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OMG, Tom Hanks Has Joined Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone Universe

The highly anticipated Yellowstone prequel 1883 just announced another huge name that will appear alongside 1883's already-impressive cast. Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is set to pop up on the Paramount+ western epic, which features country music superstar Tim McGraw as James Dutton, as well as Sam Elliott, Faith Hill, Billy Bob Thornton and more. Just when you thought things couldn't get better, creator Taylor Sheridan went and Hanks-ed it.

Tom Hanks will reportedly appear in the second episode of 1883, per Deadline, and the cameo will see him help to bring some famous Civil War imagery to life, so to speak. The scene will take place during a flashback to the Battle of Antietam, where a dazed James Dutton will feel a gloved hand on his shoulder. And who's on the other end of that glove? That's right, Tom Hanks' character from The Polar Express. No, that's not it. It'll be Hanks as a Union general whose appearance is inspired by Gen. George Meade. 

While Tom Hanks’ role will apparently be a small one, it looks like fans will be in for more familiar faces, as Taylor Sheridan said the first season of 1883 will contain several similar A-lister appearances. They weren't kidding about the spinoff being an epic companion series to Yellowstone proper. So now the question is: does it make sense for Helen Mirren or Ben Affleck to fit into the Duttons' cross-country journey in any way?  

Hanks reportedly filmed his scene for 1883 in one day outside Weatherford, Texas. The Battle of Antietam is infamously known as the bloodiest day in American history, as 22,717 soldiers from both sides of the Civil War were reported dead.

While Hanks, who won back-to-back Academy Awards for Best Actor for his beloved roles in Philadelphia (1994) and Forrest Gump (1995), making an appearance on a series is an unusual move for the actor, the role makes sense, as he is well-known to be a history buff. Hopefully, the events depicted in 1883 are up to snuff, as the Greyhound star has said that he finds some war portrayals lacking (specifically those concerning the U.S. Navy).

Taylor Sheridan’s 1883 will tell the origin story of the Dutton family, as they embark on a journey west, leaving Texas for the promised land of Montana. The prequel spinoff, which is set more than a century before the original series, will reportedly have a bigger budget than Yellowstone. As Sheridan has proved he can make impressively beautiful television with less money, I wonder if some of that extra cash is being used to attract such amazing talent to make guest appearances?

The first two episodes of 1883 will be available for streaming on Paramount+ on Sunday, December 19. The series will also air in a linear fashion on Paramount Network following new episodes of its flagship series, Yellowstone. In the meantime, check out our 2021 fall TV schedule to see what else is coming up this month, and get a look ahead to next year with our 2022 TV schedule.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.