Paramount+ Sequel Series American Tragedies: Waco – The Trials Has Found Its Cast

Back in 2018, the Paramount Network released a miniseries called "Waco," about the real-life events in February 1993 when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) unleashed a bloody raid in Mount Carmel on the Branch Davidians religious community (or cult depending on who you ask) led by David Koresh. The raid led to a standoff, resulting in the deaths of four government agents and six Branch Davidians. Things were exacerbated, however, when during a 51-day siege initiated by the FBI, a fire broke out. The Mount Carmel Center was destroyed, and 76 members of the Branch Davidians were killed, including 25 children and Koresh. The story has been dramatized a multitude of times, and just about every true crime podcast ever made has tackled the story, but Paramount+ is continuing the conversation by covering the aftermath of the tragedy in "American Tragedies: Waco – The Trials."

Creators Drew and John Erick Dowdle will also serve as showrunners for "American Tragedies: Waco – The Trials," which will focus on, you guessed it, the trials that followed the Waco massacre. Regardless of how people feel about Koresh and the Branch Davidians, a lot of people were killed, and the government's participation in those deaths couldn't be ignored. The Michael Shannon-produced series has recently announced some of the cast, including David Costabile ("Breaking Bad," "Billions," "The Wire"), J. Smith-Cameron ("Rectify," "Succession"), John Hoogenakker ("Colony," "The Girlfriend Experience"), Keean Johnson ("Alita: Battle Angel," "Nashville"), and Abbey Lee ("The Neon Demon," "Old"). John Leguizamo has also signed on to star, reprising his role from the original series as Jacob Vazquez, an ATF agent who worked undercover during the lead up to Waco.

Examining Waco 30 years later

The massacre completely changed the state of America, and the fear mongering and moral panic presented at the trials sparked a bigger fallout than just corrupt injustice. The surviving members of the Branch Davidian were not given a fair trial, and the results of the tragedy added fuel to the fire of the growing 'Patriot' movement, leading to the events of the Oklahoma City bombing, and a homegrown militia of which we're still dealing with today in the forms of hate groups like the alt-right and the Proud Boys.

Costabile will play Judge Smith, who oversaw the trial of Branch Davidians who were charged with conspiracy to murder federal agents, with Cameron playing Lois Roden, the Prophetess of the Branch Davidians. Hoogenakker is playing Clive Doyle, Koresh's first and most dedicated follower who stood by the message of their group despite losing his child in the fire, Lee is playing Lee will play Carol Howe, a Southern debutante turned neo-Nazi turned government informant, and Johnson is playing Vernon Howell, aka the young version of David Koresh who believes to have been chosen by God as the next messiah.

"American Tragedies: Waco – The Trials is set to debut in 2023, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the tragic events.