Kevin Costner Reportedly Wants Approval Over How His Yellowstone Character Is Written Off
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After months of speculation, we finally have an answer about Yellowstone's future—but it may not be the ones that fans were hoping for. Paramount has announced that the show will conclude after the second half of season five—which is now set to debut in November. The news came just days after an ET report that Kevin Costner would not be returning to the show after season five.
It's not currently clear whether Costner will appear in the yet-to-be-filmed second half of the fifth season, but rumor has it that the star is holding out on committing to the show until he can approve of how his character, John Dutton, is handled for the end of the series. Sources close to the production reportedly told Puck that Costner will not confirm his return for Yellowstone's final episodes "until he finds out and is comfortable with," how John is being written off. The first few episodes of the second half of season five, Puck says, have been written to allow for the possibility of Costner appearing, as well as the possibility that he will not be involved.
The publication also reports that Costner was not informed ahead of the announcement that the show would be ending.
Yellowstone's cast has been silent on the news since it's conclusion was announced, however we may have a few hints of what's ahead for the series's ending, courtesy of a new clip for the latest Yellowstone DVD release, shared exclusively by ET. In it, star Luke Grimes opens up about his character, Kayce, and what makes Yellowstone so compelling.
"Love and family and serve your tribe, your people—that's a huge theme in the show. With Kacey, he has a hard time choosing his relationship with his father versus his relationship with his wife and son," Grimes said in the clip. "I think it's because it all really matters and it matters to all of the characters."
He added, "That's sort of where you get all of this really juicy drama, is that everyone is sort of fighting for their team. There's no right team or wrong team, it's just a bunch of people trying to figure out how to do what's best for their own."
Given how central those themes have been to the show's run, it seems likely that we'll see all of that "really juicy drama" come to a head as the show wraps up its final episodes, but for the moment, all fans can do is hope.
Here's what we know so far about Yellowstone season five.
Is this the last season?
It's now official—Yellowstone not will get a sixth season. However, along with the announcement that the series is ending, the network did reveal that an as-yet-untitled Yellowstone sequel will debut in December, presumably to replace the original show's timeslot. The show will premiere on Paramount Network, and later stream through Paramount+, according to the announcement. Whether or not this sequel will be the previously confirmed Matthew McConaughey vehicle, or an entirely separate show, is not yet clear.
"Yellowstone has been the cornerstone on which we have launched an entire universe of global hits - from 1883 to Tulsa King, and I am confident our Yellowstone sequel will be another big hit, thanks to the brilliant creative mind of Taylor Sheridan and our incredible casts who bring these shows to life," said said Chris McCarthy, President & CEO Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios in an announcement about the series.
The announcement of show's ending was the culmination of several tense months of speculation about the show's future. In early February, Deadline reported on rumors that Yellowstone might be ending, writing, "The crux of the issue with the original Yellowstone series involves star Kevin Costner and disagreements over shooting schedules. We are told Paramount Network has declined Costner’s most recent proposal and instead has made the decision to move on to the other show, sources said."
Paramount's only comment at the time seemingly denied the claims, 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.
However, in late March, Paramount Media Networks head Chris McCarthy did confirm that McConaughey will be joining the Yellowstone-verse, starring in a new spin-off, which the exec said will go ahead regardless of whether Costner returns to Yellowstone or not. "[Yellowstone] wouldn’t be what it is today without Kevin and we hope that that stays for a long time to come," he added.
When will season five return?
The first half of the fifth season of Yellowstone debuted in November of 2022 and wrapped up with a mid-season finale on January 1, 2023, with the promise of six more episodes to come this summer to round out the show's super-sized, fourteen episode fifth season. Paramount originally confirmed that the show will be returning some time in the summer of 2023, however, in the latest announcement, the network updated its plans, announcing that the show's final episodes will in fact appear in November, though the exact date has not been revealed.
Fans first became concerned when a scheduled panel at PaleyFest in March evidently revealed that the second half of season five had not yet even begun filming. Per Variety's Emily Longeretta, "No update for part 2 of #Yellowstone season 5. The cast has not yet started filming or been given a start date."
No update for part 2 of #Yellowstone season 5. The cast has not yet started filming or been given a start date. #PaleyFest
— Emily Longeretta (@emilylongeretta) April 2, 2023
In April executive producer Stephen Kay, who has also directed for the show, indicated during a Deadline’s Contenders Television panel that filming was still not underway, saying, "Taylor is in Texas spinning hay into gold and we’re hoping we’re hoping we’ll do it soon. Everybody’s excited."
Deadline reported in May at the final episodes are slated to begin production in August, although whether the Writers Guild of America strike will impact those plans remains up in the air.
What's in store for season five?
In September 2022, actors Cole Hauser (Rip), Kelly Reilly (Beth), and Luke Grimes (Kayce) gave Entertainment Weekly a few hints about what's in store for the upcoming season. As one might expect, it doesn't sound like things will be all smooth sailing for newlyweds Rip and Beth.
