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Netflix's American Primeval - What We Know So Far

There's much cash to be made in them thar hills — or in this case, the distant past. The American West has provided projects that have been churning up positive critical reviews, ratings, and box office receipts ever since the first motion picture camera cranked out its first hit movie. In the modern world, hits like "1883" and 2015's Oscar-winning drama "The Revenant" have proven that there's plenty of room for harrowing and dark, but cathartic looks into America's underbelly. If myths can be busted along the way, all the better.

There's about to be a brand-new entry on the streaming block: "American Primeval." A Western set right at the epoch of the conflict between Native Americans and Eastern settlers, it's set to be unflinchingly honest about the so-called settling of the West, telling tales of the gritty horrors that befell everyone as the country developed. Along the way, wars will spark up, and friendships and romances will build. The show plans to do so via a simple limited series of just six episodes. Here's what we know about the upcoming Netflix Western.

When will American Primeval be released?

As of press time, Netflix has not announced a release date for "American Primeval." 

Per Deadline, we do, however, know that at least six scripts have been ordered for the limited series. All scripts will be penned by series creator and co-producer Mark L. Smith, who wrote the Oscar-winning "The Revenant" and, per Variety, also wrote "The Midnight Sky" for Netflix. Smith is also known for multiple horror movies, such as "Martyrs" and "The Hole" (per IMDb). That should give prospective viewers a good idea as to the show's potentially brutal tone. 

There is no further sign as to when the show will go into production, but it's presumptive that at some point in 2023 it will go before the cameras. There is currently no word as to whether or not the show will arrive on Netflix thereafter sometime in 2023 or in 2024. As soon as we learn more, we'll update the information contained in this slide.

When will American Primeval be about?

Beware those with tender tummies — the logline for "American Primeval" released by Netflix sounds as if it's going to be a bit rougher than "Little House on the Prairie."

The logline promises that "American Primeval" will provide an unflinching look at the birth of the American West as we know it. "The violent collisions of cultures, religions and communities as men and women fight and die for control of this new world – for a land they truly believe is their destiny," says Netflix. The ensemble tells a story of the sacrifice all must pay when they choose to enter a lawless and untamed wilderness." Meanwhile, Taylor Kitsch will be playing the role of Isaac, a traumatized individual who is hoping to find meaning in his life as he overcomes personal challenges along the way.

Interestingly enough, per What's On Netflix, the original concept for the series focused on a woman named Sara who joins a Mormon caravan with her son. The group travels west together but soon become embroiled in the war between Native Americans and the western-moving wagon trains. There's no word as to whether or not any remnant of Sara's story made it into the version which will make its way to Netflix.

The phrases "raw" and "thrilling" have been attached to "American Primeval" in multiple press releases. So if you enjoyed the bare-bones honesty and heartbreaking nature of "1883" or the violent, bloodletting ways of "The Revenant," then the series might just be up your alley.  

Who will star in American Primeval?

At the time of writing, only Taylor Kitsch has been cast in the series. There is no description in the show's logline of any further characters, nor is there any hint as to how many other main or supporting players the series will have at this time. 

Though he currently lacks supporting faces for "American Primeval," Kitsch himself turned to his Instagram to express his excitement about the project on December 6. "Honored to take (another) swing with this team. Gunna be a journey to say the least," his statement said. He also attached the show's logline to his post and tagged his character's name with hashtags, as well as #cantwait and #epicadventure. He then tagged producer/director Peter Berg and producer Eric Newman, as well as the official Netflix account. Kitsch, Newman, and Berg have also teamed up for the soon-to-be-released "Painkiller," which explores the development of the American opioid crisis. 

Interestingly enough, Kitsch added several emoji, including a horse head, a sword, a bow and arrow, an explosion, and a hatchet, to his post. Time will tell as to what these hints reveal about Isaac's future and the show's destiny.

Who will direct and produce American Primeval?

Per TV Line, action director Peter Berg will direct all six episodes of the series and co-produce it alongside Eric Newman. It comes, per Deadline, as the first project to be greenlit by the streamer since Berg signed a first-look deal with Netflix in 2021. While Newman is best known for "Narcos," Berg, an actor who initially gained fame via the CBS medical drama "Chicago Hope" and the film "The Last Seduction," has made a name for himself on both sides of the camera, and continues to keep his acting, producing and directing careers alive. 

As a director, Berg has helmed such memorable films as "The Rundown" and "Friday Night Lights." Berg also wrote the movie, and it spawned the beloved NBC drama in which Taylor Kitsch starred and Berg developed. More recently, he directed Will Smith's "Hancock" and "Deepwater Horizon." He has also headed a number of concert films and music videos.

While Berg responded to the announcement with a brief Instagram story, he was more verbose in a press release from Netflix. "We are very appreciative that Netflix is trusting us to take a big swing with 'American Primeval. I'm looking forward to taking viewers into the most dynamic, intense, and heart pounding survival tale humanly possible. We are going into the belly of the beast. Cheers to Ted, Bela, Peter and the entire Netflix team for the support!" Berg said in an official statement published in Variety.