- Kevin Costner’s absence from Yellowstone season 5, part 2 will negatively impact the show’s ending, since he plays a pivotal role as John Dutton.
- For example, the potential impeachment of John Dutton wouldn’t have the same impact without Costner’s presence in the final episodes.
- The unresolved conflicts and plot lines involving John Dutton, such as his feud with Thomas Rainwater and his children’s rivalry, will suffer without Costner’s return, leaving a void in the series’ conclusion.
Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone season 5, part 2 absence will hurt the popular show’s ending in several ways. Reports of the neo-Western’s star chafing at the series’ creative direction cropped up in the wake of the fifth mid-season finale, with Costner allegedly refusing to commit to the last batch of episodes until he read an ending for his character, rancher John Dutton, that he liked. Created by Taylor Sheridan, the drama’s on-screen stakes are just as high as the behind-the-scenes ones, especially as Yellowstone nears its finale. Now, just ahead of filming, it’s been reported that Kevin Costner won’t appear in Yellowstone‘s final episodes at all.
While the turn of events hasn’t been officially confirmed by Costner, Sheridan, or any of the show’s representatives, the likelihood of John Dutton dying in Yellowstone season 5 just increased tenfold. Despite Yellowstone‘s impressive cast of returning season 5 characters, Costner’s Dutton patriarch-turned-governor of Montana is the personality around which everyone else (and their problems) seems to orbit. Losing him ahead of schedule will be a blow to the show. Tasked with giving John Dutton a proper send-off (potentially sans Costner), Yellowstone‘s team will have to get creative. Even so, no amount of clever writing will be able to account for the void at the series’ center.
10, John Dutton’s Potential Impeachment Will Feel Underwhelming
In the mid-season finale, Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley) made it clear that he isn’t afraid to leverage John’s past indiscretions against him. As Jamie’s feud with his sister, Beth (Kelly Reilly), approaches a (probably) violent climax, it seemed like John was bound to end up in the cross-hairs of his kids’ conflict. If Jamie were to reveal John’s past involvement in murders (and Yellowstone‘s fabled Train Station dumping ground), the newly minted governor of Montana would have much more to lose than his ranch. Unfortunately, an impeachment sans Costner wouldn’t play as well.
9, Thomas Rainwater & John Dutton Won’t Have A Proper Resolution
In addition to being the chief of the Broken Rock Reservation, Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham) is a casino mogul and high-profile businessperson who’s had a long-standing feud with John Dutton. Eager to reclaim the stolen land the Dutton ranch stands on, Thomas has faced threats from Yellowstone‘s central family as well as the hawk-like real-estate developers who are eyeing the land. Given the drawn-out nature of Thomas and John’s conflict, it seemed likely things would come to a head in Yellowstone season 5, part 2. Unfortunately, without Costner, a Western-style finale shootout wouldn’t have the same impact.
8, John Won’t See The End Of Jamie & Beth’s Feud
As mentioned, Jamie and Beth Dutton have been at odds for years. As Yellowstone has progressed, Jamie and Beth’s rivalry has reached new, terrifying heights. While it’s not yet clear who will die in Yellowstone season 5, part 2, it seems incredibly likely that the out-for-blood siblings will either gun each other down or get everyone else caught in the middle of their fight. Leveraging the siblings’ father, John, as a pawn in their game
— or as an unintended victim of their violent actions — would certainly ramp up the show’s drama. However, if Costner isn’t returning for the series finale, that changes this compelling setup.
7, The Potential Train Station Reveal Won’t Carry The Same Weight
As viewers have seen in the show’s four and a half seasons, the Train Station is a killing ground for the folks aligned with Yellowstone Ranch. A remote canyon that lies just past the Montana border, the Train Station has been used as a dumping ground by the Dutton family for decades. “It lays in a jurisdictional dead zone in a county with a population of exactly zero,” John explains in season 5’s first half. “Hence, no jury of your peers.” That said, Governor Duttons seems pretty convinced that he and his family are safe from legal backlash.
