Texas native told Deadline in February 2022 after the finale debuted. “I also wanted to create something you could watch and be completely enthralled and fulfilled, having never seen Yellowstone. Let it live on its own merits.”
Sheridan noted that he was looking to introduce a “close-ended” finale that allowed him to explore new territory without returning to existing content. “[It is a] peek through a different window into a different era. Again, I don’t think of any of these as spinoffs, but rather as complete stories that have common roots,” he added at the time. “My goal with the next one would be that you could never have seen 1883 or Yellowstone, and still have a fully realized experience as a viewer.”
The producer’s vision came alive not only for the audience — but for cast members as well. In March 2022, Elliot revealed that he wasn’t familiar with the Yellowstone franchise when he signed on for 1883.
“I’m not a Yellowstone fan. I don’t watch Yellowstone,” the Golden Globe nominee, who played Shea Brennan, told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast. “Yellowstone is all over this. We’re tainted by Yellowstone, which, on some level, I can’t stand. Because I think 1883 stands alone and will. Once it comes out, people are gonna say, ‘Oh, yeah — the only connection there is that it got John Dutton to Montana.'”
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