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One of Justified’s best characters was nearly killed in the pilot

One of the best Justified characters almost didn't make it past the pilot, but fans of the western series are glad they ended up not getting killed off.

Timothy Olyphant as Raylan in Justified: City Primeval

Justified is on the minds of many right now, and understandably so; news broke last year that star Timothy Olyphant is returning for a spin-off of one of the best westerns according to fans — likely thanks in part to Yellowstone‘s massive success.

The Justified: City Primeval release date is July 18, 2023, on FX. If you’ve been rewatching the drama series or looking back fondly on it, you may be interested in this fun bit of Justified cast trivia.

One of the best Justified characters was meant to be killed off in the pilot episode. Walton Goggins’ Boyd Crowder — Raylan Givens’ sometimes friend sometimes foe — was supposed to end his run in the very first episode of the TV series, initially planned to be shot to death by Raylan.

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If you go back, the pilot does end with Boyd’s fate hanging in the balance after being shot by Raylan, but showrunner Graham Yost saw lots of potential for the casting and changed his mind, as he explained in an NPR interview.

“When we decided to keep Boyd alive, that was a big decision. When we shot the pilot, Boyd was dead at the end of [it]. And then we tested the show and we had all just fallen in love with Walton and the chemistry between Walton and Tim [Timothy Olyphant], so we decided to keep him alive.” As the series evolved, it became clear this choice paid dividends as Walton brought duality to the narrative against Olyphant’s Raylan.

For more great television, check out the best drama series, best thriller series, or the best TV series of all time. And catch up with another recent Olyphant role in the Star Wars series The Mandalorian on Disney Plus.