Everything you need to know about Yellowstone season 6

The cast of Yellowstone.
The Paramount Network
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Since its premiere in 2018, Yellowstone has been a breakout hit for The Paramount Network and one of the most popular shows on TV. Taylor Sheridan’s modern Western also revitalized Kevin Costner’s career by placing him in the lead as John Dutton, the patriarch of the Dutton family, who own the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, one of the largest ranches in Montana.

The fifth season of Yellowstone premiered in 2022, but the future of the series and the franchise were called into question when reports emerged that Costner was leaving the show and Paramount Network had already ordered a sequel series that will continue without Costner’s involvement. To bring everyone up to speed, here’s everything you need to know about the future of Yellowstone.

Will there be a sixth season of Yellowstone?

Sort of, but not something labeled as Yellowstone season 6. The six remaining episodes of Yellowstone are still technically part of the fifth season, or season 5B, as Paramount has called it. But at the same time that Paramount confirmed the end of Yellowstone, the studio also announced that a contemporary spinoff is on the way that will feature many of the show’s current cast members.

Additionally, Matthew McConaughey is reportedly being eyed as the lead character in the new series, which will continue the saga of the Dutton family in lieu of a sixth season.

Why is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone?

Kevin Costner in Yellowstone.
The Paramount Network

In February 2023, Deadline reported that the dispute between Costner and The Paramount Network concerned his participation in season 5’s filming schedule. It noted that Costner’s priority was Horizon, a new multipart Western film that is his current passion project. According to the report, Costner’s commitments to those films led him to shoot only 50 days for the first half of Yellowstone season 5. But Costner “only wanted to spend a week shooting” for the remaining episodes of the season. Subsequently, Paramount Network made plans to end the series and push toward a sequel show.

Sheridan addressed the issue in a June 2023 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where he said: “My last conversation with Kevin was that he had this passion project he wanted to direct. He and the network argued about when he could be done with Yellowstone. I said, ‘We can certainly work a schedule toward [his preferred exit date],’ which we did.”

“My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn’t altered,” added Sheridan. “I’ve never had an issue with Kevin that he and I couldn’t work out on the phone. But once lawyers get involved, then people don’t get to talk to each other and start saying things that aren’t true and attempt to shift blame based on how the press or public seem to be reacting. He took a lot of this on the chin, and I don’t know that anyone deserves it … I’m disappointed. It truncates the closure of his character. It doesn’t alter it, but it truncates it.”

What does Kevin Costner say about his future involvement with Yellowstone?

John Dutton and a woman stand in a field in Yellowstone.
The Paramount Network

Costner has not given interviews about the subject. However, as reported by Deadline, Costner’s departure from Yellowstone came up during his divorce proceedings in September 2023,

“Somewhere along the line, they wanted to change things,” said Costner during his testimony in court. “They wanted to do 5A and 5B; [it] affected Horizon. I was going to do my movie Horizon and leave that show, do my movie, then do B. A show I was only doing once a year I was now doing twice.”

“We did negotiate,” added Costner. “There were issues about creative … I tried to break the logjam. They walked away.” Costner also noted that he was offered $24 million to shoot Yellowstone seasons 6 and 7. Additionally, Costner said that he will “probably go to court” over his dispute with Paramount Network. But as of January 2024, no court case has been filed by the actor. And it is still unknown if Costner will return for the final episodes of Yellowstone.

However, a March 2024 report from Matthew Belloni of Puck News stated that Costner wants to return for Yellowstone’s final run of episodes.

“Kevin Costner has been telling people he’s planning to return for at least a cameo and possibly more, but there are currently no discussions for him to do that,” Belloni wrote in his newsletter. “Even if Costner significantly lowers his financial and time commitment demands, Sheridan may not want to bother reopening his finished scripts to accommodate a send-off for John Dutton.

Kevin Costner addresses the rumors about his Yellowstone exit

The cast of Yellowstone.
The Paramount Network

Costner is now promoting his new western, Horizon. And his interview with Deadline on May 13 showed his apparent anger about the situation and the story that has unfolded in the media over the last year.

“I don’t want to get down in the gutter with the Yellowstone thing but what I’m telling you is straight up,” Costner said. “I have taken a beating from those f***ing guys and I know a lot of times where it’s coming from. I just elected not to get into that. But if you know me well enough, I made Yellowstone the first priority, and to insinuate anything else would be wrong. I did not initiate any of those things. They did. They were doing a tap dance and this poor guy was also having to write so much. And I don’t know why they didn’t stick up for me.”

Costner’s account from his divorce trial lines up with his latest comments about the issues facing Yellowstone season 5, part 2, particularly the lack of scripts to shoot. He also explained where the rumor came from that he only wanted to work a week on the remaining episodes of the season.

“They didn’t have the scripts for anything else,” Costner said. “So, what you read in the end was that I said, ‘Well, look, I’m doing my movie. If you want me to work a week because you want to kill me or whatever else, I can give you a week.’ I really didn’t have that week to give them, but I said, I’ll do that. And then they [spun that] into, I only wanted to work a week.”