"What I like about what [Taylor Sheridan] wrote is that he slow burns this year with me and Beth," Hauser said. "In the beginning, there's some wonderful moments between the two of us, some stuff that she's going through in her past, that she's having to acknowledge for the first time, and me trying to help her through that."
"The war feels internal this year for her," Reilly added, "[She's] haunted by the past, afraid for the future and fighting with all she has for the present moment."
However, it doesn't sound like the couple's in any danger of breaking up. Per Reilly, "Beth has always been devoted to Rip. Marriage does not change her. I think his love for her and hers for him is one of the very few things that keeps her demons at arm's length (mostly)."
As for Kayce, his own struggles don't sound to be abating any time soon following his dramatic vision at the end of season four. "In true Kayce fashion, there's no relief from the sort of rock and a hard place that he's in between," Grimes said.
In August 2022, star Kevin Costner spoke with Extra about the ever-present rumors of John dying, Costner said, "I don’t want to die… just too much to do. In terms of this story, I don’t know where that’s gonna go… I haven’t really thought about it." He also stated "I think that [show creator Taylor Sheridan]'s been writing a really high level. I’ll say when I don’t want to do it anymore." In March 2023, ET reported that he would not be returning to the show after season five.
In June 2022, Kelly Reilly, who stars as deliciously cut-throat Beth Dutton on the show, opened up to Vulture about season five, offering some tantalizing hints about the next season. In response to whether John Dutton will win the Montana governorship, as he set out to in season four, Reilly said, "I will say as the kingdom gets bigger, it becomes more difficult to manage."
Meanwhile, though some of the obvious villains may have been swept off the board in season four, she says that there are plenty of new adversaries coming after the Duttons and their ranch, including some that echo the real world. "They’re coming. They’re infringing. It’s like what is really happening in Montana. It is being bought up by billionaires."
The cast is expanding
In June 2022, it was announced that Josh Lucas will be returning as the younger version of John Dutton, as will Kylie Rogers (who plays young Beth) and Kyle Red Silverstein as young Rip, so it seems we'll be getting some flashbacks from the family's past. Jacki Weaver, who played the family's corporate adversary Caroline Warner, will also be returning, while Mo Brings Plenty (Rainwater's right hand man, Mo) and Wendy Moniz (Governor Lynelle Perry) have been upped to series regulars.
Some new faces will also join the season. Kai Caster, who fans may know from American Horror Story, will play a young cowboy known as Rowdy, Lainey Wilson as a musician, Lilli Kay (Your Honor and Rustin) will play an assistant to the Duttons, and Dawn Olivieri—perhaps best known to Taylor Sheridan fans as James Dutton's sister Claire on 1883—will take on a new persona in the Yellowstone universe as the corporate shark Sarah Atwood.
It was previously announced that Jen Landon, who plays Teeter, and Kathryn Kelly, who plays Jimmy's new fiancee Emily, have been upped to series regulars for the season. Jefferson White, sho plays Jimmy, is also set to return to the show, leaving earlier speculation that he could be moving the spin-off show 6666 still up in the air.
Along with White, Yellowstone's core cast is expected to return, with Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Asbille, Brecken Merrill, Forrie Smith, Denim Richards, Ian Bohen, Finn Little, Ryan Bingham and Gil Birmingham all announced for the fifth season.
The Yellowstone universe is growing.
In addition to the show's fifth season, Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan has already begun to expand the show's canon on Paramount+. In addition to the existing Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and Sam Elliott-starring prequel, 1883, the streaming service also has another Yellowstone origin story set in the Great Depression era, titled 1923 starring Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford, which will return for a second season. Sheridan has also inked a deal for several in-development spinoffs.
Like 1883 and the rest of Sheridan's slate of upcoming projects for Paramount, the show currently operating under the working title 6666 is expected to be streaming-first on Paramount+, and though no date has yet been announced for when it may debut, according to The Atlantic, it's slated for some time in 2023. The synopsis released along with the show's announcement seems to suggest that it will be set in the modern day, on the historic 6666 Ranch (the actual 266,000 acre property of which was acquired by Sheridan) in West Texas.
Read the full synopsis below:
Founded when Comanches still ruled West Texas, no ranch in America is more steeped in the history of the West than the 6666. Still operating as it did two centuries before, and encompassing an entire county, the 6666 is where the rule of law and the laws of nature merge in a place where the most dangerous thing one does is the next thing ... The 6666 is synonymous with the merciless endeavor to raise the finest horses and livestock in the world, and ultimately where world class cowboys are born and made.
In March 2023, it was also revealed that another spin-off starring Matthew McConaughey is in the works, though no additional details have been shared about the show's subject or connection to Yellowstone.
Catch up on Yellowstone here:
Previous seasons of Yellowstone are available for purchase on Amazon Prime, or streaming through Peacock.
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