An Unexpected Ending Led To “1923”
The Paramount+ streaming service is primarily powered by two mega franchises – “Star Trek” and the creations of former “Sons of Anarchy” actor turned incredibly prolific writer-director-producer-creator Taylor Sheridan.
Having penned films like “Sicario” and “Hell or High Water” before creating ratings juggernaut “Yellowstone” along with “Tulsa King,” “Mayor of Kingstown,” and “1883,” Sheridan has a fairly major amount of creative freedom – certainly more so than some of his contemporaries.
That said, he still gets notes and input from Paramount about his projects, including one that led to the creation of his latest work with “1923”. It turns out the show came about after Paramount realised, all too late, that their first “Yellowstone” spin-off “1883” wouldn’t be getting a second season.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “1883”
“1883” shows the origins of Yellowstone’s Dutton family in Montana after the end of the Civil War. The several episode long series, led by Sam Elliott, closes out with many of the characters dying or dead – including Elliott whose character commits suicide.
Speaking with Deadline, Sheridan confirmed “1923” was created after Paramount, not realising until the finale of “1883” aired that it wouldn’t be getting a second season, in essence begged Sheridan to retcon the ending:
“I know they read the scripts, but they don’t read scripts, so when they read the last episode of ‘1883,’ I don’t think they digested what had just happened, even though I made it quite clear from the very beginning.
The story I heard is Bob Bakish [Paramount executive] watched it and said, ‘wait a minute, she dies! They all die? What do we do in season two?’ I said, there is no season two. They’re like, there better be a f—ing season two because we already picked it up. I’m sitting here going, guys everyone is dead.
They wanted to have a meeting about how Sam Elliott survived his suicide. By the very nature of the term it’s not something survivable, and who would want to see that? So, I said I’ll come up with another peek into the window and I sat there and tried to look at it. I studied Montana’s history and the history of the world.”
That lead to Sheridan discovering the parallels between today and early 1920s Montana and a whole new world of storytelling for Sheridan who was able to deliver something that can be watched both separately and apart from the other series:
“It’s the one great thing about the Dutton family; you can skip generations and put them in all these unique situations, and it has nothing to do with ‘Yellowstone,’ nothing to do with ‘1883’ and yet it’s tethered completely to them, but they’re all standalones. That’s what I find so intriguing about it.”
Paramount quickly greenlit “1923” which was raced into production and recently premiered on the Paramount+ service. This time the series will be getting a second season with Paramount to produce another eight episodes to air next year.
Sheridan isn’t slowing down his output either wil several new series on the horizon.