Quick Links

When Dark Winds first premiered in 2022, no one knew or even expected that it would be such a gem of a show. And now, two seasons later, the Western crime noir thriller has been greenlighted for an all-new third season. The news comes soon after the second season's finale, released in September 2023. Dark Winds is created by Graham Roland and based on Tony Hillerman’s popular Leaphorn & Chee novel series. Set in the 1970s in a remote town in the Southwest, Dark Winds follows Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn (Zahn McClarnon), and an undercover FBI agent, Jim Chee (Kiowa Gordon), who team up to solve murders, robberies, and other brutal crimes within the Navajo Nation. The first two seasons see the men dealing with inexplicable evils, followed by Leaphorn dealing with a personal loss and seeking justice for his loved one. The seasons also see the shifting dynamics between these two crime solvers, as well as Leaphorn’s relationship with his mentee and work partner, Bernadette Manuelito (Jessica Matten). Besides crimes and criminals, the series also explores surreal, spiritual elements that shape the psychological and emotional journeys of the characters.

Focusing on the people of the Navajo Nation, Dark Winds has become a pioneering show when it comes to Native American representation, especially spotlighting Native American women. With a powerful narrative and untold history, this series has shaped up to be something the audience has never seen before. On its release, the first season of Dark Winds became widely popular with a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while Season 2 garnered 1.7 million viewers each week, resulting in a 146% rise in viewership. The pilot episode “Monster Slayer” was awarded Outstanding Fictional Television Drama by the Western Heritage Awards of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The series has earned several Vision Awards from the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) for Best Drama and Best Performance for McClarnon, who leads the cast as Joe Leaphorn. If you enjoy noir crime thrillers, gritty Westerns, or simply find cultural and emotional journeys of people empowering, then Dark Winds offers it all in generous doses, making it a show for all kinds of audiences.

Zahn McClarnon and Kiowa Gordon in Dark Winds Season 1
Image via AMC

Although the third season of this popular Western crime thriller is not due to return until 2025, rest assured that there is a lot more of Leaphorn and Chee’s stories to be told. From what we have seen so far, we can easily say that the upcoming season (or seasons) will take you further into the history, culture, and emotional journeys of the characters of the Navajo Nation. While you wait for the all-new third season to arrive, you can get updated on all 12 episodes from the first two seasons and also read this article to find out everything we know so far about Dark Winds Season 3, including its expected release window, returning cast and characters, possible story arcs, and more.

Dark Winds AMC Poster
Dark Winds
Release Date
June 12, 2022
Zahn McClarnon, Jessica Matten, Kiowa Gordon, Deanna Allison, Elva Guerra, Rainn Wilson
Main Genre

When Is 'Dark Winds' Season 3 Coming Out?

While AMC has already greenlighted a new season, there is no confirmed release date for Dark Winds Season 3 yet. Per the network’s announcements, the upcoming season will most likely arrive sometime in 2025, which will be a longer gap between seasons unlike the first two. Stay tuned for the latest updates on the Dark Winds Season 3 release date

Where Can You Watch 'Dark Winds' Season 3?

A network original series, Dark Winds Season 3 will be available on AMC and AMC+ whenever it arrives. While you wait for the third installment, you can catch up on the first two seasons, currently running on AMC+. Both the first and second seasons of the Western thriller are also available to stream on Prime Video, AMC+ on Prime Video, and AMC+ on Apple TV. You can also stream the first season of Dark Winds on Max, as a part of their special promotion where several AMC originals are being showcased for 60 days, from September 1, 2023, through October 31, 2023.

Watch on AMC+

Is There a 'Dark Winds' Season 3 Trailer?

There is no trailer or teaser for Dark Winds Season 3 and, considering the season is only expected in 2025, we might have to wait a little longer for our first look at the next batch of episodes. In the meantime, you can check out the featurette above, which shows the cast and crew talking about the making of the second season, which is sure to pique your interest. The 41-minute video takes you behind the scenes with the creators and cast members sharing their experiences and insights, their expectations of where the show is headed, and what the audience can take away from this one-of-its-kind production. The video features cast and crew interviews, clips and scenes from the second season, and more, which you might find interesting. Bookmark this page to get the latest updates on the full-length trailer and promos of Dark Winds Season 3 as and when they're released.

How Many Episodes Will 'Dark Winds' Season 3 Have?

