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Yellowstone Season 5: When Are The Final Episodes Of The Kevin Costner Drama Coming?

 A screenshot of Kevin Costner looking serious in Yellowstone.
A screenshot of Kevin Costner looking serious in Yellowstone.

For the first three Yellowstone seasons, fans were primed to spend late summers with the Dutton family, but that all changed with Seasons 4 and 5. The fifth outing began back in November 2022, with hell breaking loose following the midseason finale thanks to reports of chaos behind the scenes between star Kevin Costner and co-creator Taylor Sheridan. Months of strife-centric rumors then led to the shocking reveal that the fifth season’s back six episodes will mark the end of Yellowstone’s ratings-dominating run. (At least on cable, since it’s still crushing out on streaming for those with Peacock subscriptions.)

Even that resolution was plagued with further issues, however, largely due to the elongated entertainment industry strikes that took up half the year, so any and all plans to conclude Yellowstone in 2023 were dashed entirely. So let’s take a look at the latest on when we’ll get to catch up with Beth and Rip, Kayce and Monica, and others, and whether or not Kevin Costner’s John Dutton will even be around.

Is Yellowstone Really And Truly Ending With Season 5?

Unfortunately for fans who have tuned into the Montana-set drama for years, it does indeed look like Yellowstone is setting itself up for a horse ride into the sunset. In May 2023, a few months after the behind-the-scenes struggles were first reported, Paramount officially revealed that the western drama is heading into its “epic, final cycle” when it returns to the network.

Granted, that was before either of the strikes started, and before Yellowstone airing reruns in CBS’ primetime schedule drew millions of new fans to the franchise. So because the TV industry can be a fairly fickle behemoth at times, I wouldn’t be 100% shocked if the months of strike-sponsored silence allowed heads to cool enough that agreements could be made to reverse the cancellation with a Season 6 order. Now, I don’t expect it to happen, but then I didn’t expect the biggest show on TV to get waylaid by its Oscar-winning star’s schedule complaints.

When Will Yellowstone Return With Season 5’s Final Episodes?

From the early outset, the plan was to have Yellowstone return to filming in the months after its first ever midseason finale, so that the back half of Season 5 could return in Summer 2023. Those plans obviously shifted when the scheduling arguments came to light, with that conflict later coinciding with Kevin Costner’s divorce from Christine Baumgartner, and the plans temporarily changed with the goal of returning to Paramount Network in November of the same year.

The strikes made that plan all but impossible, and it actually took until November 2023 for a revised plan to reach fans’ ears. At that point, Paramount Network revealed that Yellowstone Season 5B is set for November 2024, around two years after the season began. No specific dates have been locked down since, as the SAG-AFTRA strike was actually still in place when those plans were announced. So there’s technically still a chance that further delays will take place, but hopefully not.

How Far Into Production Is Season 5?

Speaking to the idea that further delays are possible, Yellowstone has yet to officially return to production for Season 5. As we reported in November, the current goal is for the western to kick off filming for the final episodes in late Spring 2024.

A screenshot of Luke Grimes as Kayce in Yellowstone standing in a doctor's office.
A screenshot of Luke Grimes as Kayce in Yellowstone standing in a doctor's office.

I Love Yellowstone, But I Have A Major Bone To Pick With How The Show Uses Luke Grimes' Kayce

The producers pushing things later and later is obviously not ideal for audiences to hear or think about, but it’s kind of a necessity in this case. The area where Yellowstone films in Montana can get pretty harsh in the winter, so the point there is to wait until the seasons have changed and all the snow on the ground has melted away.

Is Kevin Costner Returning For Yellowstone’s Final Episodes?

While it might have previously seemed blasphemous to consider a season of Yellowstone airing without the Dutton family matriarch at the helm, but that’s apparently a reality that fans will need to wrap their minds around, as Kevin Costner is not expected to return to finish filming Season 5. Rumors about his exit started up earlier in 2023, tied to his scheduling conflicts and his desire to put more work into his upcoming western features Horizon: A Western Saga.

Unfortunately, those rumors were never debunked, and they carried on even through the most recent updates about Season 5’s return, so unless something wild happens in the next few months, Kevin Costner won’t be back to reprise John Dutton, which is seemingly a huge creative hump for Taylor Sheridan to cross without upending the character’s journey and legacy. We have ideas for how Yellowstone could move on without him, but that’s more of a worst-case scenario than anything.

What Else Can Yellowstone Fans Look Forward To?

Thankfully, the series’ endgame came packaged with the reveal that Paramount Network gave the greenlight to the previously rumored continuation series, which now boasts the title 2024. No further details were shared at the time, but this is the project that will reportedly star Matthew McConaughey in some capacity, as well as certain returning characters from the flagship drama. (Here’s who we desperately need to see in the spinoff.)

Another upcoming Yellowstone franchise series is the spinoff 1944 which will follow the next generation of characters following the prequel 1923, though cast and storyline details have yet to be revealed. Speaking of, the second season of 1923 will be streaming with a Paramount+ subscription at some point in 2024.

Until we hear more about the remaining Yellowstone episodes coming together, fans can stream all of the currently released episodes on Peacock, which does indeed include the first eight episodes of Season 5. And head to our 2024 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are confirmed to be returning soon.