Chances are, if you ask a fellow Yellowstone fan which character they’d love to see a spinoff for, the answer’s going to be Rip Wheeler. The grisly, take-no-prisoners ranch hand has been a fan favorite pretty much since the get-go, and if viewers weren’t all aboard the Rip train in Season 1, then they absolutely are by Season 3’s explosive end.
So what are the odds that such a brilliant character gets his own show? We are, after all, in the age of Yellowstone spinoffs. Taylor Sheridan’s new, expansive deal with CBS/Viacom and Paramount+ means we’ll be seeing the brand expand for years to come. Yellowstone: 1883 will take us back to the days of the first Duttons to set foot in Montana. Then, Texas-based 6666 will highlight the drama of America’s most (in)famous, real-life ranch. But hold on to yer horses, because both Walker’s Ryan Bingham and Jefferson White’s Jimmy Hurdstrom are among the cast of the latter.
Thanks to their casting confirmation, we know Paramount is looking to bring familiar faces into uncharted territory. Could the same be done for Rip? We absolutely think so. Under one condition.
“Playing God never suits Man, nor a long life does it make…”
For starters, characters like Rip Wheeler – no matter how much we love ’em, don’t live forever. Karma’s a b*tch, and Rip’s got a long list of sins to atone for. Sure, the man’s never killed a soul that didn’t deserve it so far as we know. But playing God never suits Man, nor a long life does it make.
Our point is – a Rip Wheeler spinoff would be fantastic and perhaps a surefire hit for Paramount – but it’s not going to take place after Yellowstone proper. Not only is Rip’s time on this earth finite, but he’s never leaving Yellowstone Ranch while he’s alive, either. Besides being a branded man, Rip is fiercely loyal. Nothing short of death would have him leave John Dutton‘s side. John knows this, too, and has even gifted his top ranch hand a portion of his land as a result.
This all but rules out any congruent “Rip Wheeler Show” alongside Yellowstone, too. The character is woven too tightly into the very fabric of the core show for any “further adventures of” series to make sense, or play well.
What are we left with, then, but a spinoff centering around Young Rip.
‘Yellowstone’ Spinoff: ‘Young Rip’?
We’ve seen a decent amount of Rip’s teenage years. From his first time meeting savior John Dutton, to his budding, tumultuous young love with Beth, Yellowstone knows the value of the character and has given fans what they desire in turn: glimpses into how he came to be.
But there’s oh-so-much we haven’t seen. Decades of it. This comes with it’s own fair share of hiccups, however. For one, any show keeping Cole Hauser in his role would have to take place fairly recently in the past, which would just be, well, Yellowstone. That, or we’d be looking at a true Young Rip, in which a budding, 20-something actor steps into the role for some 90s era action.
Couple this with the return of the fantastic casting of Josh Lucas as a younger John Dutton and it could work. But would fans be eager to watch a Rip Wheeler that wasn’t played by Cole Hauser? Not unless there’s a young man out there with the same magnetic pull as Hauser. Good luck on that casting venture, Paramount.
To come back around, we could be completely wrong about Rip, and the character could outlive his welcome in Yellowstone‘s reality. Much like Beth expects herself to, Rip could be the one who carries on while those he loves disappear: a true lone wolf destined to ramble on through the pain. Yea, that’s it:
Old Rip – Coming to Paramount+ in 2041.
Regardless of over-thinking, if Paramount & Taylor Sheridan decide to give Rip a go in his own show, well, we’re all in.