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EW EXCLUSIVE: “Raylan Givens could die”

Via EW.com: After seven years, Timothy Olyphant is back as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens for a new season of Justified. But while he’s wearing the same hat and flashing the same badge as he did during the FX drama’s original six-season run, that’s about the only thing that’s carried over to Justified: City Primeval (premiering this July). “You’re not going to recognize anyone — the world, the relationships,” Olyphant tells EW. “I just don’t think you’re going to see what’s coming. On one hand, I really missed the cast from the original series, and on the other hand, I was so in awe and honored to work with the cast on this one.”

Having left the hollers of Kentucky 15 years ago, Raylan now lives in Miami, a walking anachronism balancing his life as a U.S. Marshal and part-time father of a 15-year-old girl, Willa (played by Timothy’s real-life 20-year-old daughter, Vivian Olyphant). When a chance encounter on a Florida highway sends Raylan and Willa to Detroit, he crosses paths with Clement Mansell (Boyd Holbrook), a.k.a. The Oklahoma Wildman, a violent, sociopathic desperado who’s already slipped through the fingers of Detroit’s finest once and aims to do so again with the help of his formidable lawyer Carolyn Wilder (Aunjanue Ellis). These three characters set out on a collision course in classic Elmore Leonard fashion, to see who makes it out of the City Primeval alive.

“For all intents and purposes, as far as I’m concerned, we are doing a new show,” showrunner Dave Andron tells EW. “Sure, we have Raylan — we knew that was money in the bank — and we have [author] Elmore’s book, but we had to create this whole new world for him to be in, this whole new cast of characters.” He pauses, then adds, “I was just trying to make sure we didn’t f— it up. We understood that we ended the show really well the first time around, so we didn’t take the plane back up lightly.”

The reason Andron and fellow showrunner Michael Dinner, who spoke to EW prior to the writers’ strike, risked that legacy to make a new, one-season version of Justified is simple: They all loved Leonard’s Detroit-set novel City Primeval too much to not adapt it into a Raylan story. “It’s kind of a gem in Elmore Leonard’s collection. This is kind of the granddaddy for Raylan’s character, in a way,” Dinner says. “We didn’t intend to reboot Justified, we didn’t intend to pick up where we left off, but we thought it would be interesting to, what I call, ‘do a mashup.’ What if we took our character and dropped him into the middle of this story, and yet pay homage to a character that was in the book and also do service to the book? It wasn’t so much trying to recapture the past, but to recapture the feeling that we had working together in the past, so we took Raylan and put him into this story.”

A lot has changed since Justified fans last saw Raylan, however. “He’s older. That’s the thing I notice most often,” Timothy says, before adding with a smile, “There’s less desire to run.”

“He’s older and wiser, but he’s still got it,” Dinner explains. “He has about five years before there’s a mandatory retirement in the Marshal service, so he’s coming to the end of that life. The road in front of this guy is a lot shorter than the road behind. We’re dealing with this next chapter of his life — we did Justified for six or seven years, and that was kind of like Act 1. This is Act 2 of his life, and it’s an existential story.”

Read more at EW.com!