BIG UPDATE: Here’s How Yellowstone Will End Without Kevin Costner!

Is Yellowstone Ending? Here's What We Know So Far

Fans of the hit series Yellowstone have been on the edge of their seats this year, but it wasn’t the onscreen drama that was keeping everyone in suspense. In February, Deadline reported that the beloved Western could end in the near future, and since then Paramount has officially confirmed the news: Yellowstone will end after the final episodes of season 5.

Given the ongoing strikes of both the writers and actors guilds, there’s now speculation that the November premiere date for Yellowstone’s still-to-be-filmed final episodes may be delayed, but so far no additional news has been forthcoming.

Why is Yellowstone ending?

Not long after the first half of Yellowstone’s fifth season wrapped up Deadline reported rumors that there could be problems with the show moving forward. “The crux of the issue with the original Yellowstone series involves star Kevin Costner and disagreements over shooting schedules,” they wrote. The publication cited sources saying that Cotsner only wanted to film for a limited amount of time—claims that Costner’s lawyer later called “an absolute lie.”

However, in a September hearing around his divorce from Christine Baumgartner, Costner revealed that there was a “long, hard-fought negotiation” over the scheduling for the season. The choice to break the filming of Yellowstone season 5 into two parts, Costner indicated, caused problems with scheduling for the four-film Civil War saga Horizon, which he is writing, directing, and starring in. The show “still hadn’t finished,” the first half of the season when his negotiations began for the second half, and according to the actor, there were “no scripts written” for the back half of the season.

Amidst salary negotiations—Costner said he believed that his representatives had requested $12 million for his participation—he said that the network, “walked away.”

“I couldn’t help them any more,” Costner testified. “We tried to negotiate, they offered me less money than previous seasons, there were issues with the creative…” Though Costner did not address any specific creative issues, it’s long been speculated that Costner and Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan were at odds.

In a June 2023 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Sheridan said he’s “disappointed” with Costner leaving, and that it “truncates the closure of his character. It doesn’t alter it, but it truncates it.” He also hinted that John Dutton was never going to survive through the end of the show.

Wes Bentley spoke about the show’s ending

Wes Bentley, who plays the beleaguered Jamie Dutton on the show, has opened up about the series ending, along with some of his hopes for the final episodes and the things he will (and won’t) miss about Yellowstone.

“There is both relief and trepidation because we put so much into this. You feel like it’s a part of you,” the actor told THR, revealing that he hasn’t seen any scripts for the show’s final run of episodes. “But I am excited to see the culmination of all of this. What is the resolve here? Especially with John. I’m intrigued like everyone else.”

“We’re at a point where I think everything is possible with the Duttons,” he said. “It’s so hot and combustible right now that it could blow them all up together. I think the potential for that is real. But I also know that I am always surprised by [show creator Taylor Sheridan] and the turns and directions. I’m kind of waiting for whatever extra thing he is thinking about that I’m not thinking about. But with the tension and danger right now, it potentially could be either they are all gone, or one of them survives.”

As for his feelings about Jamie, the actor laughed, “I hate playing him. I try not to judge my characters, but it’s been enough years that it’s hard not to at this point. It’s very hard to play him. And at the same time, I love it. I’m going to miss the challenge.” He added, “I will miss it, but I will also celebrate it being over.”

The show will get a spin-off

The announcement that the show is ending came along with the reveal that it will also be getting a sequel series, which will premiere in December (the second half of Yellowstone season 5 is still scheduled to debut in November, a move from its originally announced summer placement.) Given the ongoing industry strikes, those premiere dates remain under scrutiny.

There are few details about the as-yet-unnamed sequel, though the announcement has reignited speculation that it could be the previously confirmed Matthew McConaughey spin-off that Deadline first reported rumors of in February.

At the time, it was suggested that Yellowstone would end and a spin-off show starring McConaughey would continue the Dutton family saga, along with stars from the original show—but not Kevin Costner, who was later reported to be leaving the series after season 5.

A Paramount Network spokesperson originally told Deadline, “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. Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we are always working on franchise expansions of this incredible world he has built. Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner.”

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