Kevin Costner's new film series, , is set to be epic in scale and can compete with . Taylor Sheridan's Western TV universe has been expanding with sequels, as is set to conclude after season 5. The growing franchise is the premiere title in contemporary Western media, continuously bringing prestige television to fans of a genre that has been largely missing in the 21st century. looks to be the first film series that could contend or even overtake in cultural appeal.
has been a multi-decade passion project for Kevin Costner and is planned to span four films, all of which are shooting back to back, and to be released months apart from each other. Costner is set to star in every film and is also the writer and director of each installment. For fans of Western films, is the project to keep an eye out for, especially following Kevin Costner's exit from .
Kevin Costner has recruited an all-star lineup of supporting actors for his cast. The cast includes actors Will Patton and Danny Huston. Notable names like Jena Malone, Sienna Miller, Michael Rooker, Sam Worthington, Luke Wilson, and Giovanni Ribisi are all set to appear in the ensemble. In an interview in June 2022, Costner mentioned that they were casting 170 speaking roles, meaning the four films will have a ridiculously large amount of characters.
The original script for was written in 1988, though Costner had trouble getting the story made multiple times throughout his career. It's shocking that a Western with Kevin Costner couldn't get funding in 1988, as he was on top of the world at the time, with a hot streak of starring roles in successful films. He stuck with the project, though, eventually re-writing the story later on with a partner. Costner wasn't able to let go of the idea and continued to pursue it with his own funds. This sort of dedication has to be for something special, as Costner seems to have chosen it over continuing to be part of .
has shown how to make a Western epic appealing to a modern audience, and shown that there is still a massive market for the genre. While isn't perfect, its overarching stories are pretty strong and have managed to have a relatable appeal for a genre that tends to explore larger-than-life characters. While is set to be a traditional style Western, it can still take lessons from the way constructs its characters and world.
Kevin Costner was at his peak of marketability in the film industry in the early '90s, and while he continued to appear in big films like and , he's found a popularity resurgence with that he hasn't had in decades. has allowed Costner to showcase his skill in a new era of his career, with his name being the marquee on a massive franchise. This increase in popularity for the 68-year-old actor is important for pulling off a new film franchise this late in his career.
The Western genre has been headlined by epics like and , which explore the American mythology of the Western genre on a massive scale. will be the next Western epic, with four full-length films set to release. As much as turning everything into a franchise can be worrying, many of the greatest films ever are large in scale and length, and has the chance of being a massive accomplishment in that regard.
The success of , and of course, , will likely have a massive influence on the world of Hollywood filmmaking for years to come. proved that, when marketed and executed well, a biopic/historical drama can be extremely profitable. is R-rated and three hours long, two qualities that might deter audiences if not for the film's great quality and hype. While this marketability is still fresh, studios will try to emulate it with similar projects and ideas
Kevin Costner has invested a great deal of his own wealth and time into . This is a passion project for him, and he's taken major gambles on the film's success, selling acres of real estate in order to fund it. But beyond money, Costner has cast his 13-year-old son, Hayes, in the film. The star described the decision as wanting his son to be involved in a project that was close and personal to him.
has struck gold with its storytelling at times, but have been criticized for being redundant and less exciting than previous ones. Writing a 600-page script for a season of television each year is a challenge, having to balance a number of characters, and create a large enough antagonist that can feel threatening to the Yellowstone ranch, but not actually do enough damage to upset the show's storytelling for the following season. A more compact series of films can avoid many of these issues of repetition and filler scenes, and focus purely on one, centered story.
is a Western that takes place in the modern day. is traditional in the sense that it will take place in the 1800s and explore ideas of the American frontier, the Civil War, and cowboy mythology. prequel series was met with a ton of praise, as viewers seemed to really enjoy modern storytelling in that era. With different eras of Western films spanning decades in the industry, can use its retrospective knowledge of the genre, combining what's worked well in the past with modern ideas.
Western films in the past few decades haven't been made to the scale of the traditional Westerns of the 20th century. While recent years have seen Westerns like and , none have been epics like , or even had an ensemble cast like . will be the biggest Western film saga in decades, which is an extremely exciting idea on its own and can make Costner's exit from worth it.