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Deadwood Movie: First Teaser Trailer Has Arrived

Welcome back to Deadwood, guys and dolls. 

HBO has finally, after what has felt like three consecutive lifetimes spent in agony, released the first teaser trailer for the long-awaited Deadwood film — which now also has an official release date of Friday, May 31. 

Carrying a straight-shooting title, Deadwood: The Movie picks up several years after the events of the critically acclaimed Western series that lived for two years and three seasons on HBO. It reunites real-life Deadwood, South Dakota residents Al Swearengen, the owner of the Gem Saloon (played by Ian McShane), and Seth Bullock, a sheriff and the co-owner for Star & Bullock Hardware (portrayed by Timothy Olyphant). Per the network's rundown of Deadwood: The Movie, "former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested, and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought."

It isn't just the characters who are returning to Deadwood — it's the violence, too. As McShane's Swearengen recites over footage depicting hangings and shoot-outs and rough-and-tumble fights, "This town is a sanctuary. Every man worth a name knows the value of being unreachable."

At 55 seconds in length, the Deadwood: The Movie teaser is just that: a tease. It doesn't reveal more than it needs to about where the story is headed, but sufficiently whets everyone's appetites for the film they've been waiting to see for well over a decade — since Deadwood creator David Milch came to an agreement with HBO in 2006 (shortly after the original series got the ax in June of that year) that granted Milch the chance to make two, two-hour-long TV movies instead of a fourth season of Deadwood

There was much stop and start, yes and no, back and forth between the creatives behind the Deadwood films and the executives at HBO for years thereafter. Things didn't really pick up steam until three years ago, in early 2016, when HBO gave Milch the okay to get started on a script.

"David has our commitment that we are going to do it," then-HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told TVLine at the time. "He pitched what he thought generally the storyline would be — and knowing David, that could change. But it's going to happen ... The cast is unbelievably [tight]. Some casts and creators form a bond that becomes relevant for the rest of their lives. This was a defining moment for a lot of them."

Jump ahead to May 2018, and Deadwood: The Movie was a go at HBO. The network hired David Minahan of American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Game of Thrones, True Blood, and House of Cards fame to direct, and the project got in front of cameras in early November 2018.

It seems HBO is still on the hook for a second Deadwood film after this first one debuts in May, and lead actor McShane once admitted his confidence that a follow-up could happen. Discussing plot details during the Television Critics Association press tour in February, McShane said, "It ends leaving you wondering. If it makes $115 million, HBO will somehow find a way to do another one."

Deadwood: The Movie will probably make viewers cry as well, according to producer Carolyn Strauss. She revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the film's narrative, which explores the passing of time and how that has "not just struck Deadwood and the characters but all the people making it as well," drew tears from everyone on set, as did the momentousness of the Deadwood cast being back together again after so much time spent apart.

"It was really profound. Actors were crying at the table read," she said. "You normally have a great experience and then it's over. You don't normally get the chance to do this in life. It was kind of a gift."

Fans can look forward to seeing tons of other Deadwood townies again — like Alma Ellsworth (Molly Parker), Trixie (Paula Malcomson), Sol Star (John Hawkes), George Hearst (Gerald McRaney), Calamity Jane Canary (Robin Weigert), Doc Cochran (Brad Dourif), Charlie Utter (Dayton Callie), Martha Bullock (Anna Gunn), and many more — when Deadwood: The Movie debuts on HBO on Friday, May 31.