On the set of the Paramount+ series 1923
Emerson Miller/Paramount+

'Yellowstone' Prequel Series '1944': Everything Fans Need to Know

Looks like the Duttons are facing WWII next.

Paramount has confirmed that the "Yellowstone" prequel series "1944," which was previously reported in February, has officially been given the green light. On Nov. 2, the network announced that "Yellowstone" Season 5, Part 2 will air in Nov. 2024, putting an end to the flagship series. There's no word yet on whether Kevin Costner would return as John Dutton in the final batch of episodes. But the Sheridan-verse isn't going anywhere: The "Yellowstone" prequel "1944" and spinoff, dubbed "2024," will continue the Dutton family legacy.

"Within five years, we grew 'Yellowstone' from a hit U.S. cable show with five million viewers into a global hit franchise with over 100 million fans around the world and multiple extensions - and, we're just getting started," said Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of Showtime & MTV Entertainment Studios, per Variety. "On the heels of '1883' and '1923's' success, our new planned spinoffs, '1944' and '2024,' will take audiences on a thrilling, new and unexpected journey with the complex and compelling storytelling that has become a hallmark of the franchise and has helped turn it into a worldwide cultural phenomenon — thanks to the creative mastermind of Taylor Sheridan."

Paramount Network officials revealed that "1944" was in development back in February. At a thank-you event in Hamilton, Montana (where both "Yellowstone" and "1923" are filmed), Tom Prince, executive vice president of 101 Studios, described "1944" as a follow-up to "1923," the Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren starrer that wrapped its first season in February:

"We've got '1923,' we've got the sequel. We're not letting the cat out of the bag. It's going to be called '1944,'" Prince said, according to Hamilton-based outlet Ravalli Republic.

Information is scant right now about the who, what and where of the upcoming series. (Is "1944" the previously-announced second season of "1923," or a separate show entirely?) But we've pieced together a few hints to paint a fuller picture of the "Yellowstone" prequel "1944," including potential plot points, locations, premiere date and characters we might see in the period drama.

What's the Plot of '1944'?

While plot details are being kept under wraps, it's safe to assume "1944" will dramatize the effects of World War II on the Dutton family ranch. "1923," starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren as Jacob and Cara Dutton, is a Depression-era drama that grapples with historic events, including Prohibition and record-breaking drought.

"1944" could follow "1923's" lead and use WWII as both a backdrop and a plot engine. Perhaps we'll see some Duttons go off to war. Action set pieces in the "Yellowstone" universe have been increasingly audacious, going back to the sprawling wagon train epic of "1883." Or maybe U.S. military operations will move into the wide open west, threatening the Dutton family's way of life.

When Will '1944' Air?

"1944" is still in development, and it's unlikely the prequel series will hit screens before the Nov. 2024 "Yellowstone" series finale. Add to that the just-concluded writers' strike and the ongoing actors' strike, and a 2025 premiere date is our best bet.

Where Will '1944' Be Filmed?

As ever, "1944" will film at least partially at the Chief Joseph Ranch in Montana, which doubles as the Yellowstone Ranch. "My guess is that it'll be shooting largely in the Bitterroot Valley because it has to take place at what is Chief Joseph Ranch," Prince said of the prequel series' filming plans. (Now, if those WWII theories are correct, we could see some amazing on-location shoots in Europe as well.)

The Cast of '1944'

Helen Mirren, Darren Mann and Michelle Randolph in "1923." (Christopher Saunders/Paramount+)

No official casting announcements have been made, but recent headlines suggest that, like the Harrison Ford-led "1923," Paramount could be searching for a big-name star to front "1944."

Matthew McConaughey will reportedly be starring in a new "Yellowstone" sequel series. Does that mean "2024" will essentially be a McConaughey-led "Yellowstone" Season 6? Or will the Texas native star in the long-gestating spinoff "6666," set at the famed Four Sixes Ranch owned by Taylor Sheridan? We can't say just yet what McConaughey's spinoff will entail, but it's sure enough that he won't be leading the prequel series "1944."

Nevertheless, we've got some ideas for "1923" characters who could carry over to "1944's" wartime Montana. Most of the actors below would have to be recast, as their characters will have aged more than 20 years since the events of "1923." (We won't see Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren's Jacob and Cara Dutton, unless the pair canonically live to be over a hundred years old.)

Jack Dutton (Darren Mann): John Dutton Sr.'s son and great-nephew to Jacob Dutton. Jack is dedicated to the upkeep of the Dutton family ranch. If he's in "1944," he'll likely be running the ancestral seat.

Elizabeth Strafford Dutton (Michelle Randolph): Jack Dutton's feisty betrothed.

John Dutton II: The son of Jack and Elizabeth Dutton, and the father of Kevin Costner's John Dutton III. While we haven't seen his birth yet in "1923," John Dutton II should be a young man during the events of "1944."

Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar): The younger brother of John Dutton. A World War I veteran, an aged-up Spencer could speak to the horrors of war in "1944" — that is, if he survives "1923" Season 2.

Alexandra (Julia Schlaepfer): Spencer Dutton's betrothed.

The Dutton-verse is ever-expanding, and so is the list of notable Dutton names. Here's a handy family tree to help you brush up on your "Yellowstone" trivia.

READ MORE: 'Yellowstone' Is Ending, Get Ready For the New Sequel