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All About Kevin Costner's 'Moral Death' Clause for His 'Yellowstone' Character John Dutton

Costner's departure from 'Yellowstone' was confirmed in May, as well as the end of the Paramount Network series after its fifth season

<p>Paramount</p> Kevin Costner is pictured as John Dutton on

Paramount

Kevin Costner is pictured as John Dutton on 'Yellowstone'.

The drama surrounding Kevin Costner's exit from Yellowstone is still ongoing.

According to Puck News, Costner's contract included a "moral death" clause. This provision, while unusual, indicated that Costner had a say in how his character John Dutton could be killed off the show.

The report claimed that Costner, 68, had a long list of demands that included increased salary, reduced shooting schedule and the right to weigh in on creator Taylor Sheridan's scripts. Additionally, the outlet claimed that Costner's reps were "begging" for Sheridan, 53, and Paramount to have him return for season 5B as well as possibly seasons 6 and 7.

Representatives for Paramount did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Related: 'Yellowstone' Season Looks Unlikely to Air This Summer amid Reported Production Delays, Kevin Costner Exit

Costner has starred as John Dutton on the Paramount Network's modern-day Western drama since 2018. His efforts on the series allowed him to earn a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and win a 2023 Golden Globe Award.

The success of Yellowstone spawned an entire franchise with multiple spinoffs, including 1883, which is led by real-life couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

<p>Presley Ann/Getty </p>

Presley Ann/Getty

Reports of Costner's rumored exit first surfaced in May, with speculation that Matthew McConaughey was going to replace him. But Paramount Network later confirmed that Yellowstone would be ending after the second half of its fifth season, which was slated to debut in November but the Writers Guild strike has sparked production delays.

"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," Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios, said in a statement.

"The Dutton story continues, picking up where Yellowstone leaves off in another epic tale," added David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios, which produces the series. "We are thrilled to bring this new journey to audiences around the world."

Related: 'Yellowstone' to End with Season 5 in November — and a Sequel Series Will Debut a Month Later

The network later confirmed its plans to move forward with a spinoff starring McConaughey, 53.

Costner — who is in the midst of a messy divorce from estranged wife Christine Baumgartner — sought to film fewer days on Yellowstone to star in his next Western epic Horizon. But according to The Hollywood Reporter, there are still talks to bring him back to shoot scenes that bring John's storyline to a close.

<p>Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic</p> Kevin Costner attends the Pre-GRAMMY Gala & GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons in February 2023.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Kevin Costner attends the Pre-GRAMMY Gala & GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons in February 2023.

Sheridan told THR he was "disappointed" in Costner's decision to exit the show.

"It truncates the closure of his character," he said in June. "It doesn't alter it, but it truncates it."

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Yellowstone is available to stream on Paramount+ and Peacock, with a weekly re-airing from the series debut beginning Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

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