Jeremy Renner in 'Wind River' (2017)
The Weinstein Company

'Wind River: Rising': Everything You Need to Know About Taylor Sheridan's 'Wind River' Sequel

Sheridan's 2017 crime epic is getting a star-studded sequel.

Taylor Sheridan is best known as the architect of the ever-expanding "Yellowstone" TV world, with a growing slate of Dutton-verse spinoffs ("1923," "2024") and fresh takes on the Western genre ("Tulsa King," "Land Man"). But the Oscar nominee's singular talents were cemented before John Dutton graced our screens. Now, Taylor Sheridan's 2017 directorial debut "Wind River" is getting a star-studded sequel, with Scott Eastwood and Jason Clarke joining a few original cast members.

Sheridan wrote the landmark "Sicario" (2015) hoping that the FBI thriller set at the U.S.-Mexico border would be the first installment in a trilogy about "the modern-day American frontier." His next script, 2016's Texas heist movie "Hell or High Water," earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Then, in 2017, Sheridan gained auteur status with "Wind River," which he wrote and directed. The film won him the Un Certain Regard prize for Best Director—which honors arthouse cinema—at the Cannes Film Festival. 

"Wind River" starred Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen as a Fish and Wildlife tracker and an FBI agent investigating a murder on the Wind River Reservation. A sequel to the critically-acclaimed film was announced in late 2022. "Wind River: Rising" (previously titled "Wind River: The Next Chapter"), now in production, is directed by veteran TV helmer Kari Skogland, whose credits include "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," "The Handmaid's Tale" and "The Walking Dead." Martin Sensmeier ("1883") will star, reprising his role as Wind River local Chip Hanson.

What can we expect from the continuation of this intense and compelling story? Here's everything we know so far about "Wind River: Rising."

Is Taylor Sheridan Involved in the 'Wind River' Sequel?

Taylor Sheridan wrote and directed the original "Wind River," but the Western whisperer has no involvement in the sequel. Canadian filmmaker Kari Skogland directs from a script by Emmy-nominated "Friday Night Lights" veterans Patrick Massett and John Zinman. Matthew George, a "Wind River" producer, has a story credit on the sequel film.

Undoubtedly, Sheridan's touch will be missed on the "Wind River" sequel. But with Skogland's impressive TV resume and recent move toward larger-scale productions (like the upcoming "Cleopatra" biopic fronted by Gal Gadot), we're in good hands.

What Is 'Wind River: Rising' About?

Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner in Wind River (2017)

Fred Hayes/The Weinstein Company

The ending of "Wind River" doesn't necessarily beg for a follow-up, but "Wind River" sequel writers Patrick Massett and John Zinman have apparently crafted a story that will delve deeper into the horrors that have occurred on the Wind River Reservation, a real Reservation located in central Wyoming.

"Wind River: Rising" will reportedly focus on a new wave of unsolved murders on the Reservation that are of the ritualistic variety. Martin Sensmeier returns as Chip Hanson, who's now a tracker for U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The FBI enlists Chip's help to close the case, plunging him into "a desperate and dangerous fight between the authorities, a vigilante and the Reservation he calls home."

The 'Wind River: Rising' Cast

Actor Martin Sensmeier attends the Los Angeles premiere of "Normal Ain't Normal" at Ray Kurtzman Theater on September 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California

Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

While Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen will not reprise their roles in the "Wind River" sequel, a bevy of original cast members and talented new recruits have been announced.

In addition to Martin Sensmeier's return as Chip Hanson, "Yellowstone" veteran Gil Birmingham will reprise his role as Chip's father, Martin Hanson, in the sequel. The first film saw the Hanson family wracked by tragedy when their daughter Natalie was murdered.

Newcomers include Scott Eastwood ("Fast X"), the always-excellent Jason Clarke ("Oppenheimer") and Emmy-nominated "Succession" alum Alan Ruck. Chaske Spencer, who received a BAFTA nomination for his role opposite Emily Blunt in 2023's "The English," also joins the ensemble. Kali Reis ("Catch the Fair One"), and Tatanka Means ("Killers of the Flower Moon") round out the cast.

Is 'Wind River' Based on a True Story?

"Wind River" is entirely fictional, but the story was inspired by the very real lack of resources and data on missing and murdered Indigenous women. Sheridan told Newsweek in 2017 that he wanted to shine a light on how the justice system has failed women and girls living on Reservations:

"The social issues that Native Americans face are the same as in other parts of the country: Domestic abuse, poverty, drug addiction, alcoholism. But on the Reservation, no one is watching or listening," he said. "While missing person statistics are compiled for every other demographic, none exist for Native American women. I had two attorneys spend three months trying to get that statistic. But no one knows how many are missing."

While Sheridan is not involved in the sequel, it's safe to assume that the spirit of "Wind River"—to give voice to those who are too often neglected—will live on in the follow-up.

'Wind River: Rising' Release Date

The "Wind River" sequel is currently in production in Calgary, with no release date announced. Check back here for any updates.

READ MORE: Everything We Know About the Upcoming 'Yellowstone' Spinoff '2024'