Though the details of what really happened during the 1993 standoff in Waco, Texas, are still debated to this day, a six-part series simply titled Waco will attempt to provide a semblance of an answer when it premieres in January.
The trailer, which dropped Tuesday, shows a nearly unrecognizable Taylor Kitsch proselytizing to a group of his followers as David Koresh, the mysterious cult leader who led a group that came to be known as the Branch Davidians.
“You’ve looked to me to be your leader, to guide you on this journey,” he can be heard in voiceover superimposed over scenes alternately violent and idyllic. “But I’m no leader. I’m a follower, just like you. God has instructed me to stay here and wait for his sign.”
Throughout the minute-and-a-half trailer, Kitsch-as-Koresh can be seen donning a gas mask while walking away from a room filled with flames, emotionless. Other parts of the trailer hint at military force involving tanks, sniper rifles, and at one point, a handgun aimed squarely at someone’s head.
“This is our time to prove through suffering that we are worthy of the miracle that’s to come,” Kitsch intones.
Waco will attempt to present the series of events that led up to the massive raid of Koresh and his followers’ small religious community on Mount Carmel in February 1993. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms joined with the FBI to stand off against the spiritual sect for an astonishing 51 days, which ended in a deadly shootout and fire.
The series will be based on two biographies, A Place Called Waco, by Branch Davidian member David Thibodeau, one of the nine survivors of the final fire on April 19, 1993, and Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator, written by the FBI’s Head of Crisis Negotiation Unit Gary Noesner (Michael Shannon).
John Leguizamo, Andrea Riseborough, Rory Culkin, Melissa Benoist, Paul Sparks, Shea Whigham, Camryn Manheim, Julia Garner and Annika Marks also star.
Waco premieres in January on Paramount Network.