Created by Jason Aaron and R. M. Guéra, Scalped is a dark, violent modern Western which follows Dashiell Bad Horse as he returns to his Indian Reservation origins after 15 years and hires on with the Tribal Police at the behest of Sheriff Lincoln Red Crow (father of Carol Red Crow) to help purge the drug-addled criminal elements of the Rez. Bad Horse has his own secret motives along with some borderline sociopathic anger issues.
The celebrated Vertigo Comics series has been mired in development since at least 2014, with WGN America having ordered a TV pilot in 2016 from DC president and executive producer Geoff Johns and Star Trek: Beyond screenwriter Doug Jung. After nearly a year, the pilot finally found its directors in Belgian team Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi (the upcoming Beverly Hills Cop 4).
News of the pilot’s helmers was quickly followed by the project’s first announced casting, with Native American actress Lily Gladstone set to play the role of Carol Red Crow. Now, The Tracking Board reports that Scalped has found its leading man, with Alex Meraz taking the role of Dashiell Bad Horse.
Alex Meraz was previously seen in a small role in last year’s Suicide Squad as a SEAL Team member and has appeared as a werewolf in The Twilight Saga: New Moon as well as in Terence Malick’s The New World. He is also a Native American descendant of the Purepecha (Tarasco) Nation.
Casting Meraz on the heels of Gladstone is another big step toward realizing the producers’ intentions to feature mainly Native American actors in the lead roles, bringing a sense of lived-in authenticity to the overarching story. Beyond the violent power struggles and intrigue, Scalped deals with issues of Native American identity in modern America, something perhaps only Native American actors are best equipped to convey.
Scalped is just the latest in a long line of long-form television adaptations of comic books and graphic novels that reach beyond the traditional superhero fare to explore more complex aspects of these characters and worlds. AMC’s Preacher, Marvel’s Netflix series Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and FX’s recently-debuted Legion all offer darker, violent and often genuinely thought-provoking dissections of standard comic book tropes.
With its timely setting and tough material, Scalped has the potential to be a real standout in this genre. Meraz may seem on the young side for the role of Dashiell Bad Horse, but he made a convincing enough Navy SEAL.
Scalped currently has no release date. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more information as it becomes available.
Source: The Tracking Board