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Waco: The Aftermath - Everything You Need To Know

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April 19, 2023 will mark the 30th anniversary of the end of the Waco siege — the notorious disaster in which federal agents stormed a rural Texas compound that was occupied by the Branch Davidian cult. The standoff began when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents attempted to raid the compound after the cult's leader, David Koresh, had been accused of both child abuse and illegally stockpiling weapons. Unfortunately, the situation soon deteriorated into a nightmare — one depicted in Showtime's "Waco" miniseries, which aired in 2018 on the Paramount Network. 

In the acclaimed yet controversial show, Taylor Kitsch played David Koresh, and we watched as the fateful standoff ended in flames. However, just because the Branch Davidian compound burned down, that doesn't mean the Waco story ended there. Now, we'll see the follow-up events play out in "Waco: The Aftermath," a miniseries that examines how the infamous siege set off a series of disastrous tragedies that we're still reeling from today. If you want to know what to expect about this explosive drama, read on for everything we know so far about "Waco: The Aftermath."

What is the release date for Waco: The Aftermath?

Nearly three decades ago, the Waco siege came to a disastrous end, and "Waco: The Aftermath" will premiere just days before the tragedy's 30th anniversary. The series will begin airing weekly episodes on April 16, 2023, with five episodes in total. While the original series, "Waco," aired on the Paramount Network, the sequel series will play on Showtime. However, if you have a Showtime streaming account, you can start watching it early on April 14.

What is the plot of Waco: The Aftermath?

Like the title suggests, the new series will deal with the fallout of the infamous disaster. Mostly, that will take the shape of a courtroom drama, with several former members of the Branch Davidian cult on trial for their crimes and facing the possibility of life in prison. Many characters from the first series will be reprising their roles here, on both sides of the law — more on them below. The series will also delve into the origins of David Koresh and the Branch Davidian cult, which will mainly be told via flashback. 

But "Waco: The Aftermath" has grander ambitions than just telling the story of the Waco trials. It will also cover topics like domestic terrorism and the rise of the American militia movement. Part of the series will tell the story of domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh, who's most well-known for orchestrating the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing that killed 168 and wounded 680 in April 1995. McVeigh was drawn to the Waco siege and even attempted to approach the compound to witness the events, but authorities turned him away. "Waco: The Aftermath" will also tie these themes into the storming of the Capitol Building on January 6, 2020.

Who is starring in Waco: The Aftermath?

"Waco: The Aftermath" will feature several cast members from the original series, and it will also bring in several new faces. Michael Shannon is back as FBI hostage negotiator Gary Noesner, and Shea Whigam will return as FBI Special Agent Mitch Decker, who was depicted as partially responsible for bungling the Waco standoff. John Leguizamo is returning as Jacob Vasquez, the FBI agent sent into the Waco compound to gather evidence, and Annika Marks will reprise her role as Kathy Schroeder, a Branch Davidian who has to testify at the trial.

As for newcomers, Giovanni Ribisi of "Avatar" and "Sneaky Pete" will play the Branch Davidians' defense attorney, Dan Codgdell. He'll be joined by Gary Cole of "Office Space" as private investigator Gordon Novell. You can also expect to see J. Smith-Cameron of "Succession" fame as Branch Davidian leader Lois Roden. And while Taylor Kitsch isn't coming back, the part of David Koresh will be played by Keean Johnson ("Alita: Battle Angel") in flashbacks.

Alex Breaux of "See" will be playing terrorist Timothy McVeigh, and Abbey Lee of "Mad Max: Fury Road" will portray Carol Howe, a woman who becomes a government informant. Rounding out the cast, we've got Michael Cassidy ("The O.C."), Sasheer Zamata ("Saturday Night Live"), John Hoogenakker ("Chicago Fire"), Nicholas Kolev ("NCIS: Los Angeles"), Michael Luwoye ("Hamilton"), Kali Rocha ("Liv and Maddie"), and Michael Vincent Barry ("Better Call Saul").

Who is writing, directing, and producing Waco: The Aftermath?

Brothers Drew and John Erick Dowdle will be serving as creators, showrunners, directors, and executive producers on the series. They're most well-known for horror films like "The Poughkeepsie Tapes" and "Quarantine" and the thriller "No Escape." It's likely they'll be writing a bulk of the scripts for "Waco: The Aftermath," as they did for the "Waco" miniseries–both brothers wrote three of the six scripts for that season. It's unclear if they'll be handling all of the writing duties this time around, or if they'll farm out some scripts to other writers. It's also not clear if both brothers will be directing all of the episodes themselves. In the first season of "Waco," John Erick Dowdle is credited as the sole director on three of the six episodes.

Also executive producing are husband-and-wife writer-director duo Andrew Gettens and Lauren Mackenzie, plus David C. Glasser, David Hutkin, Bob Yari and Ron Burkle of 101 Studios and Gary Barber of Spyglass. Taylor Kitsch and Michael Shannon will be executive producing as well.

Is there a trailer for Waco: The Aftermath?

The official trailer for "Waco: The Aftermath" opens with grim tidings for what's to come. "I feel this undercurrent of rage in America," Michael Shannon's Gary Noesner says. "It's trying to ignite civil war." We watch as the horror of what happened in that Texas town spread out across the country, inspiring anger and fury and violence. As a haunting version of REM's "Losing My Religion" plays, we see right-wing groups begin formulating a plan, and we watch as Timothy McVeigh begins plotting his devastating attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. "The siege was just the beginning," the trailer's tagline reads, and things are only going to get more violent from here.

Where to watch Waco

"Waco: The Aftermath" will have to pick up quite a few character and plot threads from the original series. After all, 2018's "Waco" laid a lot of groundwork and will motivate everything we see in the follow-up show. If you need to revisit the infamous siege to refresh your memory about what went down or if you want to check out the miniseries for the first time, we've got you covered. You can stream "Waco" on Paramount+ and Showtime, or you can buy the show for $10.99 on Google Play and Vudu or $14.99 on Apple iTunes and Prime Video.