At the moment, there is no news on the episode count for Dark Winds Season 3. However, both Season 1 and Season 2 of the show had six, hour-long episodes each. So, going by the past trends, we can expect the upcoming third season to also have a similar number of episodes. And like the previous seasons, all episodes will most likely be released weekly, with early access for AMC+ subscribers.

RELATED:'Dark Winds' Season 2 Review: Zahn McClarnon Continues to Command Stellar AMC Thriller Series

Who's In the 'Dark Winds' Season 3 Cast?

Image via AMC

The casting for Dark Winds has been one of the biggest highlights of this project and earned it high praise. 90% of the entire production team, including cast, crew, and creators, are Native Americans, and the same will continue to be the cast through Season 3 as well. As main characters and core cast members, Zahn McClarnon, Kiowa Gordon, and Jessica Matten will return for Dark Winds Season 3 as Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, FBI agent-turned-PI Jim Chee, and Tribal Police Sergeant Bernadette Manuelito, respectively.

Other supporting but significant characters like Deanna Allison as Emma Leaphorn, Elva Guerra as Sally Growing Thunder, Natalie Benally as Natalie Bluehouse, Dez Baa' as Helen Atcitty, Ryan Begay as Guy Atcitty, A Martinez as Sheriff Gordo Sena, Jeri Ryan as Rosemary Vines, and Jacqueline Byers as Mary Landon are also expected to return for the third season. Additionally, John Diehl could also be returning as B.J. Vines, since we never saw him dead, only left in the desert by Leaphorn. On the other hand, Nicholas Logan, who joined the cast as the assassin Colton Wolf, is not expected to return as the fan-favorite villain, since he was killed in Season 2. Apart from these actors, the upcoming season is likely to feature some new characters as well, whom we'll be learning about in the coming months.

Who's Making 'Dark Winds' Season 3?

Zahn McClarnon of Dark Winds Season 2
Image via AMC

Dark Winds is created by Graham Roland for AMC, and Roland also serves as the show’s executive producer. A writer-producer best known for writing, co-creating, and executive producing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Prime Video, Roland is also recognized for his work on FOX’s Prison Break and for writing the last season of ABC’s Lost. He also wrote and produced the popular sci-fi thriller series Fringe and the espionage thriller film Mile 22. Other executive producers of Dark Winds include Chris Eyre, Zahn McClarnon, John Wirth, George R. R. Martin, Robert Redford, Anne Hillerman, Tina Elmo, Vince Gerardis, and Vince Calandra. Redford had previously produced four other adaptations of Hillerman’s Leaphorn & Chee series, namely The Dark Wind, Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, and A Thief of Time, with Eyre having directed Skinwalkers. Eyre also directed a number of episodes of the show, including the pilot, and John Wirth served as showrunner for Dark Winds Season 2.

The all-Native American writers’ team of the series include Anthony Florez, Maya Rose Dittloff, Razelle Benally, Billy Luther, Erica Tremblay, John Wirth, Rhiana Yazzie, Max Hurwitz, DezBaa', Steven P. Judd, and Jason Gavin. Cinematographer Paul Elliott, best known for his work on award-winning projects like House of Cards and No Country for Old Men, continues to bring his cinematic brilliance behind the camera for the series as well.

What Will 'Dark Winds' Season 3's Plot Be About?

Jessica Matten in Dark Winds
Image by AMC+

Dark Winds is essentially a period Western crime thriller that explores life within the Navajo Nation, with Leaphorn and Chee facing several challenges as they try to solve crimes. Although there is no official plot for Season 3 yet, we can easily guess where the story could possibly go based on the ending of Season 2. Also, Hillerman’s original novels have an overwhelming amount of content across the 18 volumes, which is more than enough material to explore for the upcoming season. Based on all that information, we can speculate that Dark Winds Season 3 will pick up right where Season 2 ended. The Season 2 finale involved some big changes, including Bernadette taking up a new job as a border patrol officer and leaving town, Sally leaving Joe and Emma, and Chee quitting his PI business and deciding to join the Tribal Police. This means we can finally get to see Leaphorn and Chee as actual partners in bringing justice to the Navajo Nation.

When and Where Is 'Dark Winds' Season 3 Filming?

Both the first and second seasons of Dark Winds were filmed at various locations across the Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, and each season’s filming lasted only a few months. So, the same is likely to be the case for Season 3 as well.