Yellowstone fans were still holding out hope that Kevin Costner would come back for a few episodes to wrap up his storyline — but he says he’s already taken John Dutton to the train station.
Costner, 68, said he “concluded his work” on Yellowstone last year in court documents related to his child support battle with estranged wife Christine Baumgartner. The first half of season 5 wrapped up in January on a cliffhanger, with Jamie (Wes Bentley) calling for his dad’s impeachment. John, meanwhile, seemed ready to team up with Beth (Kelly Reilly) to have Jamie murdered. That leaves a lot of plot left for John, but according to Costner’s legal team, he “is not involved in any future episodes” of the show.
The fifth season of Yellowstone was always set to air in two parts, with the second half originally scheduled to premiere this summer. That deadline came and went, however, amid reports that Costner was on the outs with showrunner Taylor Sheridan and didn’t want to film additional episodes.
In May, Paramount Network confirmed that Yellowstone will end with the second half of season 5. A spokesperson said the new episodes would start airing in November, but that is now unlikely to happen as the writers’ and actors’ unions remain on strike.
Despite the delays, a June profile of Sheridan, 53, in The Hollywood Reporter stated that there were “ongoing discussions to try to convince Costner to film a few scenes to wrap his character,” but the scripts were not finished.
Sheridan, meanwhile, said he was “disappointed” by Costner’s decision to leave the series, though he noted John Dutton might not have survived for all of the final episodes anyway. “It truncates the closure of his character,” Sheridan said. “It doesn’t alter it, but it truncates it.”
In his testimony at the child support hearing, Costner claimed he discussed participating in a sixth season of Yellowstone with the show’s producers, but negotiations failed. “There were issues about creative,” he said on Friday, September 1, according to a report from Fox News. “I tried to break the log jam. They walked away.”
Costner went on to say that splitting season 5 into two parts interfered with his plans to work on Horizon, a four-part film series that he is directing. “I was going to do my movie Horizon and leave that show, do my movie, then do [the second half],” he reportedly said. “A show I was only doing once a year I was now doing twice.”
He also claimed he was offered $24 million to film seasons 5, 6 and 7 before Paramount Network pulled the plug on Yellowstone.
Costner’s Yellowstone earnings have come up repeatedly in his divorce negotiations with Baumgartner, 49. Ahead of the hearing, his legal team filed a brief noting that his Yellowstone salary was unusual in the course of his career.
“Yellowstone was a complete aberration and provided Kevin with an unusually high level of income — a level he has never had in the past,” read court docs obtained by Us Weekly. “Yellowstone was a once-in-a-lifetime event … going forward, his income will not reach that level — ever.”