Since its premiere in 2018, Yellowstone has been a breakout hit for The Paramount Network and one of the most popular shows on TV. Taylor Sheridan’s modern Western also revitalized Kevin Costner’s career by placing him in the lead as John Dutton, the patriarch of the Dutton family, who own the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch, one of the largest ranches in Montana.
The fifth season of Yellowstone premiered in 2022, but the future of the series and the franchise were called into question when reports emerged that Costner was leaving the show and Paramount Network had already ordered a sequel series that will continue without Costner’s involvement. To bring everyone up to speed, here’s everything you need to know about the future of Yellowstone.
Will there be a sixth season of Yellowstone?
Sort of, but not something labeled as Yellowstone season 6. The six remaining episodes of Yellowstone are still technically part of the fifth season, or season 5B, as Paramount has called it. But at the same time that Paramount confirmed the end of Yellowstone, the studio also announced that a contemporary spinoff is on the way that will feature many of the show’s current cast members.
Additionally, Matthew McConaughey is reportedly being eyed as the lead character in the new series, which will continue the saga of the Dutton family in lieu of a sixth season.
Why is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone?
In February 2023, Deadline reported that the dispute between Costner and The Paramount Network was over his participation in season 5’s filming schedule. It noted that Costner’s priority was Horizon, a new multipart Western film that is his current passion project. According to the report, Costner’s commitments to those films led him to shoot only 50 days for the first half of Yellowstone season 5. But Costner “only wanted to spend a week shooting” for the remaining episodes of the season. Subsequently, Paramount Network made plans to end the series and push toward a sequel show.
Sheridan addressed the issue in a June 2023 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where he said: “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.”
“My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn’t altered,” added Sheridan. “I’ve never had an issue with Kevin that he and I couldn’t work out on the phone. But once lawyers get involved, then people don’t get to talk to each other and start saying things that aren’t true and attempt to shift blame based on how the press or public seem to be reacting. He took a lot of this on the chin, and I don’t know that anyone deserves it … I’m disappointed. It truncates the closure of his character. It doesn’t alter it, but it truncates it.”
Costner has not given interviews about the subject. However, Costner’s departure from Yellowstone came up during his divorce proceedings in September 2023, as reported by Deadline.
“Somewhere along the line, they wanted to change things,” said Costner during his testimony in court. “They wanted to do 5A and 5B; [it] affected Horizon. I was going to do my movie Horizon and leave that show, do my movie, then do B. A show I was only doing once a year I was now doing twice.”
“We did negotiate,” added Costner. “There were issues about creative … I tried to break the logjam. They walked away.”
Costner also noted that he was offered $24 million to shoot Yellowstone seasons 6 and 7. Additionally, Costner said that he will “probably go to court” over his dispute with Paramount Network. But as of January 2024, no court case has been filed by the actor. And it is still unknown if Costner will return for the final episodes of Yellowstone.
Is Matthew McConaughey going to star in the Yellowstone spinoff?
Every report since February 2023 has stated that McConaughey is in negotiations to star in the Yellowstone spinoff series. So far, there has been no confirmation that McConaughey has closed his deal. If McConaughey does agree to a contract, it would be his first leading role on TV since HBO’s first season of True Detective in 2014. McConaughey’s star power is also arguably greater than Costner’s at this point in their respective careers.
Who will Matthew McConaughey play in the Yellowstone spinoff?
That’s a big question and one we can’t really answer at this point. We can only speculate that McConaughey could be playing a member of the Dutton who simply wasn’t mentioned before. But building a series around a character who came out of nowhere would seem odd.
The other possibilities are that McConaughey’s character could marry into the Dutton family, or he could simply be someone who isn’t related to them by blood or marriage. It’s simply too soon to say which way the new series will go.
Which Yellowstone cast members will return for the spinoff?
Prior to last year’s actors’ strike, Deadline reported that “it has not been revealed whether the McConaughey-fronted franchise extension will be set on the Dutton ranch in Montana or elsewhere and which of the original stars of Yellowstone will appear in the spinoff series, but we hear a couple of them have received offers. The plan for the returning cast members may not get finalized until Sheridan finishes writing, we hear.”
Given the way that Yellowstone season 5A ended, it’s hard to picture Wes Bentley and Kelly Reilly both returning for the spinoff series since their respective characters, Jamie and Beth Dutton, have openly contemplated murdering each other over their ongoing dispute. Beth is John Dutton’s daughter and Jamie his adopted son, but they have very different endgames in mind. Jamie has already gone against the family by calling for his father to be impeached from his position as the governor of Montana. That alone could get Jamie sent to the “train station,” where the Dutton family tends to dump the bodies of their enemies.
Does the spinoff series have a title?
The tentative working title is 2024. Or possibly Yellowstone: 2024. But since the final episodes of the flagship series haven’t even been filmed yet, Paramount might need to change the name to 2025.
When will Yellowstone season 5B begin production?
Paramount Network will reportedly resume production of Yellowstone season 5 in late spring. If the strikes hadn’t happened, the episodes would have been filmed last summer.
When will the last episodes of Yellowstone season 5 premiere?
Yellowstone‘s final episodes will premiere on The Paramount Network in November.
Does Kevin Costner’s new movie, Horizon: An American Saga, have any Yellowstone connections?
Earlier this week, Kevin Costner debuted the trailer for his upcoming movie, Horizon: An American Saga. The movie, a passion project of the actor he personally financed, is set to debut in two parts later this year. Yellowstone fans couldn’t help but notice some similarities between the movie and the show: the Western setting; Costner’s role as a tough patriarch defending his land; and the giant cast of well-known character actors like Will Patton, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Rooker, Sam Worthington, Jena Malone, Luke Wilson, and many, many more.
Yet, while the movie shares many of the same themes with Yellowstone, it is not connected in any way with the hit show. The movie is set during the American Civil War, and does not chronicle the early years of Dutton clan like the spinoff shows 1883 and 1923 have recently. That hasn’t stopped fans of Yellowstone from gravitating toward the movie. Good Housekeeping reported that fans of the hit Paramount Network show can’t wait to see the movies, which makes sense given that Costner has long been the figurehead and main attraction of the long-running show.