"Yellowstone" is officially coming to an end. Paramount announced on 5 May in a statement obtained by POPSUGAR that the long-running and highly beloved series will end with season five. The show will be replaced with a new sequel spinoff series from creator Taylor Sheridan. "'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," President and CEO Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios Chris McCarthy said in the statement at the time.
"The Dutton story continues, picking up where Yellowstone leaves off in another epic tale. We are thrilled to bring this new journey to audiences around the world," said 101 Studios CEO David Glasser.
The news came amid rumours that the series's star, Kevin Costner, was planning to exit the series at the end of the season. The actor stars as John Dutton III, and Deadline first reported in February that the show was ending and Costner would be leaving. They also reported the new spinoff was in the works with Matthew McConaughey joining the cast. Paramount denied the report at the time, telling POPSUGAR in a statement, "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." But as for McConaughey, they said, "Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we'd love to partner." On 3 May, Entertainment Tonight reported that production sources confirmed to the outlet that Costner wouldn't return to "Yellowstone."
It's not clear who from "Yellowstone" will appear in the new series. The show's sprawling cast includes Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Asbille, and Gil Birmingham. McCarthy previously confirmed a spinoff starring McConaughey in a March interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Paramount said in the 5 May statement that the sequel series will debut in December.
For his part, Sheridan continues to have a strong relationship with Paramount and has already expanded the "Yellowstone" universe with two prequel series — "1883" and "1923" — for Paramount+. "1923," which stars Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, has been renewed for season two.
Sheridan has also created other shows for Paramount+, including "Mayor of Kingstown" and "Tulsa King." He's behind two additional upcoming series for the streamer, as well: "Lioness" starring Zoe Saldaña and Nicole Kidman, and "Bass Reeves" starring David Oyelowo and Dennis Quaid. "Bass Reeves" is an offshoot of "1883." McCarthy told THR in March that Sheridan has over 10 projects in various stages with the company. So even though "Yellowstone" proper is ending, there will still be many more shows like it to come — some of which Sheridan teased in a June interview with The Hollywood Reporter, during which he also finally addressed the public drama with Costner.
Is Kevin Costner Leaving "Yellowstone?"
Deadline previously reported that Costner's issue with "Yellowstone" was with his filming schedule. The actor had allegedly limited himself to 65 days of shooting for the first part of the fifth season, but he only wanted to film for 50. For part two of the season, Deadline said he allegedly only wanted to spend one week shooting, which has caused issues. Costner has not commented on the report and has not addressed his departure. Representatives for Costner have not responded to POPSUGAR's request for comment about his status with the series. Paramount did not announce if he will be returning for the sequel.
Sheridan finally addressed all the speculation about Costner's role in the series ending in the June 21 Hollywood Reporter interview. The article doubled down previous reports that Costner requested less and less days on his "Yellowstone" filming schedule. Sheridan claimed, "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." Variety said that discussions with Costner about filming wrap-up scenes as John were ongoing as the actor focuses on his four-film Western, "Horizon."
Said Sheridan, "My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn't altered. His creation of John Dutton is symbolic and powerful … and 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. His movie seems to be a great priority to him and he wants to shift focus. I sure hope [the movie is] worth it — and that it's a good one." Regardless, Sheridan admitted that he's "disappointed."
Though John's story is now truncated, as Sheridan put it, the original ending he envisioned for "Yellowstone" remains unchanged.
Costner won a Golden Globe for his performance on the show back in January.
"Yellowstone" Season 5 Part 2 Release Date
The second half of "Yellowstone" season five is expected to be released this November, though The Hollywood Reporter said in its 21 June article that date now seems unlikely, given the WGA writer's strike. The show was originally looking to release part two this summer. Actor and singer Lainey Wilson and Ian Bohen confirmed to ET on 2 April that the second half of the season hadn't started filming. Sheridan said that regardless, he is writing the series' conclusion — and would do 10 episodes more, rather than the previously reported six. Said Sheridan, "It'll be as long as it needs to be."