Taylor Sheridan's $45M Western Getting a Sequel Nobody Asked For

Taylor Sheridan's $45M Western Getting a Sequel Nobody Asked For
Image credit: Thunder Road Pictures, globallookpress

Taylor Sheridan's crime Western is getting a sequel. But is it really needed?


  • A year before Yellowstone, Sheridan's movie starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olson was released.
  • Now a sequel is in development.
  • But it raises a lot of questions about potential audience interest and the importance of such films.

Taylor Sheridan is considered the modern king of the Western genre, and much of that status was cemented after his revisionist approach in the Yellowstone series. But the popularity of both Yellowstone and Sheridan himself owes much to the 2017 feature Wind River, which was released a year before the show's premiere. The indie film proved to be a commercial success worldwide and was praised by many critics.

But as it turns out, the story doesn't end there. A sequel is coming to the big screen! If you're wondering why a mildly popular movie released 7 years ago needs a sequel, well, alas, we don't have the answer either. Furthermore, Sheridan is not involved in the project in any way. And yet it's happening, so let's break down what the movie will be about and how relevant it will be.

What Was the Original Movie About?

The original film was built around the issue of the murder and rape of Native women, whose statistics are often neglected and whose investigations are stalled. The plot followed United States Fish and Wildlife Service Agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) and FBI Special Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen ) as they investigated the murder of an 18-year-old Northern Arapaho woman. And now, the sequel is in the works.

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What Can We Expect from the Sequel?

Taylor Sheridan has nothing to do with the second installment, as it was directed by Canadian filmmaker Kari Skogland and written by Patrick Massett and John Zinman. However, the sequel, titled Wind River: The Next Chapter, will see the return of Martin Sensmeier as Chip Hanson, the brother of the murdered girl from the original. Apparently, the suspense will revolve around ritualistic killings on the reservation.

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Considering that the new movie is only indirectly related to the original, except for Sensmeier, it is highly doubtful that there will be much interest from critics and audiences. However, the very fact of a sequel implies a much bigger problem.

Does This Movie Really Need a Follow-Up?

While Sheridan's film raised important questions about the extent to which the United States neglects Native Americans, not to mention missing persons statistics, Wind River has been the subject of a number of controversies.

Much of it, of course, has to do with the casting of Jeremy Renner (white savior trope in 2017, really?) and non-indigenous actors in Native American roles, most notoriously Kelsey Chow, who was criticized for claiming 'part Cherokee' ancestry, which is disputed by the tribe itself.

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However, that's not even the main point, as the cast of the upcoming sequel includes a number of actors of Native or part-Native descent, including Tatanka Means, Martin Sensmeier, Chaske Spencer, and Kali Reis.

The main question is whether we need so many movies about Native Americans, made by white filmmakers rather than Native Americans themselves. Jason Asenap wrote in 2017 for High Country News, mentioning Wind River, that '…Sheridan [is] invested in making us see how America has screwed Native people, but to the point of rubbing it in our faces. Is it so terrible to live in one's own homeland? It may be hard to get out, but it certainly feels condescending for a non-Native to write as much'.

In other words, it's great that Hollywood has started to actively address the issues concerning Native Americans. However, it's starting to look like an issue that Hollywood itself is willingly milking because it's in demand. Well, let's see how well the creators of Wind River: The Next Chapter will do and how relevant this movie will be. The release date is not yet known.

Source: High Country News.