Kevin Costner’s New Western Franchise Problem Risks Causing His Yellowstone Exit To Backfire

Kevin Costner’s Horizon movies carry high stakes upon their Summer 2024 release considering what the actor has sacrificed to create them.

Kevin Costner’s new Western franchise Horizon: An American Saga runs the risk of his already controversial Yellowstone exit. The celebrated Taylor Sheridan and Paramount+ series has had a bumpy road over the course of 2023, with multiple delays and behind-the-scenes tensions regarding how the series, which only has six episodes left. After Costner had initially negotiated for a lesser commitment on Yellowstone’s final episodes, he ended up walking away from the series altogether to completely refocus on his Civil War-era passion project Horizon.

The first two installments of Costner’s Horizon franchise are set to release in Summer 2024, with Horizon: Chapter 1 premiering on June 28th and Horizon: Chapter 2 releasing on August 16th. The two-part movie event will mark the first time that Costner has directed himself in a feature film since 2003’s Open Range. It should be noted that Costner’s two Academy Awards come from his work as a director on the 1991 Best Picture winner Dances with Wolves. The two Horizon films will also mark the first screenwriting credits for Costner, but developing concerns about Horizon: Chapters 3 & 4 raise questions about the strength of the new Western franchise.

Kevin Costner’s next Western will be released in 2024, and that means it can beat an actor record tied to a memorable movie released in 1990.

The Stakes For Horizon: An American Saga Are Higher Because Of Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone Exit

Costner’s self-imposed exit from the final episodes of Yellowstone places a great deal and additional pressure on his Horizon franchise, particularly because he left Yellowstone to focus more on Horizon. With such a direct and drastic shift from Yellowstone to HorizonCostner’s fans will be eager to see for themselves what led the acclaimed actor and director to essentially abandon Yellowstone as it was heading for the finish line.

Costner’s exit places the integrity of Yellowstone’s final episode in jeopardy, so Yellowstone fans might be more critical or expect a lot out of the Horizon movies as a result. A lead actor walking away from such a successful and celebrated series such as Yellowstone in its final season is practically unheard of. Costner has reportedly invested a great deal of his time and money into his Horizon series, which only raises the stakes and consequences of failure if Horizon fails to produce Yellowstone levels of popularity and acclaim.

With Kevin Costner exiting Yellowstone ahead of season 5, part 2, viewers are trying to recall if John Dutton had a cancer scare in previous seasons.

Why Horizon: An American Saga Keeps Getting Riskier For Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner in Horizon, closeup

Costner’s departure from Yellowstone to fuel his passion for his Horizon movies already added additional pressure to his new cinematic venture. There was also some confusion about the unorthodox release strategy of the first two installments of Horizon which has seemed to smooth over. Costner’s biggest challenge lies in his difficulty in finding funding for his anticipated Horizon: Chapters 3 & 4. Naturally, investors, producers, and financiers would want to see how the first two chapters of Horizon: An American Saga play out before committing to further sequels, but Costner has created some very high stakes for his Western project.

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