Deadline first reported the casting, adding that Shepard will play Luke Matthews, a former soldier who arrives in Garrison with history linked to the Iron River Ranch. He meets the Bennett family and quickly becomes friends with Colt (Kutcher) and Beau (Sam Elliott). However, Luke has a past he cannot escape.
Although Shepard's arrival to The Ranch comes just months after Masterson was fired, Shepard was not cast as a series regular or considered a full-time replacement for Masterson like Kutcher was for Two and a Half Men's Charlie Sheen. Shepard is already starring in a Fox pilot called Bless This Mess with Lake Bell.
Deadline reports that Shepard will star in at least five of the next 10 episodes of the series heading into production this year. The Bless This Mess pilot will be filmed in June.
Shepard recently starred in the film adaptation of CHiPS, which he also wrote and direct. Since Parenthood ended in 2015, he has been seen on Ghosted, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. He also appeared in an episode of The Good Place, which stars his wife, Kristen Bell.
Masterson was fired in December, with one episode left in season three to film. Multiple women accused him of rape, and the women claimed the Church of Scientology warned them to keep quiet about the allegations.
Netflix was widely criticized for not firing Masterson as quickly as it did Kevin Spacey after allegations of sexual misconduct against the House of Cards actor surfaced last fall.2comments
"As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch. [Monday] was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him," Netflix said in a statement in December.
“I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix’s decision to write my character off of The Ranch," Masterson, who played the brother of Kutcher's character, said after he was fired. “From day one, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current political climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused. I understand and look forward to clearing my name once and for all.”