Yellowstone

10 Reasons Kevin Costner’s New Western Franchise Can Beat Yellowstone

Kevin Costner's Horizon franchise could be revolutionary for the Western genre, even competing with Yellowstone as a 21st-century Western saga.

  • Kevin Costner’s new film series, Horizon, has the potential to contend or even overtake Yellowstone in cultural appeal as a premiere title in contemporary Western media.
  •  Horizon is a multi-decade passion project for Costner, spanning four films with an all-star cast, and is set to be a massive accomplishment in the Western genre.
  •  Costner’s increased marketability thanks to Yellowstone is important for the success of Horizon, and the scale of the film series will make it the biggest Western saga in decades.

Kevin Costner’s new film series, Horizon, is set to be epic in scale and can compete with Yellowstone. Taylor Sheridan’s Western TV universe has been expanding with sequels, as Yellowstone is set to conclude after season 5. The growing franchise is the premiere title in contemporary Western media, continuously bringing prestige television to fans of a genre that has been largely missing in the 21st century. Horizon looks to be the first film series that could contend or even overtake Yellowstone in cultural appeal.

Horizon has been a multi-decade passion project for Kevin Costner and is planned to span four films, all of which are shooting back to back, and to be released months apart from each other. Costner is set to star in every film and is also the writer and director of each installment. For fans of Western films, Horizon is the project to keep an eye out for, especially following Kevin Costner’s exit from Yellowstone season 5.

10, Horizon Has A Star-Studded Cast

Kevin Costner has recruited an all-star lineup of supporting actors for his cast. The cast includes Yellowstone actors Will Patton and Danny Huston. Notable names like Jena Malone, Sienna Miller, Michael Rooker, Sam Worthington, Luke Wilson, and Giovanni Ribisi are all set to appear in the ensemble. In an interview in June 2022, Costner mentioned that they were casting 170 speaking roles, meaning the four films will have a ridiculously large amount of characters.

9, Kevin Costner Has Been Planning Horizon For Decades

The original script for Horizon was written in 1988, though Costner had trouble getting the story made multiple times throughout his career. It’s shocking that a Western with Kevin Costner couldn’t get funding in 1988, as he was on top of the world at the time, with a hot streak of starring roles in successful films. He stuck with the project, though, eventually re-writing the story later on with a partner. Costner wasn’t able to let go of the idea and continued to pursue it with his own funds. This sort of dedication has to be for something special, as Costner seems to have chosen it over continuing to be part of the Yellowstone cast.

8, Costner’s Horizon Franchise Can Use Yellowstone As A Template

Yellowstone has shown how to make a Western epic appealing to a modern audience, and shown that there is still a massive market for the genre. While Yellowstone isn’t perfect, its overarching stories are pretty strong and have managed to have a relatable appeal for a genre that tends to explore larger-than-life characters. While Horizon is set to be a traditional style Western, it can still take lessons from the way Yellowstone constructs its characters and world.

7, Kevin Costner’s Marketability Has Increased Thanks To Yellowstone

Kevin Costner was at his peak of marketability in the film industry in the early ’90s, and while he continued to appear in big films like Draft Day, Hidden Figures, and Man of Steel, he’s found a popularity resurgence with Yellowstone that he hasn’t had in decades. Yellowstone has allowed Costner to showcase his skill in a new era of his career, with his name being the marquee on a massive franchise. This increase in popularity for the 68-year-old actor is important for pulling off a new film franchise this late in his career.

6, The Scale Of Horizon Is Massive

The Western genre has been headlined by epics like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West, which explore the American mythology of the Western genre on a massive scale. Horizon will be the next Western epic, with four full-length films set to release. As much as turning everything into a franchise can be worrying, many of the greatest films ever are large in scale and length, and Horizon has the chance of being a massive accomplishment in that regard.

5, Oppenheimer Increased The Desire For Historical Epics

The success of Oppenheimer, and of course, Barbie, will likely have a massive influence on the world of Hollywood filmmaking for years to come. Oppenheimer proved that, when marketed and executed well, a biopic/historical drama can be extremely profitable. Oppenheimer 

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is R-rated and three hours long, two qualities that might deter audiences if not for the film’s great quality and hype. While this marketability is still fresh, studios will try to emulate it with similar projects and ideas 

4, Kevin Costner Is Personally Invested In Horizon

Kevin Costner has invested a great deal of his own wealth and time into Horizon. This is a passion project for him, and he’s taken major gambles on the film’s success, selling acres of real estate in order to fund it. But beyond money, Costner has cast his 13-year-old son, Hayes, in the film. The star described the decision as wanting his son to be involved in a project that was close and personal to him.

3, A More Compact Story Can Avoid Yellowstone’s Problems

Yellowstone has struck gold with its storytelling at times, but Yellowstone‘s latest seasons have been criticized for being redundant and less exciting than previous ones. Writing a 600-page script for a season of television each year is a challenge, having to balance a number of characters, and create a large enough antagonist that can feel threatening to the Yellowstone ranch, but not actually do enough damage to upset the show’s storytelling for the following season. A more compact series of films can avoid many of these issues of repetition and filler scenes, and focus purely on one, centered story.

2, Horizon Is A More Traditional Western

Yellowstone is a Western that takes place in the modern day. Horizon is traditional in the sense that it will take place in the 1800s and explore ideas of the American frontier, the Civil War, and cowboy mythology. Yellowstone’s prequel series 1883 was met with a ton of praise, as viewers seemed to really enjoy modern storytelling in that era. With different eras of Western films spanning decades in the industry, Horizon can use its retrospective knowledge of the genre, combining what’s worked well in the past with modern ideas.

1, There Hasn’t Been An 1800s Western Of This Scale In Decades

Western films in the past few decades haven’t been made to the scale of the traditional Westerns of the 20th century. While recent years have seen Westerns like Django Unchained and 3:10 to Yuma, none have been epics like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, or even had an ensemble cast like TombstoneHorizon will be the biggest Western film saga in decades, which is an extremely exciting idea on its own and can make Costner’s exit from Yellowstone worth it.

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