Stop the presses! A new Yellowstone prequel series is reportedly in the works.
Paramount Network officials revealed that a new spinoff series, dubbed 1944, is in development. News of the latest Taylor Sheridan project to be greenlit came on Feb. 5th, when Paramount producers held a thank-you event in Hamilton, Montana to talk up the economic benefits brought to the area by Yellowstone and 1923, which film nearby.
According to Hamilton-based outlet Ravalli Republic, Executive Vice President of Yellowstone partner 101 Studios Tom Prince described the upcoming 1944 as a follow-up to 1923, currently in its first season on Paramount+.
“We’ve got 1923, we’ve got the sequel, we’re not letting the cat out of the bag, it’s going to be called 1944,” Prince said.
Information is scant right now about the who, what, and where of the upcoming series. (Is it the previously announced second season of 1923, or a separate show entirely?) But we’ve pieced together a few hints to paint a fuller picture of 1944, including potential plot points, locations, and characters we might see in the period drama.
What’s The Plot of 1944?
While plot details are being kept under wraps, it’s safe to assume 1944 will dramatize the effects of World War II on the Dutton family ranch. 1923, starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren as Jacob and Cara Dutton, is a Depression-era drama that grapples with historic events, including Prohibition and record-breaking drought.
1944 could follow 1923 ‘s lead and use WWII as both a backdrop and a plot engine. Perhaps we’ll see some Duttons go off to war. Action set pieces in the Yellowstone universe have been increasingly audacious, going back to 1883. Or maybe U.S. military operations will move into the wide open west, threatening the prairie’s way of life.
When Will 1944 Air?
1944 is still in development, so the prequel series likely won’t hit screens until 2024 or 2025.
Where Is 1944 Filming?
As ever, 1944 will film in Montana at the site of the Yellowstone Ranch. “My guess is that it’ll be shooting largely in the Bitterroot Valley because it has to take place at what is Chief Joseph Ranch,” Prince said of the prequel series’ filming plans. (Now, if those WWII theories are correct, we could see some amazing on-location shoots in Europe as well.)
No official casting announcements have been made, but recent headlines suggest that, like the Harrison Ford-led 1923, Paramount could be searching for a big-name star to front 1944. Deadline recently reported that Matthew McConaughey (True Detective) is in talks to star in a Yellowstone “franchise extension” that will also feature several stars from the flagship series.
Does that mean we’ll get a McConaughey-led Yellowstone season 6? Or will the actor head back in time to front 1944 ? Better yet, the Texas native could star in spinoff series 6666, a prequel about the famed West Texas ranch.
Wherever McConaughey lands, we’ve got some ideas for 1923 characters who could carry over to 1944 ‘s wartime Montana. Most of the actors below would have to be recast, as their characters will have aged more than twenty years since the events of 1923. (We won’t see Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren’s Jacob and Cara Dutton — unless the pair live to be over a hundred years old.)
Jack Dutton (Darren Mann) – John Dutton Sr.’s son and great-nephew to Jacob Dutton. Jack is dedicated to the upkeep of the Dutton family ranch, and if he’s in 1944, he’ll likely be running the ancestral seat.
Elizabeth Strafford Dutton (Michelle Randolph) – Jack Dutton’s feisty betrothed.
John Dutton II – the son of Jack and Elizabeth Dutton, and the father of Kevin Costner’s John Dutton III. While we haven’t seen his birth yet in 1923, he should be a young man during the events of 1944.
Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar) – the younger brother of John Dutton. A World War I veteran, an aged-up Spencer could speak to the horrors of war in 1944.
Alexandra (Julia Schlaepfer) – Spencer Dutton’s betrothed.
The Dutton-verse is ever-expanding, and so is the list of notable Dutton names. Here’s a handy family tree to help you brush up on your Yellowstone trivia.
How It’s Connected to the Main Show?
1944 is the bridge between the events in 1923 and those in Yellowstone, covering the recovery of the ranch from The Great Depression. WWII will also play a major role in the show, likely showing some members of the Dutton family going to war and how it affects them and the ranch, as what WWI did to Spencer in 1923.
It is an interesting survival story of how the Duttons survived the hardest times in recent history. 1944 will also show the transformation of Yellowstone from the Wild West into a modern ranch without significantly changing the ranching culture.
The transition from the lawlessness of the wild-west style ranching in Montana to the modern era may also see the emergence of The Train Station in 1944. The Duttons will have to deal with the same old enemies trying to take their land while dealing with a modernized but ineffective justice system that leaves their fate in their own hands.
1944 will also show the group of Duttons that usher in the modern era of the ranch, including older versions of the survivors of 1923. Coming just 20 years after 1923, Jack, Alexandra, Spencer, and their children will have a major role to play because they will be in charge of the ranch.
The rise of the Rainwaters to chieftaincy in the tribe is another aspect of Yellowstone-verse that cannot be ignored. 1923 has seen them take their place on the Reservation, and 1944 will likely cover the lineage’s role in uniting the tribe and protecting their interests.
1944 will also close the family tree gap from the 1923 Duttons to John Dutton. His father, John Dutton Jr., shown in Yellowstone flashbacks, will be in his childhood. Whether the Duttons in Yellowstone are the descendants of Spencer and Alexandra or Jack and Elizabeth will also be revealed.
Like 1923, 1944 will cover women’s role extensively on the ranch since the massive deployment of men in the army will leave the ranch with fewer cowboys. It will therefore show the best version of cowgirls with more of the Dutton women in charge of the ranch.