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Waco: The Aftermath: What We Know So Far

April 19 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Waco siege, the notorious disaster in which federal agents stormed a rural Texas compound near Waco that was occupied by the Branch Davidian cult. The standoff first began on February 28, 1993, when agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms attempted to raid the compound after the cult's leader, David Koresh, had been accused of both chilld abuse as well as illegally stockpiling weapons. It's unknown which side fired first, but an initial skirmish left four federal agents dead as well as six Branch Davidians. Over the next 51 days, the government surrounded the compound and attempted David Koresh to release his remaining followers and surrender. After many repeated attempts to negotiate with Koresh, Attorney General Janet Reno decided that Koresh would never surrender and gave the order to storm the compound. When it was all over, 75 more Branch Davidians had died.

The "Waco" miniseries dramatized these events over six episodes that aired on the Paramount Network in 2018, with "Friday Night Lights'" Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh–which required him to completely transform himself for the role. Now, the series is returning with an encore called "Waco: The Aftermath." Here's everything we know about it so far.

What is the release date for Waco: The Aftermath?

According to Variety, "Waco: The Aftermath" will begin airing weekly on April 16, 2023, with five episodes total. It will air on Showtime, but if you have a Showtime streaming account you can start watching it early on April 14. It was originally supposed to air on Paramount+. The move to Showtime comes as Paramount Global is in the process of merging both networks. Eventually, the one network will be called "Paramount+ With Showtime." 

If you haven't yet seen the original "Waco," Showtime has you covered. The channel will re-air the six-episode series beginning on March 5, although it will also be available on the streaming platform beginning on March 3. If you'd prefer to binge your way through "Waco" before then, it's currently available via subscription on Paramount+, Amazon Prime Video, The Roku Channel, and on YouTube with a primetime subscription. Individual episodes are also available on Google Play and Vudu for $1.99 a pop.

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 American 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 in the cast of Waco: The Aftermath?

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

Newcomers include: David Costabile, who will play Judge Smith, presiding over the trial; Giovanni Ribisi, who will play the Branch Davidians' lawyer Dan Cogdell; Gary Cole, who will play "relentless private investigator" Gordon Novell; Michael Cassidy, who will play lead prosecutor Bill Johnston; and Sasheer Zamata, who will play ATF agent Angie Graham. 

There will also be several new faces playing members of the Branch Davidian cult who weren't featured in the first series. They include: Keean Johnson, who will play a young Vernon Howell, aka David Koresh; J. Smith-Cameron, who will play Lois Roden, the leader of Branch Davidians when Vernon Howell/David Koresh arrived; John Hoogenakker, who will play Koresh's first follower Clive Doyle; Nicholas Kolev, who will play Branch Davidian Paul Fatta; Michael Luwoye, who will play Branch Davidian and Biblical scholar Livingstone Fagan; Kali Rocha, who will play Branch Davidian Ruth Riddle; Michael Vincent Barry, who will play early Branch Davidian leader George Roden; Abbey Lee, who will play Carol Howe, a "former Southern debutante turned neo-Nazi arm candy turned government informant." Finally, Alex Breaux will play Timothy McVeigh.

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.