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Showrunner Chad Feehan Explains Why Lawmen: Bass Reeves Has No Connection To 1883 - Exclusive

Fans of Taylor Sheridan have been eagerly awaiting his latest series, "Lawmen: Bass Reeves," ever since his hit "Yellowstone" origin story "1883" aired its final episode back in early 2022. At the time, "Bass Reeves" was thought to be an extension of "1883," which featured Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as the first generation of Duttons to lay claim to the expansive Yellowstone ranch. But in the end, it turned out to be unrelated to "1883" or any other show in the "Yellowstone" universe Sheridan has created.

In fact, Sheridan passed the reins of the series, which is now streaming on Paramount+, to Chad Feehan — a rising star in the industry who takes top billing as creator/showrunner of the small-screen dramatization of the real-life Reeves, who was the first Black Deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River in the late 1800s. (Sheridan is still an executive producer of the series that stars David Oyelowo, Dennis Quaid, and Donald Sutherland.)

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Feehan briefly explained how "Lawmen: Bass Reeves" lost its connection to "1883" once he took charge of the eight-episode limited series. "That was before my time, so I wasn't really a part of those conversations," he said, adding, "When I was hired, there was a brief conversation about whether there was an '1883' tie-in that I wanted to do in my storytelling, saying, 'You have the freedom to do that. But if there's not, you don't have to.' Once I decided where the story began and ended, we took that and ran with it."

Feehan didn't feel pressured to tie Bass Reeves into 1883

The shift from "1883" spin-off to a standalone series didn't deter Taylor Sheridan from staying involved with "Lawmen: Bass Reeves." In fact, Chad Feehan admitted that while Sheridan gave him "a ton of freedom and autonomy" with the series, the TV mogul was hands-on when needed.

"Taylor came in at beautiful moments and sprinkled some of his magical storytelling dust on the episodes," said Feehan. "When it came to production, he has built this incredibly well-oiled machine that helped us execute what was on the page. In post[-production], he was there as well, sprinkling that magical dust that's so innate to him and his ability to craft a story."

While "Lawmen: Bass Reeves" is currently billed as an eight-episode limited series, both Feehan and Sheridan are hoping to create future iterations that will follow other iconic lawmen and outlaws who have impacted history.

"Lawmen: Bass Reeves" streams exclusively on Paramount+, with new episodes every Sunday. A special sampling of the series will air on CBS on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT following an episode of "Yellowstone."