More drama in the Yellowstone-verse. Court documents in Kevin Costner’s divorce proceedings with his wife Christine Baumgartner are shedding light on what is happening between Kevin Costner and Yellowstone. Why is Kevin Costner not in Yellowstone Season 5, part 2? Here’s everything that we know.
On Yellowstone, Costner stars as John Dutton III, the six-generation patriarch on Paramount’s hit Western series. Created by Taylor Sheridan, the show follows the Dutton family as they protect the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in scenic Montana. Costner assumed the role when the show debuted back in 2018. Since its inception, the cowboy drama has performed exceptionally well on TV and streaming platforms. It was named the most-watched show on TV for 2022 and the most-watched cable premiere since The Walking Dead in 2017, according to Deadline.
On May 5, 2023, Paramount officially announced that Yellowstone will be ending after Season 5 and there will not be a sixth season of the successful Paramount series. The final episodes of Yellowstone Season 5, Part 2, are now slated to be released in November 2023 (but the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strikes will likely push that timeline back to 2024 or later).
Deadline first reported in February 2012 that Paramount Network was choosing to end Yellowstone to create a new show without Costner due to filming and scheduling issues with the lead actor. Sources told the magazine that Costner, who originally limited himself to 65 days of filming on Yellowstone for previous seasons, only wanted to film for 50 days for the first part of season 5, which aired from November 2022 to January 2023. (Costner’s lawyer, Marty Singer, denied these reports at the time.)
Sheridan opened up about the allegations against Costner in a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter in June 2023. “My last conversation with Kevin was that he had this passion project he wanted to direct. He and the network were arguing about when he could be done with Yellowstone. I said, ‘We can certainly work a schedule toward [his preferred exit date],’ which we did,” Sheridan explained.
As for the alleged shooting schedule issues with Costner, Sheridan stated “I didn’t do anything to begin with!” adding that he doesn’t dictate the schedule. “I don’t determine when things start filming.” The Hollywood Reporter also reported that there were ongoing conversations to try to convince Costner to film a few scenes to wrap up his character, but the scripts were not completed.
But Yellowstone drama isn’t the only drama the actor is dealing with at the moment. The actor’s wife Christine Baumgartner filed to divorce Costner in May 2023 citing “irreconcilable differences” for their split. So far, their divorce has been a messy one – from allegations that Baumgartner violated their prenup by refusing to move out of their house to Costner not paying enough in child support. The couple share three children together: Sons Cayden (age 15) and Hayes (age 14) and their daughter Grace (age 12).
Now, new information is coming out in court documents about Costner’s involvement in Yellowstone, including whether the lead actor was offered an opportunity to stay on the show for a sixth season. Keep reading to find out more.
Why is Kevin Costner not in Yellowstone Season 5, part 2?
Why is Kevin Costner not in Yellowstone Season 5, part 2? The actor is reportedly no longer under contract for Yellowstone and is not answering questions about how his time on the show came to a close. In court documents obtained by Us Weekly in August 2023, Christine’s attorneys claimed that Costner “refused to answer questions about whether he was offered the opportunity” to star in a potential sixth season “or if he simply chose to quit.”
His ex’s legal team also questioned the actor about his participation in the Western drama as part of their attempt to determine his income ahead of the couple’s upcoming child support hearing. The brief also noted that Costner was paid $10 million for Season 5 of Yellowstone – or $1.25 million per episode for the first half of the season.
The news of Costner’s potential firing comes after the actor reportedly cut ties with Yellowstone and is “no longer under contract” for the Paramount hit, according to court documents obtained by Insider in July 2023. In the documents, Costner said that he will earn much less than he did in 2023 because he is no longer under contract for the show. “I will earn substantially less in 2023 than I did in 2022. This is because I am no longer under contract for ‘Yellowstone,’ the principal source of my income last year,” Costner said, noting that he will only receive “back-end contractual participation rights.”
He added that the fixed amount of “pay-or-play” and episodic compensation he received for Yellowstone has stopped. Pay-or-play guarantees participants (especially high-profile and desired actors) payment even if they are released from their contract. “So far in 2023 I have yet to receive any participation compensation from ‘Yellowstone,’” the actor added. “Now, any compensation I earn from ‘Yellowstone’ will derive only from my back-end contractual participation rights, which amounts are not fixed.”
Costner is currently starring and directing in Horizon, the multi-part feature western film, which is set in the pre-and post-American Civil War depicting the expansion of the American West. Costner told Variety in June 2022 that Horizon has a demanding schedule of 220 days, and it could take eight months to shoot.
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about Costner’s future in Yellowstone.