While The Walking Dead was once basic cable’s most popular series, it has since been surpassed by Yellowstone, the smash hit that rejuvenated Kevin Costner’s career and gave him yet another iconic role to play.
- Will there be a Yellowstone season 6?
- Who will Matthew McConaughey play in the Yellowstone spinoff?
- Is John Dutton leaving Yellowstone?
- Why is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone?
- Is Kevin Costner going to sue over his departure?
- When will the final episodes of Yellowstone premiere?
- When will the Yellowstone sequel series premiere?
As conceived by series co-creators Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, Yellowstone is a modern western about the Dutton family, the owners of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in Montana. That land is extremely valuable, which is why John Dutton (Costner) and his family have gone to great lengths to protect it. And sometimes, the threats come from within the family, which is why John’s children, Jamie (Wes Bentley) and Beth (Kelly Reilly), are at each other’s throats in season five.
Yellowstone has proven to be a durable hit with multiple prequel miniseries on Paramount+ and at least two more spinoffs on the way. However, the future of the primary series has been in question since last year, when Costner apparently had a major conflict with both Sheridan and Paramount Network. To bring everyone up to speed, we’re sharing everything we know about Yellowstone season 6 and the sequel series.
There will not be a Yellowstone season 6. But that doesn’t mean that the Dutton family saga is coming to an abrupt end. There are still six more episodes of Yellowstone season 5 that have yet to be filmed. It’s possible that Paramount Network may promote those episodes as Yellowstone season 6, but they are just an extension of the fifth season.
In lieu of a sixth season, there is a Yellowstone sequel series in the works with Sheridan and the majority of Yellowstone‘s cast. Matthew McConaughey is reportedly the top choice to headline the series. Whether McConaughey will actually sign on is another matter. To date, there have been no reports that Paramount Network has closed negotiations with McConaughey. And if Sheridan wants to maintain the franchise without Costner, then the new show needs someone with McConaughey’s star power to hold down the fort.
Assuming McConaughey does agree to star in the spinoff, we don’t have enough information to speculate about whom he will play. It’s doubtful that McConaughey would agree to take over Costner’s role as John Dutton, especially since Costner is 15 years older than McConaughey is.
The safe assumption is that McConaughey’s character will either be a member of the Dutton family, or someone closely associated with the Dutton family. There has to be a very good reason for McConaughey’s character to replace John Dutton at the center of the narrative, especially if the show will continue to revolve around the family’s ownership of the Yellowstone ranch. Sheridan has likely already thought about all of this. We just aren’t privy to his answers yet.
John Dutton may be leaving Yellowstone. It all depends on Costner’s willingness to return for the final batch of Yellowstone episodes. If Costner declines to reprise his role, Sheridan is far more likely to end Dutton’s story off camera rather than recasting the part. Any attempt to replace Costner with another actor would probably invite a severe backlash from the show’s fans.
Yellowstone‘s best options for a satisfying ending to John Dutton’s story all involve Costner coming back. Without Costner, there are no good options.
Not everything is clear, but we know that Kevin Costner could be leaving Yellowstone following conflicts with Sheridan over the production schedule of Yellowstone season 5. Unlike the first four seasons, which had ten episodes each, Yellowstone season 5 was split into two installments. The first part, which consisted of eight episodes, already aired in 2022. That left the remaining six episodes to be filmed.
The initial February 2023 report from Deadline indicated that Costner wanted to limit his shooting time in the first half of the fifth season to 50 days, instead of the longer schedule preferred by the network. But the two sides didn’t really clash until Costner allegedly only wanted to spend a week filming his scenes for the remaining six episodes of the season. From Costner’s perspective, he had already spent nearly the equivalent of a full season filming the first eight episodes, and he wanted to focus on his upcoming western, Horizon, which will be released as multiple films in theaters.
When Costner and Paramount Network failed to come to an agreement over his remaining shooting schedule, plans were made to end Yellowstone with season 5 and the early development of the sequel series began.
Kevin Costner has mentioned suing over this conflict with Paramount. Via Deadline, during his divorce proceedings in September 2023, Costner testified that he will “probably go to court” over his conflict with Paramount Network. If he does go forward with that, it would slam the door on any possibility of Costner appearing in the final episodes of Yellowstone.
The one encouraging sign is that Costner hasn’t yet gone ahead with any lawsuit against Paramount Network. Whether that means negotiations between the two sides continue remains to be seen.
Production isn’t expected to begin again until spring. And Paramount Network has already announced that new episodes of Yellowstone season 5 will resume in November 2024.
That may be take a while, which means that the spinoff’s tentative title, 2024, will probably have to be changed. As of February 2024, McConaughey hasn’t officially signed on, nor have any returning Yellowstone cast members been revealed. Sheridan can turn around scripts pretty quickly, but with Yellowstone‘s fifth season episodes taking up this year’s filming schedule, the sequel series may not begin production until spring 2025. That could lead to a late 2025 premiere on the Paramount Network, or possibly even a 2026 release.
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