“I’m usually working six or seven days per each, whatever they are,” Costner added. “And they took that and a source on their side spun that into, well, he only wants to work a week for a whole season. Do you think that’s who I am? I’ve never missed a day of work. I’ve never left before fulfilling my contractual obligations. A lot of times, I stay as much as I can. In fact, I worked the nine-day stretch just to try to help them in July, when I was starting [Horizon] August 1. I worked a Saturday and Sunday for them, and they still needed four more days. I gave it to them, when I thought we were going to do this so-called B, but there was no B thing. I was just going to give ‘em those extra four days.”

Kevin Costner in Yellowstone standing next to a horse.

Costner also voiced his frustration that Sheridan and others did not defend him in the press while these stories were circulating.

“They were silent and that bothered me in the world of how you do things,” Costner said. “Why don’t you stick up for me? I went and sold this thing for you. I was going to only do one season. I made it for three. I fulfilled three. So, I went from one to three, then I did a fourth one for them and they wanted to do three more. So, I made the contract to do that. They imploded. I had a contract to do five, six and seven. I was contracted to do that. There’s nothing I could have done to get out of that, nor was I trying to just figure out how, when we started. When we finished, I wanted to do Horizon. It all happened because they shut down one whole season, didn’t tell anybody and I didn’t work for 14 months.”

Despite the apparent hard feelings over the dispute, Costner still says he’s willing to consider coming back for the final episodes.

“I’m very open to coming back,” Costner said. “If they’ve got so many other things going on, maybe this circles back and it’s a really cool two seasons. Or end it, if the writing’s there and I’m happy with it. I’m open to that. But I took a beating over these guys not speaking up for me and allowing crazy stories to come out. I’m not happy about that. But if the writing is there, I will be there too.”

“They had first position,” Costner said. “I didn’t do Horizon because I was tired of doing Yellowstone. That’s a bulls*** story. I didn’t do Horizon to compete with Yellowstone. This is something I’ve had a long time. Taylor read that script three years earlier when he was contemplating other writers [for Yellowstone]. I said, well, you can look at what John [Baird] and I did, not that I think I’m qualified. I think you write Yellowstone beautifully. So, he read that and knew what the thing was about. It’s just that simple: Paramount and 101 Studios mismanaged this. They had me for five, six, and seven. I agreed to do it. And then they steadily began changing their format.”

Does Kevin Costner want a say in the fate of John Dutton?

Beth talks to her father in Yellowstone.
Paramount Network

If Yellowstone fans were hoping for a good sign about Costner’s return to the show, this is it. During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Costner expressed his desire to see Dutton as the author of his own fate.

“[Dutton] needs to be proactive in what happens and I’ve kind of had my own fantasy how [the character’s final arc] might be,” noted Costner. “But that’s Taylor’s thing. I said as much to him a while back. I had thoughts how it could happen, but we just have to see.”

Does this mean that Costner is coming back? Not quite. As noted above, the previous report in Puck suggests that Sheridan may be less than accommodating about changing his scripts for the remaining episodes of Yellowstone even if it means giving the show’s star one last sendoff. Regardless, Costner sounds hopeful about the situation.

“I’d like to be able to do it, but we haven’t been able to … I thought I was going to make seven [seasons] but right now we’re at five,” related Costner. “So how it works out — I hope it does — but they’ve got a lot of different shows going on. Maybe it will. Maybe this will circle back to me. If it does and I feel really comfortable with [it], I’d love to do it.”

Is Matthew McConaughey going to star in the Yellowstone spinoff?

Matthew McConaughey in True Detective season 1.

Every report since February 2023 has stated that McConaughey is in negotiations to star in the Yellowstone spinoff series. So far, there has been no confirmation that McConaughey has closed his deal. In February 2024, Puck reported McConaughey would not sign on until he saw a script for the spinoff.

If McConaughey does agree to a contract, it would be his first leading role on TV since HBO’s first season of True Detective in 2014. McConaughey’s star power is also arguably greater than Costner’s at this point in their respective careers.

Who will Matthew McConaughey play in the Yellowstone spinoff?

That’s a big question and one we can’t really answer at this point. We can only speculate that McConaughey could be playing a member of the Dutton who simply wasn’t mentioned before. But building a series around a character who came out of nowhere would seem odd.

The other possibilities are that McConaughey’s character could marry into the Dutton family, or he could simply be someone who isn’t related to them by blood or marriage. It’s simply too soon to say which way the new series will go.

Is Michelle Pfeiffer going to star in the Yellowstone spinoff?

While McConaughey’s name continues to be linked to the spinoff, Michelle Pfeiffer is contemplating a jump into the Yellowstone universe. In February 2024, Puck reported Pfeiffer was in talks to join the Yellowstone spinoff and star alongside McConaughey. Whether Pfeiffer will play a Dutton is unknown.

No deal has been announced as of April 2024. The Emmy-nominated Pfeiffer recently starred in Showtime’s First Lady, playing Betty Ford.

