Right now, TV is dominated by Taylor Sheridan. Though he began his career as an actor in the likes of Sons of Anarchy, Taylor Sheridan reinvented himself as a screenwriter and director, and penned the scripts for critically acclaimed hits Sicario, Wind River, and Hell or High Water; three of the best movies of the 2010s.
With these, and his television behemoth Yellowstone, Sheridan has redefined the neo-Western genre. Yellowstone is undoubtedly one of the best TV series of the modern era, and its success has allowed Sheridan to launch two spin-off prequel series for Paramount Plus, 1883 and 1923, with many more left to come.
Unlike Yellowstone, 1883 and 1923 harken back to the era of the best Westerns, set in the aftermath of the American Civil War during the expansion of the American frontier. For the two shows, Sheridan was able to use his reputation and leverage to bring in a number of Hollywood’s biggest stars to join the Yellowstone cast. 1883 is led by the veteran Sam Elliott, while 1923’s star power is even greater thanks to Helen Mirren, Timothy Dalton, and Robert Patrick. Oh… and Harrison Ford.
Sheridan was able to bring Harrison Ford aboard without even giving the actor the chance to see a script: Ford had to sign on blind, only persuaded by the strength of Sheridan’s pitch and vision. Having Ford as the face of the second Yellowstone spin-off was a huge win for Sheridan, proving that the franchise was here to stay. And, the thing is, Ford might not even have been Sheridan’s biggest get.
In 1883, in the second episode, none other than Tom Hanks appears in a small cameo as General George Meade. It’s a minor role, and Hanks is only on screen for a matter of seconds. Nonetheless: with both Hanks and Ford in his TV franchise, Sheridan was right on the verge of smashing a four-decade Hollywood rule.
Ford and Hanks have both been active in Hollywood, alongside each other, since Hanks’ first role in the movie He Knows You’re Alone in 1980. Despite their status as two of the best actors of all time, the two have never shared the screen.
They’ve both collaborated more than once with Steven Spielberg, and both have made some of the best movies of all time: however, their status as leading men means that no director has ever been able to combine their talents for the same movie. By having both Ford and Hanks in the same franchise Sheridan has come the closest to breaking this unspoken Hollywood rule. If Hanks had made his cameo in 1923 instead of 1883, he would have shattered it entirely.
Prior to their roles in the earlier part of the Yellowstone timeline, Hanks and Ford were nearly a part of the same franchise as Hanks was meant to have a cameo role as a Stormtrooper in Solo: A Star Wars Story. It never happened though: a Hanks and Ford collaboration just isn’t meant to be. Perhaps the world wouldn’t be able to handle it.
If you’re after more from Yellowstone, check out our guide to the Yellowstone season 5 part 2 release date, and see what we know about the 1923 season 2 release date as well, before checking out what’s new on Paramount Plus this month.