Amid all the pomp and circumstance of Super Bowl LV, one good thing did come from all that: the teaser for Y: 1883. The hit Paramount series Yellowstone is getting its first spinoff, which will debut on the Paramount+ streaming service.
Y: 1883 comes from the mind of Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee and Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan. The announcement of this new spinoff came included in a statement from Paramount, where the company announced an extension to the relationship they have with Sheridan. This will include exclusive multi-platform content that Sheridan will create for the Paramount Network, Paramount+, CBS, and other ViacomCBS brands.
With Y: 1883, Sheridan and Paramount are hoping to cash in on the overwhelming success Yellowstone has given the Paramount network for the past three seasons. The new show, as described by the network’s release, “follows the Dutton family as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America. It is a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised land — Montana.”
The ten-second teaser made no mention of stars, didn’t show any faces, and simply showed a snow-covered mountain and a fence post, which when it comes into focus read “Y 1883.” A voice could be heard over the wind, “I don’t care if you live or die, but should you live, you tell ’em about me.”
Going back to the beginning may finally allow fans of Yellowstone an understanding as to why John Dutton (Kevin Costner) continues to fight so hard to keep his family’s land. It could be said that the first three seasons of Yellowstone has, in some way, been devised for the exact purpose of the prequel. The Duttons have been fighting from day one of the series to hold on to their land, an effort becoming more tenuous as the seasons unfold.
This ongoing battle against the forces that be came to a head over the last few episodes of Yellowstone‘s third and most recent season, when the Dutton family was given an ultimatum by Roarke Morris (Josh Holloway) and Willa Hayes (Karen Pittman), when they told the Duttons to either sell the land to them for $500 million or lose the land in the next few years with nothing in return.
Other than the released statement, nothing is known about the upcoming prequel and Taylor Sheridan hasn’t given away anything about what to expect with the new series. Though virtually nothing is known about Y: 1883, one can hazard a guess that the Duttons of this time period are not the influential ones we see today. Making their trek across the Great Plains to eventually settle in Montana – next to the famous Yellowstone National Park, which was established in 1872 – the Duttons will not only have to face the harsh elements but also those who run the land. The power struggle will be interesting to watch as the Duttons look to claim the land as their own.
Interestingly, when Yellowstone was first conceived, Taylor Sheridan didn’t intend for it to be a TV series. Kevin Costner himself took convincing after it changed from a movie to series, knowing the commitment to a TV series would be very time-consuming. Costner told ET, “I have my own internal reasons why I ended up doing it, but ultimately there’s that window of opportunity… [where] you gotta jump creatively, and so I did that.”
Prior to Yellowstone, Costner had some experience with television, as he was part of the History Channel’s 2012 mini-series Hatfields & McCoys. In the series, Costner played William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield alongside co-star Bill Paxton, who took on the role of Randolph “Randall” McCoy. For his role in Hatfields & McCoys, Costner received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film.
One will have to make an educated guess as to when Y: 1883 will premiere on the new Paramount+. Paramount+ debuted as a streaming service on March 4, 2021, and if all had gone according to plan, Yellowstone’s season 4 would have premiered in June 2021, as it has the previous three seasons. Unfortunately, Yellowstone season 4 appears to have been delayed. By the end of June, the season never premiered, and Paramount never said anything as to why or when to expect it, though their site still said “2021”.
Per the ten-second tease for Yellowstone:1983, all Paramount gave fans is that Y: 1883 will premiere sometime in 2021. However, with Yellowstone season 4 delayed, will Y:1983 be delayed as well? The studio went quiet on the prequel. It seems likely fans won’t see the new series until season 4 of Yellowstone concludes. But considering that Yellowstone is the number one show on streaming, it makes sense that Paramount+ would want to boost their subscriptions by putting this prequel series on their new streaming service as soon as possible.
Amid all the COVID shutdowns, Taylor Sheridan, Kevin Costner, and crew have already wrapped production on Yellowstone season 4, though it didn’t come without weather delays. Sheridan explained to Deadline how he had to hold off on even writing some of the final episodes of season 4 because he wasn’t sure if snow would become a factor. “I have to know if we’re going to be there in November and December, because if we are, I have to write snow into the storyline,” he told Deadline. “So, I had to pause on writing the last few episodes, which I’ll start up here pretty soon once I know we’re going, because I would hate to write them and then find out that we can only shoot six episodes this year, and then I have to go shoot in the spring, and then there’s no snow.”
Prior to creating Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan was already an accomplished writer and director. Sheridan wrote Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, and he also wrote Hell or High Water, the 2016 film which was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and earned Sheridan a nomination for Best Original Screenplay. After that, Sheridan would write and direct Wind River, in which a tracker and an FBI agent trying to solve a murder on a snow-covered Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Sheridan also wrote the screenplay for Sicario: Day of the Soldado, and the upcoming Tom Clancy adaptation, Without Remorse, starring Michael B. Jordan. His next film as writer and director is Those Who Wish Me Dead, which stars Angelina Jolie and will be coming to HBO Max and theaters on May 14, 2021.
With season 4 already in the can, Sheridan can now focus on bringing the story of the original Dutton clan to Yellowstone fans across the country. With Yellowstone carrying the banner of the most-watched scripted cable series and also continues to bring in huge numbers, gaining a fan base for Y: 1883 shouldn’t be much of a stretch. Of course, it all comes down to interesting characters and storytelling, but Sheridan has already proven time and again that is right up his wheelhouse.