On the other hand, Jamie is eager to test those legal limits. In his feud against Beth, which has now grown to encompass her ally John, Jamie doesn’t seem to take issue with implicating his father (and family on the whole) in a slew of past crimes. However, if Costner’s John isn’t on the screen to take accountability — or deal with Jamie — the Train Station reveal won’t carry as much weight. The reveal could also feed into the impeachment theory, which, as mentioned, just won’t play out satisfyingly if Costner is absent.
6, John & Jamie Won’t Be Able To Reconcile
Some viewers theorize that Yellowstone season 5 will see Jamie returning to the family fold. While his death might be what people (including Beth) are gunning for, plenty of series don’t kill off the villain. It’s possible that John’s absence will push the writers to take Jamie’s story in a new direction — one that possibly involves a redemption arc. At the same time, Jamie rejoining the Duttons and not being able to reconcile with his father is frustrating in its own right. This one instance is proof that Costner’s absence will be felt deeply in other characters’ endings too.
5, Kayce & Monica Might Permanently Take Over The Ranch
While John is the patriarch of the Dutton family, he’s also the one responsible for leading the ranchers. Of course, John’s time as governor reshaped his relationship with Yellowstone Ranch. Currently, Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser), Beth’s husband, has stepped into a leadership role, with the mid-season finale seeing him steer the other cowboys to Texas. Meanwhile, John’s other son, Kayce (Luke Grimes), has been left to run the ranch with his wife, Monica (Kelsey Asbille), and son, Tate (Brecken Merrill). Regardless of the division of labor, John’s permanent absence will leave voids that need filling.
4, Environmental Activist Summer Higgins Wouldn’t Have Any Allies Left
John’s girlfriend, Summer Higgins (Piper Perabo), is an unlikely match for the meat-and-potatoes rancher. An environmental activist (and vegan), Summer has found herself under arrest many times for protesting various injustices. In season 4, she’s sentenced to nearly 40 years in prison. However, once John is elected governor in season 5, he commutes her sentence and takes her on as an advisor in his efforts to better understand his opponents in an upcoming court case. Even after a fight with Beth, Summer remains at Yellowstone Ranch as John’s guest. Of course, if John isn’t in season 5, Summer may outlive her purpose.
3, John Dutton Won’t Live To See 1883’s Prophecy Come To Pass
In the spin-off, 1883, a prophecy reveals Yellowstone‘s ending — or so viewers think. While looking for a place to settle, the Duttons encounter Spotted Eagle (Graham Greene), a Crow elder who suggests the family try Paradise Valley. However, taking the land for the creation of the Dutton family ranch comes at a price. “In seven generations my people will rise up and take it back from you,” Spotted Eagle warns. It’s theorized that Tate Dutton, whose mother, Monica, is an Indigenous person, will bridge the long-standing divide between the Duttons and the people of Broken Rock Reservation. Sadly, John won’t be around long enough to see how the prophetic moment plays out.
2, John Dutton’s Legacy Project Will Probably Falter
Eager to find a way to stop developers from taking the ranch’s land, John Dutton devises a plan he hopes will help them in the short- and long-terms. In order to make Yellowstone Ranch a more respected institution, John decides to keep racehorses. At the end of season 4, John gets his first champion racehorse, but the fight against Caroline Warner (Jacki Weaver), the CEO of Market Equities, is as urgent as ever. Without John at the helm, it’s unlikely that his legacy plan would continue to be crucial to the ranch’s fight, though it’s possible his loved ones would carry the racehorse legacy project on in his name.
1, An Off-Screen Death Will Undercut John Dutton’s Impact On Yellowstone
Undoubtedly, an off-screen death would be incredibly underwhelming for a character as significant as John Dutton. Costner’s definitive role as of late, John has become the kind of anti-hero who ranks among television’s most beloved personalities. Outside of John’s pop-cultural impact, he’s also the series’ protagonist. While killing him off seems to be the best, least clunky way to deal with Costner’s absence, viewers will still be robbed of a proper, fitting sendoff. In many ways, that’s the most unfortunate part of Costner’s reported Yellowstone season 5, part 2 absence.