David Oyelowo stars as the first Black US deputy marshal west of the Mississippi in the next ‘Yellowstone’ series.
We have good news for viewers who have been enjoying Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone series and its spin-offs- production is currently underway on his new series called Bass Reeves. Previously titled 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, this new limited series will introduce viewers to the historical figure of Bass Reeves. How and if Bass Reeves will tie into the Dutton dynasty chronicled in Yellowstone, 1883, and 1923 remains unclear.
When Can You Watch Bass Reeves?
Unfortunately, we don’t yet have an air date for Bass Reeves but don’t worry, there’s plenty of other content from Taylor Sheridan to enjoy while you wait. Given that the series is currently still in production, it will likely be late 2023 at the earliest before Bass Reeves is released. It’s not the only new series in the works from Sheridan either with the Paramount Network series 6666 on the horizon as well as the Paramount+ original series Land Man and Lioness.
Where Can You Watch Bass Reeves?
Paramount+ is going to be the place to watch Bass Reeves. While familiarity with the rest of the Yellowstone-verse isn’t necessary to understand Bass Reeves, you can watch 1883, and 1923 on Paramount+ as well. Yellowstone’s newest season is available on Paramount Network and the first four seasons can be seen on Peacock.
Is There a Trailer for Bass Reeves?
While fans are going to have to wait a bit longer for a trailer, Paramount+ did release a brief overview of what projects Taylor Sheridan is currently working on, which includes interviews with both Sheridan and star David Oyelowo discussing Bass Reeves.
Who Is in the Cast of Bass Reeves?
The role of Bass Reeves himself will be played by David Oyelowo. Oyelowo is best known for playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s film Selma. He was also in DuVernay’s 2012 film Middle of Nowhere. Some of Oyelowo’s other major projects include the Lee Daniels’ films The Paperboy and The Butler.
Dennis Quaid has also been confirmed to have a role in the series playing Deputy U.S. Marshal Sherrill Lynn. Quaid has been working in Hollywood since the 70s and has an impressive resume of films ranging from playing Mike Brody in Jaws 3-D, to playing the father in the 1999 remake of The Parent Trap, to playing Ronald Reagan in the upcoming biopic Reagan. Bass Reeves is far from Quaid’s first time in a western as well-he played Doc Holiday in 1994’s Wyatt Earp and played Sam Houston in 2004’s The Alamo.
Cole Hauser, who currently plays Rip Wheeler in Yellowstone, will also apparently have a role in Bass Reeves. Perhaps he will be playing an ancestor of Rip’s? Hauser’s other roles include playing Special Agent Roma in Olympus Has Fallen, playing Carter Verone in 2 Fast 2 Furious, and playing Deklan MacGregor in Acts of Violence.
Lauren E. Banks will play the role of Bass’s first wife, Nellie Jennie. Banks has previously played Siobhan Quays in City on a Hill and also played Jenelle Lewis in the recent miniseries Gaslit. Demi Singleton has been cast to play Bass and Nellie’s daughter Sally. Singleton recently played tennis great Serena Williams in King Richard.
Forrest Goodluck will be playing a character named Billy Crow. Goodluck has previously been in The Revenant, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and How to Blow Up a Pipeline, among other projects.
Barry Pepper plays a character named Esau Pierce, the leader of the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles. Pepper is most known for his roles in films like Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile, Crawl, and The Maze Runner sequels. He’s also no stranger to westerns, having had roles in The Coen Brothers’ True Grit and Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger.
Grantham Coleman and Garrett Hedlund have also been confirmed to have roles in the series. Coleman has previously been in Power Book III: Raising Kanan and played Benedick in The Public’s Much Ado About Nothing. Hedlund has previously been in TRON: Legacy, Mudbound, and Triple Frontier. He’s also no stranger to the Sherdianverse having had a role in the recent hit series Tulsa King playing Mitch Keller.
Sadly, none of the actors or actresses from 1883 are expected to return. Taylor Sheridan explained to Deadline,
“I’m not someone who likes to tie everything up in a bow and explain how everyone lived happily after, or didn’t. I’d rather you imagine it.”
Given the shared time period though, it’s tempting to hope that Reeves may encounter at least one or two members of the 1883-era Dutton family.
What Is Bass Reeves About?
The historical figure Bass Reeves was the first Black deputy US marshal west of the Mississippi. Reeves’ remarkable number of arrests has led some historians to speculate that he may have even been the inspiration for the Lone Ranger. While this is disputed, there is no dispute over how remarkable a figure Reeves was. He was born into slavery in 1838. After the Civil War broke out, George Reeves, the man enslaving him, joined the Confederacy, forcing Bass to go as well. Bass escaped and lived with the Seminole, Cherokee, and Creek tribes in what was at the time Indian Territory. After slavery was legally abolished Bass Reeves was appointed a deputy marshal, in part due to his familiarity with Indian Territory and many of the languages spoken there.
It is unclear how much of Bass Reeves’ early life will be covered in the series given the show’s earlier title of 1883: The Bass Reeves Story. Reeves’ life certainly didn’t get less interesting once he became a marshal though. While serving as a deputy marshal under Judge Parker and Marshal Fagan, Reeves apprehended over 3000 felons and once even had to arrest his own son for murder.
While doing press at an event for Paramount+ in the UK in early 2022, Oyelowo revealed some key plot details about the series:
“So Bass Reeves is a character who the Lone Ranger was actually based on. But unfortunately, he was whitewashed out of history. He was born into enslavement, went on to fight in the Civil War [and] then escaped to the Indian Territory; learned the Native American languages and skills, which ended up being applied to his career as a lawman, and [he] had the most prolific career. 3000 arrests in his career and someone whose exploits are truly legendary. We’re doing it as a six-part miniseries. So basically a six-hour movie.[…] Now, back in the day when you watched ‘Ben-Hur’ or ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, that was epic storytelling, but you put a three-hour [or] four-hour film in front of people now [they’re like] “oh, gosh!” But you let them binge something that [is] six to ten hours, they’re all in. So I think it’s just a reframing of it. Maybe it’s just a mental leap people need to take to engage with the storytelling a little bit longer.”
Who Is the Creative Team Behind Bass Reeves?
Bass Reeves is the creation of Taylor Sheridan and is part of his larger Yellowstone universe. In addition to creating Yellowstone and its spin-offs, Sheridan wrote the screenplays for the Sicario films and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for writing the script for Hell or High Water. He also cut his teeth into directing films with Wind River and Those Who Wish Me Dead. He also has an impressive acting resume, having been in Sons of Anarchy and Veronica Mars among other shows. He also had small roles in Yellowstone as Travis Wheatley and in 1883 as the historical figure Charles Goodnight. We will have to wait and see if he appears on-screen in Bass Reeves as well.
Sheridan will be directing the first two episodes of the series as well.
Bass Reeves is going to be based largely on the historical fiction trilogy by Sidney Thompson.
When Did Bass Reeves Film?
Production for the series reportedly began in Fort Worth, Texas in October 2022 and is still ongoing.