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A new cast member has been announced
Taylor Sheridan's Bass Reeves-centered series has a new name, a new format, and a new cast member. Donald Sutherland will appear in the anthology series, now called Lawmen: Bass Reeves. While the first season will depict the story of Bass Reeves (David Oyelowo), the first Black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi, future installments will revolve around other real-life lawmen.
Bass Reeves was originally expected to function as a prequel to the Yellowstone prequel 1883, but now it will exist as a separate series. Here's everything we know so far.
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With the announcement that Donald Sutherland will join the cast, it was also reported that Lawmen: Bass Reeves will no longer exist within the Yellowstone universe as an 1883 spin-off. The series is now being described as an anthology that tells the stories of famous lawmen from history, beginning with Reeves.
David Oyelowo will star as U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves. The British actor is best known for playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 film Selma. Oyelowo has shared some of his preparations for the role on Instagram; in June 2022, he posted footage of himself on a horse and called the role "a million miles from [his] own experience and skillset." Lauren E. Banks will play his wife, Jennie.
Donald Sutherland will play the recurring role of Judge Isaac Parker, described as "an imposing and commanding judge in the Fort Smith Courthouse with a complicated legacy," Variety reported in April.
Dennis Quaid will appear as Deputy U.S. Marshal Sherrill Lynn, Variety reported in January.
It was announced that five more actors had joined the show on March 17, as reported by Deadline. Joaquina Kalukango will play Esme, "a former enslaved woman who is as good as family with the Reeves' and also has some different ideas about the future." This Is Us alum Lonnie Chavis plays Arthur Mayberry, a young man with a crush on Reeves' daughter Sally (Demi Singleton). Rob Morgan (who also had a This Is Us stint), will play a "once strong-man, broken by time" named Ramsey. Ryan O'Nan plays Darrell Dolliver, one of the outlaw Dolliver brothers that Reeves is trying to bring down. Justin Hurtt-Dunkley has been cast as Ike, a Deputy U.S. Marshal.
Shea Whigham (Perry Mason) also joined the cast of Bass Reeves. Per Variety, Whigham will play Col. George Reeves, described as Bass Reeves' "upright and incredibly cruel" enslaver.
Forrest Goodluck has been cast as Billy Crow, a young Cherokee man with an affinity for dime-store books. Barry Pepper joined the cast as Esau Pierce, the leader of the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles.
Garrett Hedlund will guest star as Garret Montgomery, a cowboy that Reeves hires because of his riding knowhow.
Cole Hauser, who plays Rip Wheeler on Yellowstone, may also appear in the series. When the actor arrived at the Yellowstone Season 5 premiere sporting a goatee, he told ET, "I'm switching it up on ya. This is for a role that I did in 1883." (This was back when Bass Reeves was still billed as an offshoot of 1883.) What in the Yellowstone Matrix is this happening with this casting? Does Rip have access to a time machine that lets him go back two centuries? We'll have to see.
Lawmen: Bass Reeves is still in production, and we're unlikely to get an exact release date for a while. Based on the production timeline, we're expecting a premiere in late 2023 or possibly in 2024.
The series began filming in Texas in October 2022, according to NBC DFW. Oyelowo has revealed the show will be a six-episode limited series. Per Deadline, Sheridan will direct the first two episodes.
We got a first glimpse at an official poster for Lawmen: Bass Reeves, previously called 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, featured below, at the Paramount+ U.K. launch in June 2022. The poster shows a cowboy (presumably Mr. Reeves himself) looking into the sunset with a wagon going up in smoke in the distance.
Reeves is one of the most legendary figures of the Old West, and it's likely you've heard his name before. The real-life lawman has been depicted as a character on Wynonna Earp and Legends of Tomorrow and was referenced on Watchmen and Justified. Some historians have theorized that Reeves was the inspiration for the Lone Ranger, and he was rumored to have never been injured during any of the arrests he made, despite dealing with dangerous criminals. He even had to arrest his own son, Bennie, when Bennie murdered his wife. Born into slavery in 1838, Reeves was recruited to join the U.S. Marshals in 1875. He was assigned to the Western District of Arkansas, which also had jurisdiction over what was then known as Indian Territory, and served there until 1893. Reeves was removed from his position as a U.S. Marshal when Oklahoma gained statehood in 1907, but he continued to work in law enforcement until 1909. He died in 1910 at 71 years old.
Lawmen: Bass Reeves will stream on Paramount+. More Taylor Sheridan-produced series, like 1883, are currently available to stream on Paramount+.
Season 5 of Yellowstone will return on Paramount Network this summer. The first four seasons are streaming on Peacock.
Prequel 1923, starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, is available to stream on Paramount+ and has been renewed for Season 2.