Is Yellowstone ending? Kevin Costner reportedly leaving after season 5

Kevin Costner in Yellowstone
Kevin Costner in Yellowstone (Image credit: Paramount Network)


Is the sun setting on Yellowstone and Kevin Costner's John Dutton? According to multiple reports, it just might. As fans of the hit western await the return of Yellowstone season 5, the future of the flagship show of Taylor Sheridan's growing empire has been put into question.

In February, Deadline and Variety reported Sheridan and Paramount "are moving to end their signature show in its current form" because of Kevin Costner's schedule, citing sources that Costner is not as available to shoot the show as he works on his own western epic, Horizon, which he is directing and starring in, as well as serving as a co-writer with Jon Baird.

The latest wrinkle to the story came from Entertainment Tonight, reporting that Costner is going to be exiting the show at the conclusion of season 5. Costner's John Dutton is the main character of the show, for which the actor won a Golden Globe for his performance. One other tidbit from the ET report, the confusion around Costner has prevented production from continuing, which could lead to a delay on Yellowstone season 5's return. 

Outside of the second half of season 5, there has been no word on whether Yellowstone was going to continue beyond this season anyway.

At the time of the first reports, it was also rumored that a Yellowstone spinoff starring Matthew McConaughey was in the works. Deadline describes the potential spinoff as a "franchise extension," with some members of the current Yellowstone cast possibly continuing in a new story. Since then, the spinoff series has been confirmed, with McConaughey's attachment.

For Paramount's part, it provided the following statement to both outlets in relation to the story:

"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."

The Yellowstone universe has already expanded with two prequel series, 1883 and the currently airing 1923. Sheridan is also behind a number of other shows that are streaming or are set to stream exclusively on Paramount Plus, including Tulsa King, Lioness, Bass Reeves and more.

Yellowstone is one of the most popular shows on cable TV right now, so should its time be coming to an end it would certainly be a big deal for all of its fans.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.