‘1883’: Taylor Sheridan Wanted To Make the Series a ‘Rollercoaster Ride’ for the Audience

by Leanne Stahulak

Fans are still reeling from that emotional and action-packed “1883” season finale. Not to mention the season as a whole.

Creator Taylor Sheridan truly achieved something great with this series. He made it a prequel to “Yellowstone” to draw those fans in while also creating something that stands well on its own. It has the characters you root for, the stunning scenery, and the action and emotion to tie everything together.

But one might say that “1883” didn’t follow a typical episodic TV structure. We started the series out with a flash-forward that featured our main character, Elsa Dutton, getting shot in the gut with an arrow. We always knew death was coming her way, but Sheridan managed to make us focus on her life instead.

“The goal with ‘1883,’ I wanted to tell this really abstract odd structured story,” Sheridan told Deadline earlier. “If you were paying attention, I tell you exactly what was going to happen, in the first scene of the first episode [to Elsa and Shea]. And then hopefully made you fall in love with the world, and forget that stuff, and play with your expectations that there’s no way what I’ve already told you could actually happen.”

But it did happen, to both Elsa and Shea Brennan. Played by Sam Elliott, Shea starts out in Episode 1 losing his wife and daughter. He goes to a hill and prepares to shoot himself, but Thomas stops him. The series comes full circle with Shea traveling to Oregon and seeing the ocean one last time before dying on his terms.

“To play with structure that way, felt like a new rollercoaster ride for an audience, and hopefully a really reflective and beautiful one,” Sheridan continued. “We wanted to make a ten-hour movie that ended, and that’s what we did.”

So, Is This the End of ‘1883?’

Taylor Sheridan might’ve written a beautiful ending for “1883,” but that doesn’t mean the story’s over. Earlier this month, Paramount ordered more episodes of the series. They likely didn’t order a second season because two of the main characters died. But that doesn’t mean that four or five more episodes can’t explore the rest of the cast.

For one thing, we could follow James and Margaret Dutton as they settle into their new lives in Montana. Or we could see Elsa’s little brother John growing into a teenager or adult. This could especially be an introduction to an older John since we’ll likely see him in Sheridan’s new show, “1932.”

But Sheridan confirmed that he wants the fans to wrap up the ending of “1883” for themselves.

“I created this peek through time to show you this one specific journey. I’m not someone who likes to tie everything up in a bow and explain how everyone lived happily after or didn’t,” Sheridan explained. “I’d rather you imagine it, and wonder what Thomas and Noemi made of their lives. You never get to see how James and Margaret move on. You did see them in a flashback as having moved on, and so that’s what I cared to explore. On to the next peek through the window.”