It’s no secret that Taylor Sheridan struck gold with Yellowstone, as it has quickly become the most popular TV series in America.
With that being said, Sheridan sat down for an interview with Variety recently, to discuss how he made the magic happen with the show.
He admitted that location played a huge key in writing Yellowstone:
“For me, a sense of place is so incredibly important. When I wrote ‘Yellowstone,’ I went to Montana. Now, I lived up in that area for many, many years, so I knew it very well.”
His lifestyle growing up also played a role in writing Yellowstone, as he grew up on a ranch in Cranfills Gap, Texas, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting. Nowadays, he’s a part owner of the iconic Four Sixes Ranch out in West Texas, the setting for another spinoff series from the Yellowstone universe.
And while Taylor Sheridan will be capitalizing on his own success, so will other networks.
Since the show’s release in 2018, we’ve seen a large increase in the number of western shows, like the Walker, Texas Ranger reboot last year, and Amazon’s debut western Outer Range and plenty more are on the horizon.
But Sheridan is convinced that it isn’t about Yellowstone the show that’s bringing out the copycats, it’s about the numbers.
“So I don’t know that it’s flattering, because I don’t think they’re doing it because ‘Yellowstone’ is good. They’re doing it because 15 million people watch it.
And they’re like: ‘A lot of people watch Westerns. Let’s make Westerns.’”
Sheridan also discussed how his upbringing wasn’t his only inspiration for westerns, but also the shows and movies he consumed growing up.
And a central theme of life in the American West… hardship.
He also spoke about how his intentions for the show were to expose a number of the hardships, and lifestyles of those in Middle America, an area that often gets forgotten about:
“Our job as artists is to hold a mirror up to the world and let people see the reflection, to teach them about a part of life and human experience that they may not be aware of.
Whenever we’re ignorant of something, then typically we fear it, or we judge it, or we dislike it. And it’s the job of all artists, I think, to try and find these little pockets of the world and show some humanity.”
There are several factors that have led to the success of Yellowstone, but Sheridan could have never fathomed where this show would take him when first started.
Needless to say, he’s pretty content with his kind of filmmaking, and jokes that if he wants to keep doing it, he should make sure he keeps filming miles and miles away from the nearest Starbucks:
“I think that if I ever decide to make things in a place that network executives would actually visit, a lot of this would probably stop.
As long as I stay way the heck out… far from a Starbucks or paved roads… I’m pretty good.”
Season 5 of Yellowstone premieres this Sunday, November 13th on Paramount Network.
Additionally, Sheridan also has the next prequel series, 1923 coming in December, as well as the upcoming present day spinoff, 6666, and possibly two more set in the ’40s and ’60s.
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Yellowstone Creator Taylor Sheridan Explains Why ‘1883’ Is Only One Season
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, is officially in the books.
Granted, there will be some bonus episodes coming in the future, perhaps something to bridge the gap a little between 1883 and the upcoming series 1932, but for all intents and purposes there will not be a second season of 1883.
Yellowstone producer David Glasser confirmed 1883 was one and done, and that 1932 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 1932 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.