The latest DC/Vertigo television adaptation, following in the footsteps of I, Zombie and Preacher is headed to WGN in Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera’s Scalped – one of the great later period Vertigo comics, which plays a bit like a dry run for his and Jason LaTour’s Eisner Award-winning Southern Bastards. But really, it shouldn’t be described in such reductive terms, it was a fabulous comic all it’s own and the news that it’s becoming a live action series is welcome news for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s a great crime drama about a subject that doesn’t get broached all too often, and should hopefully inspire readers to run out and grab those lovely Deluxe Editions that DC recently put out
  2. It’ll enlist quite a few actors of Native heritage

On that note, Variety has shared the full lead cast for the series that’s being developed by Len Goldstein, Doug Jung, and Native American filmmaker Sterlin Harjo for WGN. A network that’s looking to make a big play into “prestige television” with the series.

Here’s the cast so far:

Gil Birmingham as Chief Lincoln Red Crow: The controversial Chief of the Prairie Rose Reservation. Formerly an idealistic activist, Red Crow orchestrates the opening of the casino on the “Rez,” believing it to be the key to his tribe’s future and redemption for his own dark past. But the casino proves to be a Pandora’s Box, with Red Crow struggling to keep it the Rez’s salvation and not its demise. Birmingham most recently co-starred with Jeff Daniels in the film “Hell or High Water,” and has popped up as the father of Jane Krakowski’s character in Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

Alex Meraz as Dashiell “Dash” Bad Horse: Exiled from the Rez by his mother at the age of 13, Dash returns home after 15 years as a criminal with a mysterious agenda. His return sets him on a violent path of self-discovery about his place on the Rez and on a collision course with both his estranged mother and Red Crow. Meraz has a recurring role on TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” and was in WB’s “Suicide Squad.”

Lily Gladstone as Carol Red Crow: Red Crow’s estranged daughter. The former “Rez Princess,” tragic circumstances set her against her father and down a self-destructive spiral meant to punish him as much as herself. Fiercely independent and intelligent, Carol gradually comes to discover the influence she can exert on the Rez’s future. Gladstone was a breakout in 2016’s “Certain Women.”

Irene Bedard as Gina Bad Horse: A legendary activist and the public face of opposition to Red Crow and his casino. Her efforts and ways of helping her people stand in stark opposition to Red Crow, despite their intimate and secretive past together. In the face of Red Crow’s success with the casino, Gina begins to realize that defeating him requires adopting his dark tactics. Bedard, for the trivia-inclined, was the voice of Pocahontas in the Disney animated movie “Pocahontas.” She also starred in miniseries “Into the West.”

Chaske Spencer as Sheriff Falls Down: The local sheriff with a deep investment in the Rez and its people, his wry easy manner obscures an edge and keen intelligence. There is no love lost between Sheriff Falls Down and Chief Red Crow — but there is a mutual respect. Spencer, who also starred in “Into the West,” had a recurring role as Deputy Billy Raven on Cinemax’s “Banshee” and has a series regular slot on the NBC-Sony pilot “The Frontier.”

Production begins on the pilot in April, one presumes this may end up being a Fall/Winter debut later this year.


  1. I don’t know, man… They are all great actors for sure, but, at least on first look, Dashiell, Carol and Gina have quite a different “energy” than the characters portrayed in the pages of Scalped. I guess it will be pretty impossible not to be let down by the show with the quality of the source material, but will definitely give it a shot when it comes out

  2. Guardedly optimistic, given the track records of the showrunners versus the excellent source material.

    What should be entertaining, though: how will this casting announcement go over in the “this is problematic” wing of the internet.

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