‘1883: The Bass Reeves Story’ Star David Oyelowo Reveals Whether Show Will Crossover With ‘Yellowstone’

David Oyelowo will portray a legendary Wild West law man in a new 1883 and Yellowstone spinoff titled 1883: The Bass Reeves Story, Paramount+ announced this week. The studio included the news in a much-celebrated press release announcing the participation of Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren in yet another spinoff called 1932. Though the timelines and stories will not necessarily overlap, all of the shows in creator Taylor Sheridan’s western universe — including The Bass Reeves Story — will share the same rugged sensibility and dramatic plot lines that fans love about Yellowstone.

The story of Bass Reeves could receive less stylized and more authentic treatment, though, given that Reeves is a real historical figure from the 19th century. Born in 1838, Reeves served as the country’s first black deputy U.S. Marshall west of the Mississippi River. History books claim that Reeves apprehended over 3,000 wanted criminals and fugitives on the lawless frontier without ever suffering an injury, himself.

Some claim that Reeves’ exploits inspired the iconic Lone Ranger character, which aired from 1949 to 1957 as one of the entertainment industry’s first major, mainstream titular roles. According to Oyelowo, he has tried shopping the series (unsuccessfully) for over six years. Sheridan, the most popular creator in Hollywood at the moment, said yes; agreeing to bring the series under his Yellowstone universe tentpole for a crossover of sorts.

1883: The Bass Reeves Story will feature elements of the Yellowstone universe, but will “stand alone” as its own story

Oyelowo told at the May 18 Paramount Upfront in New York City that earning a green light from Sheridan is a “pinch-me moment” after having “everyone reject it” for years.

“This is very much a stand-alone story,” Oyelowo said about the possibility of mixing storylines with Yellowstone universe characters. “But as it pertains to 1883, you see a world that I think audiences are loving having an entry point.”

“In some ways, Bass Reeves gives context from a different lens of some things that were happening then,” he continued. “It was post civil war. [The country] was going into reconstruction. It was a time when, as a black man very much within living memory, he was enslaved; and now he was deputized to bring law to the Indian territories. It was a time of huge change in America. And so, we get to see another side of what was going on in America at that time.”

Oyelowo also said that prepping for the role of Reeves required a lot of physical labor and dedication.

“There’s a huge physical component,” he said. “This guy was basically a superhero in a historical context. He was amazing with a gun, amazing on a horse. But also there’s the research component as well in terms of being historically accurate. So, a lot of strands on this one.”

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