Kevin Coster Reveals He's "Taken a Beating" from 'Yellowstone' Drama

Kevin Coster Reveals He's "Taken a Beating" from 'Yellowstone' Drama
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Truly didn't think Yellowstone could get more dramatic than the literal...plot of Yellowstone, but now Kevin Costner is in court teasing a lawsuit, the show is ending early, the back half of the final season is in a state of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, and everyone seems mad at each other even though they won't admit it. Basically, the vibes are similar to that huge fight your friend group had back in high school, and probably around the same maturity level. But the timeline of it all can be kinda confusing, so we're breaking it down, starting with January 2023.

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January 1, 2023

Yellowstone airs its season 5 midseason finale. Little did fans know the ch-ch-changes that were coming.

February 6, 2023

Deadline drops a bombshell report that Yellowstone may end in "spectacular fashion," noting co-creator/showrunner Taylor Sheridan and Paramount are "plotting" a potential franchise extension with Matthew McConaughey.

The outlet alleges that Kevin Costner's been having "disagreements" over the shooting schedule and "only wanted to spend a week shooting" the second half of season 5. (Note: Kevin was also starring in and directing his upcoming western Horizon: An American Saga at the time).

Deadline says of the Matthew McConaughey spin-off, "The new project is way more than just talk, borne out of the continued disagreements over the lessening amount time Costner is willing to spend shooting the series."

Despite Deadline's intel, Paramount releases a statement debunking the rumors, saying, "We have no news to report. Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come. Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we are always working on franchise expansions of this incredible world he has built. Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner."

February 13, 2022

In truly awkward timing, Kevin wins a Golden Globe and doesn't attend the event due to flooding in Santa Barbara. He releases a thank you speech but doesn't actually mention Yellowstone.

February 25, 2023

Wes Bentley chats about the show potentially ending to Entertainment Weekly, saying, "The news that's come out recently about the show is, you know, it's above my pay grade. Different people making decisions. I know that they're still working on… working things out with everyone, to make sure we shoot. And I'm confident we will. We always have before. I think it's probably a bit of drama over nothing."

April 1, 2023

A bunch of the Yellowstone cast—including Kevin—don't show up to PaleyFest, causing fans to spiral.

But Paramount exec Keith Cox shows up and, according to Entertainment Tonight, says they "are very confident [Kevin's] going to continue with our show."

May 5, 2023

The Hollywood Reporter drops news that Yellowstone is ending and reports the show's final episodes will air in November 2023. (Side note: they won't be! We'll explain in a minute.) The outlet notes Kevin is working on his "Western passion project" Horizon, and there is no "insight into Costner’s level of participation" in the back half of the Yellowstone season.

June 21, 2023

Taylor Sheridan updates THR about where things stand with Kevin, saying, “My last conversation with Kevin was that he had this passion project he wanted to direct. He and the network were arguing about when he could be done with Yellowstone. I said, ‘We can certainly work a schedule toward [his preferred exit date],’ which we did.”

He also notes there are discussions re: Kevin filming scenes to wrap up his character arc. “I’m disappointed," he says. "It truncates the closure of his character. It doesn’t alter it, but it truncates it.”


July 21, 2023

The Hollywood Reporterwhich is truly just all over this storyreleases info about what we know about the final episodes of Yellowstone, noting they will actually drop in *2024* due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

As they put it: "Yellowstone had not begun production before the strike was called, and the scripts from creator Sheridan, who writes the entire series, were not yet complete."

September 1, 2023

While testifying at a child support hearing amid his divorce, Kevin finally gives insight into the Yellowstone drama. Some highlights, per People:

  • Kevin says he "changed" his schedule on Horizon to shoot the first half of Yellowstone season 5, noting "that's a big deal in this world."

  • He says there were “no scripts written” for the second part of season 5, and they landed on him doing a “pay or play” (which is when an actor gets paid whether or not production happens).

  • He says he was supposed to get $12 million for each half of season 5, and when asked if he'd been paid for the second half said, “I will probably go to court over it.”

  • Re: Season 6, Kevin said, “I couldn’t help them any more. We tried to negotiate, they offered me less money than previous seasons, there were issues with the creative….”

September 18, 2023

Puck News, via Entertainment Tonight, drops a report saying Kevin's contract has a "moral death" provision—which dictates the ways John Dutton can and can't die. They note that while Kevin hasn't read scripts, there's speculation that the way Dutton leaves Yellowstone could potentially end up being in violation of Kevin's contract.

Puck News also reports that Kevin's reps were "basically begging" Taylor Sheridan to let him return for Season 5 part 2—but Paramount wasn't here for his terms (including the ability to review/veto scripts, decreased hours on set, and more money).

April 11, 2024

Months later, Kevin began promoting his film saga, Horizon, and gave an update on Yellowstone. "I thought I was going to make seven seasons, but right now we’re at five. 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."

May 13, 2024

Kevin spoke to Deadline ahead of the Cannes Film Festival and opened up about where he stands with the show. "Well, I haven’t felt good about it the last year, what with the way they’ve talked about it. It wasn’t truthful. So now I’m talking about a little bit about what the real truth of it was," he shared. "I made a contract for seasons five, six, and seven. In February, after a two- or three-month negotiation, they made another contract. They wanted to redo that one, and instead of seasons six and seven, it was 5A and 5B, and maybe we’ll do six. They weren’t able to make those. Horizon was set in the middle, but Yellowstone was first position. I fit [Horizon] into the gaps. They just kept moving their gaps."

He continued, "Listen, I don’t want to get down in the gutter with the Yellowstone thing but what I’m telling you is straight up. I have taken a beating from those fucking 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," he added before later clarifying, "I will address it. They should have known that there was going to be an opportunity for me to say something. I didn’t have to answer the slings and arrows over the last year and a half, because I’ve just been busy working. They’ve been pretty slick about keeping their hands off; nobody was ever on the record."

Annnnd that brings us up to date! TBD what happens with Kevin's participation in the back half of Yellowstone season 5, but here's to hoping his character faces some kind of resolution....

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