Michael Shannon Will Executive Produce Upcoming Paramount+ Series American Tragedies: Waco - The Trials

Michael Shannon, who played the FBI lead Gary Noesner in the 6-part TV miniseries, "Waco," will executive produce a follow-up series for Paramount+ called "American Tragedies: Waco – The Trials." The new streaming series hails from the same creators, John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle, and it will air next year in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the siege and standoff between the Branch Davidian religious group and government and law enforcement officials near Waco, Texas.

In addition to Shannon, "Waco" starred Taylor Kitsch as cult leader David Koresh, and its stacked ensemble cast also included Andrea Riseborough, Paul Sparks, Rory Culkin, Shea Wigham, Melissa Benoist, Julia Garner, Glenn Fleshler, and John Leguizamo in an Emmy-nominated role. The series dramatized the events that transpired when the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) attempted to serve a warrant on the Branch Davidian compound for stockpiling weapons. The ensuing 51-day standoff led to a siege and fire that resulted in the deaths of 82 people.

According to Deadline, "American Tragedies: Waco – The Trials" will "explore the wide-ranging fallout following these events and the uneven scales of justice the surviving Branch Davidians faced." The series will furthermore "delve into how the horrific events fueled the emerging 'Patriot' movement, which ultimately led to the most destructive act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history – the Oklahoma City bombing."

The link between Waco and Oklahoma City

The Dowdle brothers have a background in horror, having written, directed, and produced such films as "The Poughkeepsie Tapes" and "Quarantine." With "Waco," they turned their sights on a real-life horror that was all over the news in 1993.

As The New York Times reported at the time, Timothy McVeigh, one of the two domestic terrorists behind the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, "visited the Davidians' site and came away voicing outrage at the deaths of sect members." "American Tragedies: Waco – The Trials" will draw a line between these two events in American history.

The description of this series, produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios, doesn't specify whether it will be a direct sequel and continued dramatization, or whether it will be taking a more documentary approach. But it does make it sound like it will encompass a longer time frame.

Andrew Gettens and Lauren Mackenzie are also attached to "American Tragedies: Waco – The Trials" as writers and executive producers. Production on the series is getting underway this week in Santa Fe, New Mexico. If it releases during the 30th anniversary of the Waco siege, as reported, that would bring "American Tragedies: Waco – The Trials" to Paramount+ sometime between February 28, 2023, and April 19, 2023.