Kevin Costner’s 7-Season Yellowstone Plan Shows How Much Went Wrong


Kevin Costner has revealed he’d planned to shoot seven seasons of Yellowstone before behind-the-scenes issues began, showing just how much went wrong.

Kevin Costner has revealed his initial seven-season plans for Yellowstone, indicating just how poorly things have gone. Since season 1, Kevin Costner has led the Yellowstone cast, bringing prestige to the Western show’s ensemble. After decades in the industry, Costner has redefined his career and reached a new level of success by playing John Dutton. Yellowstone season 5, part 1, was released in late 2022, and the show has been without new episodes since, primarily due to behind-the-scenes drama and controversies.

Yellowstone season 5, part 2, is confirmed, with its release date planned for late 2024, but Kevin Costner won’t be returning to the cast. Showrunner Taylor Sheridan reportedly has a strategy to complete the series without him that he’s happy about, but Costner’s role is an enormous part of the show’s popularity. Regardless of the final season’s success, Costner’s presence will be missed in the upcoming episodes. With spin-offs underway and more to come, the future is bright for the Yellowstone franchise, but the original series may struggle to cross the finish line.

Kevin Costner Hoped Yellowstone Would Have 7 Seasons – And It Once Seemed Likely
Yellowstone Was Popular Enough To Last 7 Seasons, But Drama Intervened

In an interview with ET, Kevin Costner spoke about his exit from Yellowstone, providing insight into the drama. It was initially believed that Costner’s departure was due to him clearing his schedule to work on his upcoming Western film, Horizon: An American Saga, but it seems like he still had an interest in returning. On the matter, he states, “I thought I was going to make seven [seasons], but right now we’re at five.” He also expressed some interest in returning but explained that he was unsure about his involvement in the future.

The plan for seven seasons of Yellowstone hadn’t been discussed publicly before, but it certainly seemed possible for the series. Across all seasons, Yellowstone had an enormous audience, so the Paramount Network would’ve likely hoped to continue making more seasons for as long as possible. Even now, if Kevin Costner were able to return for season 5, part 2, it could be prolonged for that duration, but without his star power to lead, the best possible course is to bring the show to a swift end and re-focus the franchise around one of the spin-offs.

What Went Wrong With Yellowstone’s Plan For 7 Seasons
The Yellowstone BTS Drama Extends Beyond Just Costner’s Scheduling Conflict


Yellowstone had several behind-the-scenes problems, with Kevin Costner’s departure being the most notable. At one point, in an interview with People, Costner even suggested he may need to go to engage in a lawsuit over it. “I’ve been told it’s a little disappointing that [it’s] the #1 show on TV, I’m not participating,” said Costner, adding, “I will probably go to court over it.” His departure was messy on its own, but a lawsuit is even more excessive. Unfortunately, it’s just the tip of the iceberg for the show’s issues.

It’s a disappointing conclusion for one of the defining pieces of modern Western media.

Not only has Kevin Costner hinted at a lawsuit, but Rip Wheeler star Cole Hauser and showrunner Taylor Sheridan had a brief legal issue over their company logos. That lawsuit has since been dismissed. Another report stated that Yellowstone stars were experiencing a pay dispute with Paramount, as they’d signed contracts for six seasons, but the show planned to end after five. Between all these issues, there’s no surprise the series is coming to an abrupt ending. It’s a disappointing conclusion for one of the defining pieces of modern Western media.

Will Kevin Costner Return To Yellowstone In Season 5?
Kevin Costner Still Seems Doubtful For A Yellowstone Return, But It’s More Likely than Before

Kevin Costner’s return appears more likely than before, given his recent statement, but overall, it’s probably still not going to happen. Earlier in 2024, the chances of Costner’s return seemed near impossible, as his previous statements about going to court were far more dramatic and antagonistic. Not to mention, Kevin Costner has two high-budget films releasing over the summer, which he’s invested a lot in personally and will want to see through. The chances of his return have increased, but the show’s script already seems oriented toward his absence.

Yellowstone season 5, part 2, is set to start filming in late spring 2024, meaning the clock is ticking for Costner’s return. Arriving to film one episode, including a possible death scene, could be the cleanest way for the series to progress, allowing the Dutton children to take precedence in the final episode as they try to hold the ranch together, similarly to Succession. Unfortunately, there’s no indication that this could actually happen, and the Yellowstone shooting schedule may conflict too much with Costner’s Horizon press, which will be his main focus.