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Pistol: Premiere Date, Cast And Other Things We Know About Danny Boyle’s Sex Pistols Limited Series

The Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen" viddo
(Image credit: Virgin)

In 1975, a band by the name of the Sex Pistols came onto the scene and forever changed the music industry and pop culture with a smash mouth style we know today as punk rock. Although not the first punk band, nor (some would argue) the best, the Sex Pistols quickly became the face and attitude of the movement that swept across the United Kingdom, the United States, and the world in short order, inspiring countless bands along the way.

The story of groundbreaking band’s meteoric rise and legacy will be covered in great detail in the upcoming biographical drama FX limited series, Pistol, which will show how a handful of angsty Brits turned turned society on its head. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming limited series, including its release date, cast, and if you’ll be hearing any of those legendary Sex Pistols tracks when it premieres.

FX on Hulu logo

(Image credit: Hulu)

Pistol Premieres May 31 On Hulu 

Pistol is technically an FX production, but the six-part limited series will be exclusive to Hulu in the United States when it premieres May 31 on the popular platforms. But unlike some of the other great Hulu shows, the story of the Sex Pistols will be available in full on the day of its release, making for a great binge session for longtime fans of the band and punk rock historians. 

FX has also announced that series will be available on Disney+ on the same day in the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. 

Toby Wallace on Romper Stomper; Maisie Williams in The New Mutants; Thomas Brodie-Sangster on The Queen's Gambit

(Image credit: Stan; Searchlight Pictures; Netflix)

The Pistol Cast Includes Toby Wallace, Maisie Williams, And Thomas Brodie-Sangster

When Pistol premieres on Hulu come May, it will feature a young and exciting cast with a handful of big-time names portraying icons of the early punk movement and the London scene in the mid-1970s. Toby Wallace will be leading the series as Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, with Anson Boon playing frontman Johnny Rotten, Christian Lees portraying the band’s original bassist Glen Matlock, Jacob Slater taking on drummer Paul Cook, Dylan Llewellyn as guitarist Wally Nightingale, and Louis Partridge stepping in as the young and ill-fated punk icon, Sid Vicious.

Other key figures of that era are set to be portrayed throughout the series, with Maisie Williams playing fashion icon Pamela Rooke, a.k.a. Jordan, Thomas Brodie-Sangster portraying Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. Emma Appleton will be taking on the role of Sid Vicious’ girlfriend and alleged murder victim Nancy Spungen, who was previously portrayed by Chloe Webb in the 1986 biographical drama, Sid and Nancy, alongside Gary Oldman.

The Sex Pistols on The Grundy Show

(Image credit: ITV)

Pistol Chronicles The Rise Of Punk Outfit Sex Pistols

Over the course of the show’s six episodes, Pistol will chronicle the rise of the Sex Pistols and how the band helped lead a revolution in popular music. According to the show’s official logline, the upcoming limited series will feature a story of a band of “spotty, noisy, working class kids” who didn’t really see a future for themselves.

How much of the Sex Pistols’ story is included in Pistol has not been revealed at this time, but expect for all the major moments of the band’s legendary, and brief, run to be included in some shape or form.

The Sex Pistols "Holidays in the Sun" video

(Image credit: Virgin)

The Series Is Based On Steve Jones Memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol

When show creator Craig Pearce and co-writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce set out to tell the Sex Pistols’ story, they drew from Steve Jones’ 2016 memoir: Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, which broke down the story of how a group of young men drew from their past experiences to create one of the most notable rock and roll bands of all time and helped usher in a phenomenon that transcended music and changed culture while also impacting the lives of millions of people for years to come.

The Trainspotting cast

(Image credit: Miramax)

Academy Award Winner Danny Boyle Directed Pistol

Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle, who took home a Best Director Oscar for his work on the fantastic Slumdog Millionaire, helmed all six episodes of Pistol, which has to be another reason for fans of the Sex Pistols, punk, and the filmmaker’s body of work to check it out. In addition to sitting behind the camera of the new limited series, Boyle also served as one its executive producers. Although he has worked in the medium before, Pistol is Boyle’s biggest TV commitment in his more than 30-year career. He previously directed episodes of Screenplay, Inspector Morse, and Trust

The limited series is also Boyle’s first project since completing the music-centric 2019 comedy, Yesterday. Music has long been a focus of Boyle’s work, especially with the 1996 dark comedy Trainspotting, which featured one of the best soundtracks of the 1990s, with songs from Iggy Pop, New Order, Sleeper, Lou Reed, and Blur among others.

The Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen" video

(Image credit: Virgin)

Pistol’s Producers Wanted To Work With Sex Pistols Frontman John Lydon But Had No Luck

Considering Pistol will be tackling the Sex Pistols story with more depth than ever before, you can see why Danny Boyle and the rest of the show’s producers wanted the band’s frontman, Johnny Rotten (real name John Lydon), to participate in the production in some form. But, that just wasn’t in the cards as no one from the show could get ahold of the punk rock pioneer despite their best efforts. 

When speaking with Deadline, Danny Boyle revealed that he couldn’t get past Lydon’s manager. Despite that, Boyle expressed his appreciation for Lydon and sounded hopeful that the icon will watch the show so and realize how much everyone involved loves his work.

The Sex Pistols "Holidays in the Sun" video

(Image credit: Virgin)

Pistol Is Expected To Feature The Sex Pistols’ Music

Having a show about the Sex Pistols without featuring “Anarchy in the U.K.,” “God Save the Queen,” or “Holidays in the Sun” would make it a hard watch for fans of the band, but luckily it appears that won’t be the case. Though the exact songs used in the upcoming series have yet to be revealed, the show’s producers have been cleared to use the material throughout the six-part limited series, following a bitter legal battle between John Lydon and his former bandmates after the singer attempted to block their usage, per The Guardian.

The gist of the legal fight came down to Steve Jones and Paul Cook being able to invoke what are called “majority voting rules” against Lydon, who was vehemently opposed to licensing the catalog of music, with a British court pointing to an agreement signed by the band in 1998 which made it so that all decisions could be decided with a majority vote.

We will have to wait until May 31 to see how Pistol plays out, but there are still plenty of other great 2022 TV shows to keep track of in the meantime.

Philip Sledge
Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.