The Yellowstone prequel 1923 includes a narrator to fill in the blanks of the Dutton family history. The series premiere caught fans up with John and Spencer Dutton and introduced a new host of characters. In 1883, Isabel May portrayed Elsa Dutton, James and Margaret’s oldest child. May also narrate the series, but her character died in episode 10. Is Isabel May still narrating 1923?
[Warning: 1923 premiere spoilers ahead.]
Isabel May’s character Elsa Dutton narrated ‘1883’
Actor Isabel May got her chance at a breakout role when Taylor Sheridan cast her in the Yellowstone prequel, 1883. May portrayed Elsa Dutton, the oldest child of Margaret and James. Along with her brother John, Elsa accompanied her parents on the dangerous journey west to Montana.
Unfortunately, Elsa didn’t survive the trip. She took an arrow to the stomach during a conflict with a group of Native Americans and died days later in her father’s arms. James and Margaret decided to settle at the spot where Elsa was buried, which lead them to choose Montana as their new home.
Isabel May’s Elsa also narrates 1883. “To play a character that narrates her own story as well as every other character’s story, it’s extremely humbling considering the fact that Taylor [Sheridan]’s words are so rich and powerful and emotional,” May said in a video from Paramount.
Elsa is the narrator for ‘1923’ although she died years ago
Although Elsa died at the end of 1883, she still serves as the narrator for 1923. In the series premiere, Elsa fills in the blanks about what happened to her parents, James and Margaret. “Upon my father’s death, my mother wrote to his brother, begging that he bring his family to this wild land and save hers,” Elsa explains.
“A year later, he arrived to find my mother frozen in a snow drift, her two boys half-starved and barely able to speak. He raised them as his own and took my father’s dream and made it into an empire. Then the empire crumbled.”
Elsa also gives an ominous warning. “My father had three children. Only one would live to see their own children grow,” she says. “Only one would carry the fate of this family through the depression and every other hell the 20th century hurled at them.”
Fans have mixed feelings about Elsa’s narration
Fans now know that Isabel May’s character Elsa serves as the narrator for 1923. However, some viewers didn’t enjoy Elsa’s voiceover in 1883. “The narration is bad,” one Reddit user wrote. “Elsa is a good character. The show is amazing. The narration is just unnecessary and takes you out of the moment.”
Yet other fans thoroughly enjoyed seeing the show through Elsa’s point of view and were excited to hear her voice in 1923. “In the first two minutes, when the narration kicks in, I immediately got goosebumps all over my body and had a tear in my eye,” a fan wrote on Reddit.
Another viewer added, “As soon as I heard her voice, I looked at my husband and said, ‘hey – that’s Elsa!’ I’m sad that she won’t be in this series, but I’m hopeful it will deliver like all of Taylor Sheridan’s shows.”
New episodes of 1923 are released Sundays on Paramount+.