Kevin Costner says he’d ‘love’ to return to ‘Yellowstone’

Kevin Costner as John Dutton in Yellowstone season 5
(Image credit: Paramount Network)

The fate of Kevin Costner’s character John Dutton on mega-hit “Yellowstone” has been uncertain since the Taylor Sheridan-created Western drama aired its most recent episode in January 2023, and not just because of a cliffhanger ending pitting John against his son Jamie (Wes Bentley). 

Costner has been in a protracted dispute with Sheridan and the show’s producers, leading to numerous rumors about the future of “Yellowstone” and Costner’s participation in it.

Costner has even gone so far as to threaten a lawsuit over money he claims he’s owed, while word has spread that the series is going to continue without him, possibly in a new iteration starring Matthew McConaughey. 

Kevin Costner (L) may be replaced by Matthew McConaughey (R) in Yellowstone

(Image credit: Credit: Michael Tullberg/Gary Miller/Getty)

The only official announcement has been that the long-awaited second half of the fifth season — which was delayed by the dual Hollywood strikes in addition to Costner’s potential exit — will mark the end of the Paramount Network series. The show is set to resume production soon for a tentative November 2024 premiere, with or without Costner.

In order for that to happen, scripts will have to be written, and Sheridan — who is known for his tight control over the series’ creative direction — has presumably already come up with the end of John Dutton’s story, one way or another. The assumption has been that whatever happens to John will inevitably happen offscreen, without Costner’s involvement, but in a recent interview with “Entertainment Tonight” (via The Hollywood Reporter), Costner has taken a less combative tone toward his “Yellowstone” collaborators.

If it does and I feel really comfortable with [it], I’d love to do it

- Kevin Costner

“I’d like to be able to do it but we haven’t been able to … I thought I was going to make seven [seasons] but right now we’re at five,” Costner said while at CinemaCon in Las Vegas promoting his upcoming two-part film “Horizon: An American Saga,” which opens in June. “So how it works out — I hope it does — but they’ve got a lot of different shows going on. Maybe it will. Maybe this will circle back to me. If it does and I feel really comfortable with [it], I’d love to do it.”

There’s still a lot of vague equivocation in that statement, and Costner went on to give his thoughts on where John’s story should go, which reportedly has been a point of contention between him and Sheridan. He added: “But that’s Taylor’s thing. I said as much to him a while back. I had thoughts how it could happen, but we just have to see.”

Costner’s commitment to directing and starring in the Western epic “Horizon: An American Saga” was part of his conflict with “Yellowstone” producers over scheduling issues, but now that “Horizon” is set for release, it’s possible that Costner is more open to returning to “Yellowstone” to give fans some closure on his character.

Either way, the “Yellowstone” franchise is stronger than ever, with a new season planned for spinoff “1923” starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, plus multiple other spinoffs in the works for Paramount Plus, including that potential McConaughey-starring sequel. The only question is whether Costner will be around for John Dutton’s last hurrah.

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Josh Bell

Josh Bell is a freelance writer and movie/TV critic based in Las Vegas. He's the former film editor of Las Vegas Weekly and has written about movies and TV for Vulture, Inverse, CBR, Crooked Marquee and more. With comedian Jason Harris, he co-hosts the podcast Awesome Movie Year.