Lawmen: Bass Reeves Shocker: Why the Series Is No Longer an 1883 Spinoff

Spoilers

The creator of Lawmen: Bass Reeves is setting the record straight about whether the show is a spinoff of 1883.

When the show was initially ordered, it was billed by Paramount+ as a spinoff of the first Yellowstone prequel.

Chad Feehan, the creator and showrunner of the highly-anticipated new drama, is opening up about what changed to TV Line.

Making the show a spinoff of the critically-lauded 1883 “was an idea we briefly talked about,” Feehan explained to the outlet.

“But for me, once I learned some of the things I didn’t know about Bass’ life, and decided where we wanted to start the story and where we wanted to end the story, it preceded 1883,” he added.

David Oyelowo as Bass Reeves - Lawmen: Bass Reeves

In a separate interview with TV Insider, Feehan said the idea to make it a spinoff was talked about before he was hired.

“There was conversations about a tie into 1883 before I was hired, and when I was hired I was given the freedom to craft the most compelling story that I could alongside the other writers,” Feehan says to TV Insider.

“I was given the opportunity, if there was a place to tie it to 1883, that was OK, but there was no obligation to do so.

“And so, we landed where we landed, which was our story takes place from roughly 1862 to 1877.

Donald Sutherland as Judge Parker - Lawmen: Bass Reeves

“And Bass primarily operates in [Native American] territory, which is modern day Oklahoma and Fort Smith, Arkansas.

“And so it didn’t feel natural or organic to bring in any of the 1883 characters to the story.”

It’s certainly interesting because there’s a good chance many fans of 1883 — and the wider Yellowstone franchise — will be going into the series thinking it will be connected to the franchise.

But it is refreshing that the creatives have separated it to benefit the story being told.

Dennis Quaid as Sherrill Lynn - Lawmen: Bass Reeves

“Revealing the untold story of the most legendary lawman in the Old West, Lawmen: Bass Reeves follows the journey of Reeves (Oyelowo) and his rise from enslavement to law enforcement as the first Black U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi,” the logline teases.

“Despite arresting over 3,000 outlaws during the course of his career, the weight of the badge was heavy, and he wrestled with its moral and spiritual cost to his beloved family.”

Related: Yellowstone Season 5B: Everything We Know

“Lawmen: Bass Reeves is an all-new, standalone anthology series and future iterations will follow other iconic lawmen and outlaws who have impacted history,” Paramount+ affirms.

In addition to Oyelowo, the series stars Lauren E. Banks, Demi Singleton, Forrest Goodluck, Emmy Award winner Barry Pepper, Honorary Oscar recipient Donald Sutherland, and Emmy Award nominee Dennis Quaid.

David Oyelowo is Bass Reeves - Lawmen: Bass Reeves

The impressive cast also includes Shea Whigham and Garrett Hedlund as guest stars, and, in recurring roles, Joaquina Kalukango, Lonnie Chavis, Grantham Coleman, Tosin Morohunfola, Dale Dickey, Rob Morgan, Ryan O’Nan, Margot Bingham, Mo Brings Plenty, Justin Hurtt-Dunkley, and Bill Dawes.

Created for television by executive producer and showrunner Chad Feehan, Lawmen: Bass Reeves is also executive produced by Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan, Oyelowo, David C. Glasser, Jessica Oyelowo, David Permut, Christina Alexandra Voros, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari, and David Hutkin.

The series is produced by MTV Entertainment Studios, 101 Studios, Sheridan’s Bosque Ranch Productions, and Oyelowo’s Yoruba Saxon and is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution outside of Paramount+ international markets.

Lauren E. Banks as Jennie Reeves - Lawmen: Bass Reeves

The series is set to premiere on Sunday, November 5, in the U.S. with its first two episodes.

The official trailer took us inside the world of the series to show us the impressive story on the way.

Check out the promo below.

What are your thoughts on deviating from the planned spinoff idea?

Are you on board?

Hit the comments below.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

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