Derek Lawrence
September 26, 2017 AT 03:45 PM EDT

A bespectacled Taylor Kitsch transforms into cult leader David Koresh in the ominous first Waco trailer.

The Friday Night Lights alum and Michael Shannon headline the six-episode miniseries, which goes inside the 1993 standoff between Koresh’s Branch Davidians religious sect and federal agents. After 51 days, the conflict ended with a deadly fire that claimed the lives of 77 Davidians, including Koresh.

“You’ve looked to me to be your leader, to guide you on this journey. But I’m no leader, I’m a follower just like you,” Koresh declares to his people. “The kingdom of heaven is coming — I promise you.”

The project is based on two biographies: A Place Called Waco, from surviving Branch Davidian David Thibodeau, and Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator, from the lead FBI negotiator Gary Noesner, who’s being played by Shannon.

“I learned a lot about myself as well through learning both sides and formulating an educated opinion on it,” Kitsch recently told PEOPLE. “I was like 99-plus percent of the people who are going to start watching this [and don’t know the whole story], in the sense of we only knew or know what we were told and what they want you to know. The deeper I got into this, the more it unfolded of what exactly happened from the civil rights to the $50 warrant that they had, to the lack of jurisdiction – there are literally jaw-dropping things that happened that the FBI and ATF did during that 51-day siege, it’s genuinely hard to believe that this happened only 25 years ago.”

Waco, which also stars John Leguizamo, Melissa Benoist, and Shea Whigham, premieres in January on Paramount Network.

Watch the trailer above.

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