Where exactly is the “Yellowstone” universe at this point?
Will Kevin Costner appear in another season, then is the series dead? Will “1883” and “1923” return? Or do the strikes hamper any of this going forward?
Those are questions creator Taylor Sheridan can answer but, until a lot of the dust settles, it’s best to dial back to those ambitious prequels. “1923,” which hits the DVD market this week, is the Harrison Ford/Helen Mirren look at the Dutton family before Costner’s patriarch took over.
Ford plays Jacob Dutton, the guy who has to deal with changes in their community and pull together relatives from parts you didn’t expect – like Africa.
The series also dips into the world of boarding schools filled with Native Americans. Aminah Nieves gets a grueling turn as one of those students, who often suffers at the hands of an abusive nun.
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How that story fits with the others is part of the charm of Sheridan’s newest work. As Jennifer Ehle said last year, “These extraordinarily different stories come together and cross over. We all get to watch how they do that.”
With frightening realism, Ehle plays the abusive nun.
As the series wears on, however, focus shifts to John Dutton Sr. (James Badge Dale), Jacob’s nephew, and his wife, Emma (Marley Shelton). They bring new themes to the family story and show how tradition becomes a key to survival.
Mirren, who plays Jacob Dutton’s wife Cara, represents the old way of doing things. She, too, gets a learning curve and has solitary moments that speak volumes. Like his other two “Yellowstone” series, “1923” gives Sheridan ample opportunity to play the scenery. Instead of crafting long monologues for the characters, he lets them drink in the moments and reveal plenty.
While “1923,” “1883” and “Yellowstone” connect, it’s really the landscape and the idea of Western Expansion that holds them together. You don’t need to see all of them to appreciate what Sheridan has done. But if you make the connections (and figure out who’s really in charge), you get an extra bump from the series.
With many series on hold, now might be the perfect time to binge these series and see how they vet the themes and hang together.
If Matthew McConnaughey is moving in when Costner moves out, how will that affect the story? And who is he supposedly related to?
For “Yellowstone” fans, this could be a time of opportunity.