‘1883’ Pilot Episode Might Exceed Two Hours in Length

by Anna Dunn
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

The pilot episode of 1883 may feel more like a movie. This is according to a new Deadline interview with Studio 101 Exec David Glasser, the episode may be over two episodes long. 1883 is a Yellowstone prequel. It follows an earlier generation of the Dutton family as they head west over the plains. They want to start a new life in what would later become the Dutton’s ranch in Montana.

The long pilot episode shouldn’t come as a surprise to Yellowstone fans. The pilot for Yellowstone almost hit the two-hour mark. Taylor Sheridan, writer, and showrunner for Yellowstone is at the helm of this project as well. He’ll make sure to bring the gritty western to life.

What helps is that the show is made for the Paramount+ streaming service vs a traditional network. This gives it room to make episodes as long or short as they need to be.

“The great thing about the relationship with the network is, they always let us go on running time, so we’ll see what the first one times out to,” Glasser told Deadline. “That’s the great thing about Paramount. There’s no, ‘you’ve got to cut this to 42 minutes.’ Their attitude is, give us the best show and we’ll fit it. They’ve been an incredible partner.”

And 1883 definitely seems like it’s the best show for Paramount considering its shocking budget of over 10 million an episode. This, along with the very recognizable names in the cast, all bodes well for the project. Sheridan made massive waves with Yellowstone, and it’s now looking like he’s going to make the series into a hit franchise. It may bode well for Paramount + in the “streaming war” era.

‘1883’ Is Currently in Production with a 2021 Release

1883 is currently in production in Texas and Montana. This is partially because, according to Glasser, Taylor Sheridan refused to have any sort of CGI or special effects. He wanted the show to look as real as possible. And nothing beats actual location shoots.

They’re shooting in Palestine and Guthrie, Texas, and then up to where the Dutton ranch is in Montana. Right now, however, the production is taking place in Texas. Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are already involved. McGraw recently posted a photo of some a prop and an item from his wardrobe — a journal and some beaten-up jeans.

While we don’t know all the details, we know that it’ll closely follow the Duttons as they desperately try and find a better life for themselves no matter the cost. Sam Elliott will play a crucial role as well. The actor is thrilled to be working on a project like this with Taylor Sheridan, who seems to be bringing the western genre back in a new kind of light.

1883 will finally air on December 19th this year.