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Paramount+ is continuing its Dutton family origin story.
The streamer has renewed Yellowstone prequel 1923 for a second season after the drama’s record-breaking first season, where the premiere became the most watched series premiere on cable in 2022.
Taylor Sheridan’s series follows the ancestors of the current Dutton clan of Yellowstone and is led by Harrison Ford’s Jacob and Helen Mirren’s Cara. The newest installment in the family’s origin story takes place in the early 20th century “when pandemics historic drought, and the end of Prohibition all plague the mountain west, and the Duttons who call it home,” according to Paramount+.
1923 picked up a few decades after Sheridan’s first Yellowstone origin series, 1883, which ran for one season and starred Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as James and Margaret Dutton. Their daughter Elsa, played by Isabel May, narrated the series and continues to narrate 1923.
1923 continued to fill in the Dutton family tree, as it stars James and Margaret’s surviving children, Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar) and John Dutton III (James Badge Dale) — though the latter met a tragic end ahead of the midseason finale. Ford’s character, Jacob, is brother to McGraw’s James, and took in his nephews after the death of his brother and sister-in-law (their fates were revealed in the 1923 season premiere when Elsa shared that James and Margaret died after the finale events of 1883, which saw them settle in Montana and build what is now know as the Yellowstone ranch.)
Ahead of 1923’s premiere, the show’s Oscar-nominated stars opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about what drew them to the TV series, and they both had the same answer: each other.
“He says me. And I say exactly the same: Harrison,” said Mirren when asked about reuniting with her Mosquito Coast co-star more than 30 years later, this time on the small screen. “I think we’re both a bit more achey. We loved working together then, but we were very different. He was a huge movie star and I was sort of comparatively unknown. There was a big difference in our status,” adding, “I’ve caught up a little bit, luckily.”
Ford echoed Mirren’s sentiment and explained that he was also “attracted to the ambition of the piece.”
“I had met with Taylor, who gave me a very brief outline of what he had in mind, and I went on faith and my experience with Yellowstone, 1883,” the Indiana Jones star said of the series, which films across three continents with locations in Montana, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Malta. “He’s produced a work of incredible ambition, scale, scope [and] cinematic ambition. Taylor thinks of each of these episodes as a one-hour movie. And that’s the product that we’re getting.”
Ford, who is currently also starring on Apple’s Shrinking, had also shared hopes about filming a second season: “I have been very satisfied and encouraged and challenged by the work at hand. We have another season, I hope, to get to know this character and see him in different circumstances. But I’m having a great time. I’m really enjoying it.”
Darren Mann, Michelle Randolph, Marley Shelton, Brian Geraghty, Aminah Nieves, Jerome Flynn and Julia Schlaepfer round out the show’s cast.
Season one of 1923 aired its mid-season finale Jan. 8 and returns to Paramount+ on Feb. 5. Yellowstone also aired its midseason finale Jan. 1 and returns this summer.
When the first season returns, Sklenar told The Hollywood Reporter the story will shift to be about a “hero’s journey” to get his character home. The last episode left off with Spencer, in Africa with Alex (Schlaepfer), finally reading the letter from his aunt Cara (Mirren) about the attack on the family that killed Spencer’s brother (Dale) and left his uncle injured (Ford).
“I can say that there is not only a definite shift in the story itself, but also in him as a person from this moment forward,” Sklenar said of Spencer. “It’s the hero’s journey, and his calling to go home does propel the story. It’s not an easy journey. It’s filled with challenges. Spencer and Alex both have a lot to overcome before he can get there. Taylor doesn’t make it easy on anybody in writing these shows.”
1923 is produced by MTV Entertainment Studios, 101 Studios and Bosque Ranch Productions. Co-creator Sheridan, David C. Glasser, John Linson, Art Linson, Ron Burkle, David Hutkin, Bob Yari and Ben Richardson are executive producers.
1923 is the latest addition to Sheridan’s growing slate on Paramount+, which also includes Mayor of Kingstown, Tulsa King and the upcoming series Bass Reeves, Lioness and Land Man.
Jackie Strause contributed to this story.
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