Why There Won't Be a 'Yellowstone' Season 6 Without Kevin Costner

kevin costner, yellowstone season 5
Why 'Yellowstone' Will End After S5Paramount

John Dutton’s long reign will soon reach a dramatic end. Yellowstone star Kevin Costner has announced he’s finished with the series, and though the flagship show will finish its last season without him, it will not continue beyond the season 5 finale.

The supremely popular western already aired the first half of its fifth season in 2022, but the remaining episodes have yet to drop, thanks to a remarkable confluence of actor-network-creator tensions and the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. As of May 3, 2023, the cast and crew still had “no update” on when the series would return to Montana to finish shooting the remainder of season 5. Most recently, Paramount Network announced the goodbye episodes would arrive in November 2024, but Costner quickly revealed (via Instagram Reel) that he wouldn’t be participating in them.

Costner’s exit has enormous implications for remaining Yellowstone storylines; it’s led to the apparent creation of a series “extension” and the dashing of hopes for a season 6. As such, here’s everything we know so far about the franchise’s future.

Will there be a Yellowstone season 6?

The short answer is: No. The long answer is: Sort of, but not by name. The end of Costner’s run on Yellowstone will not necessarily mean the end of Yellowstone as a story, but of Yellowstone the series itself. The show is a ratings behemoth, having helped showrunner Taylor Sheridan craft not just an individual hit but an entire franchise around his own name. Such success will allow him to end the flagship property with season 5 and supposedly branch off into further spin-offs, such as the previously announced Yellowstone “franchise extension,” which could end up featuring Matthew McConaughey as star.

This spin-off is currently in production and was earlier announced to be moving “forward regardless of whether Costner returns to the original,” per The Hollywood Reporter.

Who will replace Kevin Costner in the Yellowstone universe?

Costner will not be officially replaced, in the sense that no other actor will step into the role of John Dutton III. But, as Deadline reported in February, the franchise’s “extension” would reportedly be led by McConaughey in an as-yet-undisclosed role.

Are the rest of the cast leaving, too?

Costner’s drama with Paramount, thankfully, does not seem to have extended to all of his cast-mates. The absence of a season 6 doesn’t necessarily mean other beloved Yellowstone characters will disappear from screens altogether. As Deadline initially reported, “It is unclear which of the Yellowstone cast will move over to the McConaughey-led series, but it is expected to include several of the big stars.” That means actors including Kelly Reilly, Luke Grimes, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Asbille, Gil Birmingham, and Wes Bentley might appear not in a season 6 but in a different continuation of the same story.

When will season 5 finish airing?

Season 5b will begin on November 10, 2024.

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