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There are rumors circulating about Kevin Costner not returning for the final episodes of Yellowstone’s fifth season. Although there have been previous speculations about his departure after season 5, it has now been confirmed that this will be the final season. If Costner does not appear in the last episodes, I have a suggestion on how the story can progress without him. In a recent podcast episode, Matthew Baloney discussed the effects of the industry strikes on various productions, including Yellowstone.

While the actor’s strike concluded on November 8, it severely impacted production plans. Although it is uncertain whether Costner will star in the final episodes, Baloney believes that he will not.

This belief stems from reported conflicts between Costner and show creator Taylor Sheridan regarding the actor’s future on Yellowstone. Apparently, they attempted to resolve their issues during a phone call, but their discussion did not yield positive results.

Costner allegedly requested more money, a reduced schedule, and control over script approval, which clashed with Sheridan’s complete creative control over the show. This further supports the speculation that Costner may not return. The actor even mentioned the possibility of legal action during his divorce hearing, referencing the negotiations that went awry.

If these rumors do prove true, it is highly likely that the character of John Dutton will not return to the Yellowstone Ranch. In this case, I propose a possible direction for the series without Costner. Given John Dutton’s previous battle with cancer, it would be plausible to write off the character by having him pass away offscreen due to the illness. The main focus of the fifth season could then revolve around the siblings’ struggle for the ranch’s succession, akin to the primary storyline in the last season of Succession.

While I do not desire John Dutton’s demise on the show, there are numerous other plotlines within Yellowstone that can drive the series forward. From Jamie and Beth’s ongoing feud to Rip and the bunkhouse boys’ endeavor down south to attend to the cows, as well as the persistent issues with market equities, there is a multitude of storylines to address in the show’s final moments. The talented cast of Yellowstone is more than capable of handling these developments.

Ultimately, if the reports about Costner’s absence in the final episodes turn out to be accurate, I believe that Yellowstone can still progress successfully without him. As we eagerly await the return of John Dutton to the ranch, you can watch all five seasons of the drama on Peacock with a subscription.

Additionally, Paramount Plus offers streaming of other related shows within the Yellowstone universe. We will keep you informed as we approach the release date of the second half of season 5 in late 2024..

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