Future ‘Yellowstone’ Spinoffs Must Travel Beyond the Ranch
It’s a big world out there!
As fans wait for Season 2 of 1923 and the second part of Yellowstone‘s Season 5, all we can do is wait for more news about potential spin-offs and the next incarnation of the Dutton family. With two successful prequels and more in the works, the Yellowstone universe is primed to keep expanding further as we are introduced to more and more Duttons and their struggle to achieve their goals, no matter the cost. In recent weeks, the rumors circulating of Kevin Costner‘s exit are on everyone’s mind, the future of Yellowstone may lie solely in its spin-offs — one of which has been reported to be moving forward with Matthew McConaughey in the lead role.
So far, most of the action has taken place on the iconic Yellowstone ranch, a sprawling valley of preserved land and cattle-chasing cowboys that remind us of days gone by. While the ranch is an amazing home base and the beating heart of the series, there is only so much life on the ranch, and the Duttons in general. 1883 follows the beginning of the ranch as the founding generation of Duttons attempted to make their way from Tennessee to Oregon during the height of Western Expansion, and 1923 revolves around the following generation’s epic journey through Africa and the Atlantic Ocean.
We know what took place during the first 40 years of the Duttons’ reign over Paradise Valley, and we know where they stand now, but is there much more story to be told about the ranch and the Duttons? If Taylor Sheridan keeps riding the Yellowstone wave (which at this point, he should) the franchise will be out of runway soon without expanding into different destinations and characters within the universe. So, let’s take a look back at where the Duttons have been, where they’re going, and what other opportunities could make a valuable addition to the franchise.
Where Have ‘Yellowstone’ Shows Taken Place So Far?
For most of the time we’ve known them, the Duttons have been on the Yellowstone, battling greedy enemies for generations in an effort to protect and preserve their land. However, the franchise has taken viewers to some far-away destinations over the years that have proved to be just at interesting, if not more, than life on the ranch. In 1883, a young Elsa Dutton (Isabel May) embarked on a journey across the country as she and her family gave up life as farmers in Tennessee with hopes of finding a new life in Oregon. The Duttons left behind the luxuries they were accustomed to (trains, cities, and frilly dresses) to become pioneers and lead a caravan of covered wagons along their treacherous journey West. Watching the Duttons live off the ranch created a fascinating new dimension where fans could be reminded of the familiar traits of the family as they worked in harmony with the land and protected their loved ones at all costs.
Jump forward a generation to 1923, the ranch has been established and the family is still fighting to keep what’s theirs. While it is great to see a different generation living on the ranch, the prequel also took viewers across the world to follow Spencer Dutton (Brendan Sklendar) as a big game hunter in Africa. His epic struggle as he attempts to cross an ocean and return to his family, as well as his romance with Alexandra (Julia Schlaepfer), gave us more drama than anything on the ranch, and once again showed us how the Duttons are always able to adapt to their environment. With changing ways of life as a central motif in the franchise, Spencer’s storyline opened up endless possibilities to explore how the world is changing beyond the ranch, with different cultures and destinations explored through the lens of the Dutton family. With such success, it seems obvious that future spin-offs should jump at the opportunity to explore new parts of the world.
Where Could the ‘Yellowstone’ Franchise Go Next?
In theory, the opportunities are endless to keep exploring the Dutton family tree. Future shows could go back one step further than 1883 and explore how the Duttons weathered a civil war in the South, or explore even more branches of the family tree facing new battles around the world. While everyone would certainly miss the Duttons, another viable option is to follow a new set of characters. If the franchise wants to stick around in Paradise Valley, a prequel exploring the fictional Tribes of Broken Rock and their history on the land before colonization would be a rich topic, as well as an opportunity to expand on indigenous stories as the franchise has started to do in 1923.
Of course, these possibilities are not exclusive and there is a good chance that we could see a mix of both new characters and past Duttons in future projects. In fact, there are already two green-lit series in the works that will follow new characters off the ranch. The long-awaited 6666 is set to premiere sometime this year. It will follow cowboys on the 6666 ranch that appeared in Season 4 of Yellowstone, where Jimmy (Jefferson White) went to work. While it’s unclear if Jimmy will appear in the spin-off, we can expect it will have a similar premise to the original series, exploring a new ranch that will surely come with its own unique challenges.
Another confirmed spin-off is Bass Reeves, which will tell the story of the first Black Deputy US Marshal. The most fascinating aspect of this show is that Bass Reeves (David Oyelowo) is actually a real historical figure! Born into slavery, he studied indigenous languages whilst living among native tribes and eventually became a legendary lawman. While the plot remains a mystery, we can expect it will be a great opportunity to incorporate more diverse storylines into the universe and explore a different way of life than we’ve seen on the ranch.
Whatever lies in store for the future of Yellowstone, we certainly won’t be saying goodbye to the Duttons anytime soon, and it looks as though the world will continue to grow around them, taking fans to new places with plenty of new faces.