'Outer Range' Actor Shaun Sipos and Creator Brian Watkins Talk Origins, Filming Hit Amazon Sci-Fi Series

Amazon's Outer Range has been a hit with fans and critics, garnering acclaim and lots of online chatter over the course of its first season. The final two episodes of Outer Range Season 1 are now streaming and, ahead of the finale, PopCulture.com spoke with series creator Brian Watkins and actor Shaun Sipos. The pair opened up about the show, including the origins of the story, and what it was like to film.

Recounting how he conjured the plot of the show, Watkins explained, "I grew up out west. I grew up in Colorado and to me, the west has always been a place that is filled with wonder, the kind of place where you can walk up to the edge of a tree line and stare into a forest and feel like you're looking into another world. And so from that, really came the story of a Wyoming rancher that one day stumbles upon this metaphysical void on his property and sets in motion this catastrophic chain of events and the void that he discovers ends up unearthing the voids with himself and the voids within his family."

Watkins continued, "For me, that's what the west has typified. It's a place where exteriors shape interiors. And so over the course of eight episodes, we're going to see Royal Abbott and his family reckon with the unknown and that's really where it came from for me. And it's sort of asking the question, what happens when a disenchanted world stumbles upon enchanted? And hopefully, we get our audience asking that same question as well."

Outer Range was filmed on location in New Mexico, and Sipios —Luke Tillerson — shared what that experience was like for the cast. "We were in the elements. I mean it was cold," he said. "It was just an amazing experience and quite extraordinary because we were dealing with COVID as well. So you had a situation that really brought everybody together. But it ultimately was just, it's something that's crucial."

He added, "I was reading some questions and it was talking about why wasn't such and such CGI. 'Why weren't the horses CGI? Why weren't these things...' And my first thought was, 'Well, you need the reality of all these things.' You need the land, you need the mountains, you need the horses and the wildlife because it informs you. It informs the world, it informs the actors, it informs the writing, it informs everything, the cinematography certainly. So it was an incredible experience. And I hope we get to do it for a lot of years coming."

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Sipos later offered, "I mean, you can't act that stuff. It has to be there. Otherwise, you're going to be through it and you would just be missing something." All episodes of Outer Range are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.