Homicide investigations are challenging enough. But when you mix in extreme weather conditions, hostile locals and an isolated crime scene in one of the most remote parts of the country, the level of difficulty amplifies. The original Wind River movie, written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, tackled the complexities of homicide investigations in a rural Native American reservation in Wyoming. The much-anticipated sequel, Wind River: The Next Chapter, looks to up the ante with a completely new story and a different cast of characters.
According to Deadline, the sequel follows a wave of unsolved, ritualistic murders and one newly minted U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service tracker who's been tasked with investigating them. Only two familiar faces remain in the second installment of this neo-Western crime film, with the majority of the ensemble being new to the Wind River franchise. Original stars Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen are not returning, but the sequel does have a star-studded cast ready to take their place.
Also not hopping back on the Wind River bandwagon is the creator himself. Even though he wrote the original film -- for which he won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival -- Sheridan doesn't seem to be participating in any capacity this time around. Instead, the movie's directing reins will be held by Kari Skogland, with Patrick Massett and John Zinman listed as the writers.
So, which actors will be bringing this long-awaited sequel to the big screen? Let's take a look.
Martin Sensmeier returns as Chip Hanson
Without spoiling too much about the first movie, those who have seen it will be delighted that fan favorite Chip Hanson is making a comeback. Martin Sensmeier, who played Chip in the first installment, will reprise his role in the sequel, where his character has just started working as a tracker for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. He's soon thrown into an FBI homicide investigation that embroils him in "a desperate and dangerous fight between the authorities, a vigilante, and the Reserve he calls home."
Hailing from the Alaskan Native tribes Tlingit and Koyukon-Athabascan, Sensmeier made a name for himself in Hollywood with appearances in major series such as Westworld and 1883. An interview with Men's Fashion Post revealed that the actor is somewhat familiar with what it's like to live in a remote place like such as Wind River Reservation.
"I come from a small town of about 600 people in Southeast Alaska," he said. "It's a small fishing village. ... We were always out on the land, you know, I grew up poor but we were never deprived of anything because my dad was a great hunter. So we lived off the land and gathered foods and certain types of plants and berries and stuff like that. In those areas, nature is your education."
Gil Birmingham returns as Martin Hanson
The other reprisal is a name and face you'll definitely know -- especially if you're a Yellowstone fan. Gil Birmingham, who plays Thomas Rainwater in Paramount Network's hit series, will star once again as Martin in Wind River: The Next Chapter. While his character undoubtedly deals with a lot of loss in the first film, Birmingham told ICT back in 2018 that he was glad not to participate in a common negative stereotype surrounding many Indigenous people.
"I particularly like the idea -- and Taylor and I talked about this -- of my character being not part of poverty porn," he said. "My character portrayed the difficulty in trying to provide a better life for your children and your family, yet he has to watch them be swallowed up by the conditions and disillusionment and a fractured relationship between native tribes and the government."
Exactly how this piece of Birmingham's character will translate in the sequel remains to be seen.
Also joining the cast is Scott Eastwood, who's become quite the Hollywood heartthrob with roles in movies including Pacific Rim: Uprising and Suicide Squad. As with much of this sequel, we don't know anything about his character yet, but his presence -- especially considering that he's Clint Eastwood's son -- is sure to make for some exciting moments on the big screen.
Last year, the actor talked openly about being burned by Hollywood and the importance of working with quality directors and producers. "There are producers out there who are in the business of just making quantity," Eastwood told Insider. "They are just making movies for a certain price that they can sell internationally, and they don't really care how the movie turns out. That's not the business I want to be a part of."
"But I think, before I'm done or before I call it a day, I would like to tell a few stories that are passionate to me." Let's hope Wind River: The Next Chapter is one of those stories. The actor recently posted a behind-the-scenes video of filming on his Instagram with the caption: "Little bit of those Canadian Rockies to make you feel small on this planet."
Actor Alan Ruck -- of Speed, Twister and Ferris Bueller's Day Off fame and currently Succession fame -- was also recently announced to have joined the cast. The exact details of his role are still a mystery; but if he's anything like his infamous character Connor Roy, the Wind River Reservation might be in for a wild ride.
Another addition to the cast is longtime actor Jason Clarke, known for his roles in films including Zero Dark Thirty, Mudbound and Pet Sematary. His role is also TBD (at least to the public); but given his impressive resume? , his performance is sure to be a highlight.
Adding to the list of actors without a clear role is Chaske Spencer, who's become quite the household name thanks to his appearance in Twilight -- a fun fact he shares with his co-star, Birmingham. The actor has appeared in some one-off roles since that major Hollywood film, including The English with Emily Blunt.
You've likely seen actor Tatanka Means in something over the past few decades. Whether it was the hit film trilogy Maze Runner or the historical drama The Son, Means is undoubtedly a memorable face. Whom he plays in Wind River has yet to be revealed, but his presence is sure to bring something special to the cast.
You may not know her yet, as she only has two acting credits to her name, but Kali Reis must have some strong talent if she's joining this powerhouse cast. The Rhode Island-born actress was most recently seen in the series True Detective.
Isaac Arellanes as Carter Red Bow
We do have some (key word here) information about one new addition to the cast: an actor by the name of Isaac Arellanes. The newcomer is set to play Carter Red Bow, according to IMDb. While we don't know much other than the character's name, you may recognize the actor from his role as Ruben Reyna on the family-fantasy series Ghostwriter.
Alexis Victoria Bloom as Vera Nesbit
The cast also includes another newcomer, Alexis Victoria Bloom, who will play the character Vera Nesbit, according to IMDb. She's only starred in a few shorts and single-episode appearances since 2012, so this will be a major breakout role for the actress.
Italian actress Anna Primiani will also appear in the movie. She's still working her way up the Hollywood ladder, and a role in a film of this magnitude is sure to be the big break she's been hoping for.
When Does Wind River: The Next Chapter Come Out?
The film Wind River: The Next Chapter is currently in production in Calgary. That means we likely won't have a release date anytime soon. However, considering the huge cast that's been assembled and the anticipation surrounding the sequel, it's likely going to be a movie you don't want to miss.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Taylor Sheridan Streaming Guide: Where to Watch Everything From 'Sicario' to 'Yellowstone'
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