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Why is Kevin Costner leaving ‘Yellowstone’?

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Kevin Costner has spoken about why he has quit the lead role of John Dutton in Yellowstone.

Back in May, it was confirmed that the Paramount series would be concluding with its fifth season, the final episodes of which will begin this November. The news came alongside the announcement of a sequel series.

Reports at the time claimed that Costner would not return for a future series, having committed to the two-part Western feature Horizon: An American West. In response, creator Taylor Sheridan said he was “disappointed” with the actor’s decision.


Costner did not comment on the matter, but he is said to have broken his silence while giving testimony at his divorce case last Friday (September 1).

Why is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone?

Kevin Costner in 'Yellowstone' season five
Kevin Costner in ‘Yellowstone’ season five. CREDIT: YouTube/Paramount

Coster reportedly explained during the hearing that the situation was “complicated”, and claimed he “did negotiate” to return for three additional seasons of the US neo-Western drama (via The Independent).

But according to reporters present at the trial, Costner said: “There were issues about creative. I tried to break the logjam. They walked away.”

It is thought that the actor and director said he will “probably go to court” over the Yellowstone dispute.

As for Costner’s scheduling conflicts caused by Horizon… – which has been 35 years in the making – Sheridan explained: “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.”

The first eight episodes of the show’s last season aired between November 2022 and January 2023.

This February, sources told Deadline that Costner only wanted to spend one week shooting his scenes for the second run of episodes – a claim his attorney subsequently denied: “The idea that Kevin was only willing to work one week on the second half of season five of Yellowstone is an absolute lie.”

It is reported that Costner has still not filmed his scenes for the season’s forthcoming final part.

In April, a source claimed that Sheridan’s “god complex” was to blame for Costner’s dramatic departure.

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However, the Dutton family’s story will continue to be told in a brand-new sequel series, which will premiere on Paramount Network and Paramount+ this December.

The currently untitled show joins previous spin-offs 1883 and 1923, and is set to see Sheridan work alongside MTV and 101 Studios.

Yellowstone has been the cornerstone on which we have launched an entire universe of global hits – from 1883 to Tulsa King,” said Chris McCarthy, president & CEO of Showtime and MTV Entertainment Studios.

“I am confident our Yellowstone sequel will be another big hit, thanks to the brilliant creative mind of Taylor Sheridan and our incredible casts who bring these shows to life.”

David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios, added: “The Dutton story continues, picking up where Yellowstone leaves off in another epic tale. We are thrilled to bring this new journey to audiences around the world.”

Plot details for the upcoming spin-off are currently under wraps, but it was previously reported that Matthew McConaughey would lead a new series featuring several characters from Yellowstone.

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