The Yellowstone prequel series 1883, our first chronological look at the Dutton family and how they made their way from Texas, to settle in the great state of Montana, was a visual masterpiece, with a phenomenal cast… and of course, a wonderful supplement for Yellowstone fans.
The six-part series will star David Oyelowo as Reeves, a legendary lawman of the wild west, who’s known as one of the greatest frontier heroes in American history, and is believed to be the inspiration behind The Lone Ranger.
Reeves worked as a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory during the post-reconstruction era, capturing more than 3,000 of the most dangerous criminals of that time period, without ever being wounded.
Yellowstone producer David Glasser confirmed 1883 was one and done, and that 1923 will essentially serve as the “second season,” or next chapter in the story, but now, the genius behind the story himself is weighing in as well.
The busiest man in television sat down with Deadline to discuss the Season finale of 1883, crafting the Dutton story, why he chose to tell the story this way, and more.
But much like Glasser, Sheridan confirmed that there will not be a second season of 1883, and that all of these prequel series are designed to give you a small peak back in time…. not the entire story from beginning to end:
“I created this peek through time to show you this one specific journey. I’m not someone who likes to tie everything up in a bow and explain how everyone lived happily after, or didn’t.
I’d rather you imagine it, and wonder what Thomas and Noemi made of their lives. You never get to see how James and Margaret move on. You did seem them in a flashback as having moved on, and so that’s what I cared to explore. On to the next peek through the window.
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. Yes for those fans of ‘Yellowstone,’ there are some real Easter eggs and understanding you can take away from that, that informs the way you watch Yellowstone.
I like that model. For me, as a storyteller it feels close ended. I’m going to peek through the window of a different era and see what I see then.”
1883 was one peek through time in the Dutton story, and 1923 will be the next peek through time at the Dutton story.
So for Sheridan, while it’s technically a spinoff since it points back towards his flagship series, Yellowstone, he likes to tell stories that can stand on their own.
If you’ve seen 1883, you understand why:
“Yeah, 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.
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.”
And as far as Elsa (Isabel May) and Shea (Sam Elliott), and the death and destruction from the Season Finale goes, Sheridan says it was all part of the plan… a plan that he shared with all of us in the very first episode:
“The goal with 1883, I wanted to tell this really abstract odd structured story. If you were paying attention, I tell you exactly what was going to happen, in the first scene of the first episode to Elsa and Shea.
And then hopefully made you fall in love with the world, and forget that stuff, and play with your expectations that there’s no way what I’ve already told you could actually happen.
To play with structure that way, felt like a new rollercoaster ride for an audience, and hopefully a really reflective and beautiful one. We wanted to make a ten-hour movie that ended, and that’s what we did.
A rollercoaster indeed, and play with your expectations? Definitely…
Ultimately, 1883 was the beautiful, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking miniseries that many of us hoped it would be. Some might even argue that it’s better than Yellowstone.
But if one thing is clear, this is just the beginning of the Dutton story.