‘Dark Winds’ Season 2: What We Know So Far

TL;DR: 

  • Dark Winds premiered on AMC and AMC+ in June 2022; the season finale airs July 17. 
  • The show stars Zahn McClarnon and is based on a book series by Tony Hillerman.
  • Dark Winds Season 2 will have six episodes and air sometime in 2023.
Zahn McClarnon wearing a hat and touching his finger to his face in 'Dark Winds'
Zahn McClarnon as Joe Lepahorn in ‘Dark Winds’ | Michael Moriatis/Stalwart Productions/AMC

Dark Winds’ first season wraps up on July 17 on AMC. But fans won’t have to say goodbye to Zahn McClarnon’s Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn just yet. The show – which is based on a series of novels by Tony Hillerman – is set to return. Here’s what we know so far about Dark Winds Season 2. 

‘Dark Winds’ Season 2 is coming to AMC and AMC+ in 2023

More than 2 million people watched the first episode of Dark Winds, which premiered on June 19. Soon after the first episode of the noir-ish mystery dropped, AMC announced that the show would return for season 2. 

“This once-in-a-lifetime creative team and cast have delivered something truly special with Dark Winds,” Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks, said in a statement. “We can’t wait to share the rest of this thrill ride of a first season with the fans and follow Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee into a second season on AMC and AMC+ next year.”

McDermott also went on to praise series lead McClarnon, noting that he “brings humanity, authority and the wisdom of richly lived experiences to everything he does.”

The next season of ‘Dark Winds’ will have six episodes 

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Dark Winds Season 2 will have six episodes. McClarnon will return as Leaphorn, a Navajo Nation tribal police officer. Kiowa Gordon plays Chee, a new deputy who works with Leaphorn to investigate a series of seemingly unconnected crimes. 

Season 1 draws primarily from Hillerman’s 1978 novel Listening Woman, as well as from his 1980 book People of Darkness. So far, there’s no word on which book or books might form the basis for season 2. There are more than two dozen titles in the Leaphorn and Chee series, so there’s plenty of material that could provide inspiration. 

It took 30 years to bring the show to the screen 

Dark Winds had a long journey from page to screen. Actor-director Robert Redford is an executive producer on the show, and he’s been working on creating TV or film adaptations of Hillerman’s work since 1986. (He was involved in the 1991 movie The Dark Wind and the early 2000s PBS series Skinwalkers, which also featured the Chee and Leaphorn characters.)

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is also a producer on Dark Winds. He was friends with Hillerman, who died in 2008, and was quick to sign on when Redford reached out.

​​“These are books I loved,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “If I could help get them on the screen, introduce a whole new generation of people to the work of Tony Hillerman and to this world … Yeah. I was glad to sign on.” 

Dark Winds has a largely Native American cast, an 85% Native American crew, and an entirely Native American writing staff. Production takes place at Camel Rock Studios in New Mexico, the first Native American-owned film and TV studio. All those things make a big difference to McClarnon, who is Lakota.

“What I hope Dark Winds will do is open even more doors for crew and talent coming up,” he said. “The networks may be taking more chances on Native showrunners, allowing us to tell our own stories … We’re finally getting a chance.”

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