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Kevin Costner's Horizon: An American Saga Is a Massive Epic

10/11/2023 • 4 min read

(Updated 02/26/2024)Horizon: An American Saga Chapter 1 | Cinemark

Ever since Kevin Costner launched his filmmaking career with DANCES WITH WOLVES in 1991 — a film which went on to win the Best Picture Oscar — the multi-hyphenate has worked on a huge canvas. He has, at times, also seemed like one of the few people keeping the Western alive. This extends even to his starring role on the series "Yellowstone," which became one of the biggest hits on TV, with Costner anchoring the cast.

Costner has since split from "Yellowstone," with some acrimony. But whatever negative feelings he took from the end of his run on the show might have been poured into his biggest project yet. HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGA is an epic Western movie series co-written, directed by, and starring Costner. The first two movies are set for release in the summer of 2024.

See the first full trailer for HORIZON and learn everything you need to know about the movie series below.

What's the Release Date for Horizon: An American Saga?

Chapter 1 of HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGA opens on June 28, 2024, and Chapter 2 opens on August 16.

Watch the First Trailer for Horizon: An American Saga

The title of Kevin Costner's new movie(s) promises something huge, and this first trailer certainly delivers. This is a birds-eye overview of the expansion of American settlers into the West seemingly during the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. We get an introduction to many of the film's characters, but don't know exactly how they relate to each other.

One interesting thing about this first HORIZON trailer is that it places the series squarely into Western movie history, with images that nod to several classic Westerns. Not just the obvious ones, either!

The very first image in the HORIZON trailer is a nod to one of the most-recreated shots in Western movie history: the silhouetted image of a man leaning in a doorway, most famously seen in John Ford's 1954 epic THE SEARCHERS. But then there's the image at the 2-minute mark, of the character played by Jamie Campbell Bower, who looks almost exactly like Jean-Louis Trintignant's character in Sergio Corbucci's classic THE GREAT SILENCE.

What Is the New Kevin Costner Western About?

The official synopsis of HORIZON doesn't tell us very much. The movies explore "the lure of the Old West and how it was won — and lost — through the blood, sweat and tears of many," including both American and European settlers and the Indigenous people on Comments made over the years suggest that HORIZON takes place during a span of 15 years before, during and after the Civil War. (DANCES WITH WOLVES was also a Civil War-era story.)

"It’s a really beautiful story; it’s a hard story," Costner told Variety last year. "It really involves a lot of women, to be honest. There are a lot of men in it, too, but the women are really strong in ‘Horizon.’ It’s just them trying to get by every day in a world that was impossibly tough. They were often [dragged] out to these places because that’s where the men wanted to go; women were following their men. They didn’t ask to be in these territories that were unsettled and dangerous, and life wasn’t easy. I’ve chosen to make sure that was really obvious, that that wasn’t easy, and how vulnerable people were."

How Many Movies Are in Horizon: An American Saga?

The announcement of the two HORIZON movies from Kevin Costner was probably the first most people heard of the project. The first teaser suggested that it is a two-movie deal.

But Variety reported last year that HORIZON is in fact planned as four movies, with two more that were set to film once the actor's strike of 2023 was resolved.

We don't know if the third and fourth chapters have filmed yet. The same trade report pegs the entire running time of the saga at about 11 hours.

Is Kevin Costner's Horizon One Long Story?

Well, yes and no. This isn't necessarily one serialized story that runs from the beginning of the first movie to the end of the last. In 2022, Costner described it as "different films that all connect, so you’re watching a saga of these storylines that are happening."

Who's in the Cast of Horizon: An American Saga?

Kevin Costner obviously leads the cast of HORIZON but this isn't just his show. The first teaser announces some of the cast, which includes Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Michael Rooker, Danny Huston, Luke Wilson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jeff Fahey, Will Patton, Tatanka Means, Owen Crow Shoe, Ella Hunt, Jamie Campbell Bower, Giovanni Ribisi, Thomas Haden Church, Alejandro Edda, Tom Payne, Wasé Chief, Tim Guinee, Michael Angarano, Colin Cunningham, Scott Haze, and Angus Macfadyen.

That's a massive lineup and it only scratches the surface. THR reports that in total the Saga is expected to have "more than 170 speaking roles." This project is MASSIVE.

Based on filming reports from last year, we know that the primary cast for the first movie is Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Ella Hunt, Will Patton, Luke Wilson, Isabelle Fuhrman and Thomas Haden Church. Actors like Glynn Turman, Kathleen Quinlan and Giovanni Ribisi won't show up until Chapter 2.

Kevin Costner Has Been Working on Horizon for Decades

While HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGA was able to move forward in part because of Costner's popularity thanks to "Yellowstone" — and it was financed that way, too, with Costner putting around $20m of his own money into the project — the seeds of this saga go back to the days of DANCES WITH WOLVES. Decades ago, Disney might have been the distributor for these movies.

While Costner has never said very much about the plot or characters of HORIZON, he has spoken often about the long process of developing it. In May 2023, he explained,

I commissioned this story in 1988. Single movie, two-hander. A conventional Western with a beginning, middle, and end. I couldn’t get anybody to make it. Then, right after I made OPEN RANGE and it performed pretty well, I had a chance with Disney. We had a $5 million difference. They had had a lot of money success with OPEN RANGE, but a $5 million difference kept them from making this movie. Now, I’m stubborn... Eight years later, I started thinking about the story, started writing with a partner, and it ended up being four screenplays.


The first chapter of HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGA opens on June 28.


All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

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