Which Yellowstone cast members will return for the spinoff?

Wes Bently and Kelly Reilly in Yellowstone.
The Paramount Network

Prior to last year’s actors’ strike, Deadline reported that “it has not been revealed whether the McConaughey-fronted franchise extension will be set on the Dutton ranch in Montana or elsewhere and which of the original stars of Yellowstone will appear in the spinoff series, but we hear a couple of them have received offers. The plan for the returning cast members may not get finalized until Sheridan finishes writing, we hear.”

The Yellowstone spinoff was not originally designed to include characters from the original series. However, a February 2024 report by Puck stated that Yellowstone stars Kelly Reilly, Cole Hauser, and Luke Grimes as three Yellowstone could join the spinoff. Reilly and Grimes play Beth and Kayce Dutton, while Hauser stars as Beth’s husband, Rip Wheeler. The trio is looking for significant pay increases to return for the spinoff. Reilly and Hauser are asking for a per-episode rate of $1.2 million and 1.25 million, respectively. Grimes’ salary demands were not included. Puck’s follow-up in March 2024 stated negotiations were still ongoing.

Given the way that Yellowstone season 5A ended, it’s hard to picture Reilly and Wes Bentley returning for the spinoff series since their respective characters, Beth and Jamie Dutton, have openly contemplated murdering each other over their ongoing dispute. Beth is John Dutton’s daughter and Jamie is his adopted son, but they have very different endgames in mind. Jamie has already gone against the family by calling for his father to be impeached from his position as the governor of Montana. That alone could get Jamie sent to the “train station,” where the Dutton family tends to dump the bodies of their enemies.

Kelly Reilly and Cole Hauser are open to joining the Yellowstone spinoff

Beth dances with her husband in Yellowstone.
Paramount Network

First and foremost, the Yellowstone cast members must finish the final episodes of season 5 before they can work on the spinoff. However, several of the principal actors in Yellowstone are open to joining the spinoff. Reilly revealed that discussions have occurred about her involvement in the spinoff.

“I just care about finishing [the main show] with as much care, as much passion, and as much love as I can muster to put into it,” Reilly told Collider in March 2024. “That’s what I care about. I’m sort of prepping for that now, [and] that’s my tunnel vision thing that I care about most. And what goes on beyond that? There are discussions, you know. Don’t believe everything you read. It’s just nonsense. But we’re gonna, you know, let’s wait and see. I don’t have an answer right now. But we’ll see.”

Hauser also shared a similar sentiment about the spinoff. His focus is on finishing Yellowstone season 5. However, Hauser mentioned how there are ways Rip, Beth, and other key characters could appear in the spinoff.

“I’m so focused on finishing Yellowstone the way it needs to be finished right now — well, just the show itself,” Hauser told Country Living in April 2024. “We’ll see where that leads, but I know that there’s some stuff on the horizon when it comes to Taylor’s ideas for Kelly Reilly, myself, and some of the other cast. I’m excited to see where he goes creatively with that, but right now it’s just, let’s finish strong; let’s do the best we can.”

Does the spinoff series have a title?

The tentative working title is 2024. Or possibly Yellowstone: 2024. But since the final episodes of the flagship series haven’t even been filmed yet, Paramount might need to change the name to 2025.

When will Yellowstone season 5 part 2 begin production?

Paramount Network has officially announced that Yellowstone season 5, part 2 has begun filming in Montana as of May 20, 2024. That should be more than enough time for the series to film the final six episodes and turn them around for a final run on Paramount Network later this year.

As noted via Deadline, Costner has not returned to the show, and there don’t appear to be any plans for him to do so. Costner is currently promoting Horizon: An American Saga in France at the Cannes Film Festival, and he intends to resume filming the third Horizon movie when he returns to America. It’s not impossible for Costner and Sheridan to make an agreement for him to appear in the final episodes. But with the show back in production, the window for that to happen is rapidly closing.

When will the last episodes of Yellowstone season 5 premiere?

Kevin Costner leans over a fence in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone‘s final episodes will premiere on The Paramount Network in November.

Does Kevin Costner’s new movie, Horizon: An American Saga, have any Yellowstone connections?

Earlier this week, Kevin Costner debuted the trailer for his upcoming movie, Horizon: An American Saga. The movie, a passion project of the actor he personally financed, is set to debut in two parts later this year. Yellowstone fans couldn’t help but notice some similarities between the movie and the show: the Western setting; Costner’s role as a tough patriarch defending his land; and the giant cast of well-known character actors like Will Patton, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Rooker, Sam Worthington, Jena Malone, Luke Wilson, and many, many more.

Yet, while the movie shares many of the same themes with Yellowstone, it is not connected in any way with the hit show. The movie is set during the American Civil War, and does not chronicle the early years of Dutton clan like the spinoff shows 1883 and 1923 have recently. That hasn’t stopped fans of Yellowstone from gravitating toward the movie. Good Housekeeping reported that fans of the hit Paramount Network show can’t wait to see the movies, which makes sense given that Costner has long been the figurehead and main attraction of the long-running show.