Insider Claims Kevin Costner May Not Return For Final Yellowstone Episodes, But I Have An Idea For How The Story Can Move Forward

 John Dutton in hat outdoors in Yellowstone.
John Dutton in hat outdoors in Yellowstone.

The ongoing alleged drama surrounding Yellowstone’s final episodes and Kevin Costner continues. And now, it’s been claimed that he will not appear in the second half of the show’s fifth season. It’s been rumored before that the John Dutton actor might leave after Season 5. However, now that it’s been confirmed that this installment will be Yellowstone's final, it’s possible the actor will not be in the last episodes at all. If that’s the case, I have an idea as to how the story can move forward without him.

Will Kevin Costner Not Appear In The Final Episodes Of Yellowstone?

In the October 30 episode of Matthew Belloni’s podcast The Town, he discussed the state of various productions amid the SAG-AFTRA strike. While the actors’ strike came to an end on November 8, both it and the WGA strike have seriously impacted production plans, including Yellowstone's. Commenting on when we could see the modern Western again – and it’s important to note that this was before the announcement that Season 5 would return in late 2024 – the journalist said:

Yellowstone will probably go back into production at the beginning of the year. So it could be out this spring or summer. Scripts are already written, I’m told, or are being written. And the question is whether Costner is in those final episodes of this season of Yellowstone. And my understanding is that, as of now, he is not going to be in those episodes.

While we now know that the final episodes are projected to come out in November on the 2024 TV schedule, we still don’t officially know if Costner will star in them. However, Belloni believes he won’t.

For context, Belloni reported in September that the drama between Costner and Taylor Sheridan got worse after the two had a phone call about his future on Yellowstone. He explained that the two reportedly tried to work things out, and the actor allegedly asked for more money, a reduced schedule and the right to approve the scripts. That last point was the apparent non-starter, as Sheridan has full creative control over the show.

Also, adding fuel to the rumor that Costner might not return, the actor said there’s a chance he might sue over these negotiations that reportedly went South. He explained during his divorce hearing that “there were issues about creative.” He claimed he “tried to break the logjam. They walked away.”

So, if all these rumors prove to be true, it seems likely that the John Dutton actor will not return to the Yellowstone ranch. And if that happens, I have an idea about how the series can move forward without him.

How Yellowstone Could Move Forward Without Kevin Costner

If, and this is a big if, Kevin Costner doesn't return for the last half of Yellowstone’s final season I think it’d be fairly easy to move forward. In the past, John Dutton has suffered from cancer. If Taylor Sheridan needs to write the actor off the show, having him pass away off-screen from that is an easy and logical way to do it. Then the primary drama of Yellowstone Season 5 could be about the succession of the ranch and how the siblings deal with it – much like the final episodes of Succession’s last season.

Who Should Be In The Yellowstone Spinoff 2024?

Cole Hauser as Rip standing against a fence in Yellowstone.
Cole Hauser as Rip standing against a fence in Yellowstone.

Now That We Know When Yellowstone Is Ending, There Are 5 Characters From The Show I Desperately Need To See In The 2024 Spinoff

While I by no means want John Dutton to die in the show, there are also plenty of other plot lines in Yellowstone that can propel the series forward. From Jamie and Beth’s feud to Rip and the Bunkhouse Boys' journey South to take care of the cows to the ongoing issues with Market Equities, there’s a lot to deal with in the final moments of this show. And, the Yellowstone cast is more than capable of handling it.

Overall, I think it’s possible for Yellowstone to move forward without Kevin Costner, if these rumors about him not appearing in the final episodes prove to be true. While we wait to see if John Dutton returns to the ranch, you can stream Seasons 1 through 5A of the drama with a Peacock subscription. You can also stream the other Yellowstone-related shows with a Paramount+ subscription. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as we get closer to Season 5B’s release date in late 2024 as well.