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Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan breaks silence on Kevin Costner's exit, hints at John Dutton's death

Kevin won a Golden Globe for the role in 2023

yellowstone kevin costner
Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
Updated: 22 June 2023
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Taylor Sheridan has revealed he has been left "disappointed" by Kevin Costner's decision to leave the hit series Yellowstone. Kevin stars as John Dutton, and has been the lead on the show since it launched on Paramount in 2018; he won a Golden Globe for the role in 2023.

Kevin's decision to leave "doesn’t alter" the conclusion of the character but it will shorten his planned storyline, says Taylor, revealing his plan was always to write off the character of John before the final anyway.

Taylor Sheridan and Kevin Costner attend the "Yellowstone" World Premiere at Paramount Studios on June 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California© Getty
Taylor Sheridan and Kevin Costner attend the Yellowstone World Premiere in 2018

The show will end after the second half of season five, which has not yet begun filming, but it is thought Kevin will leave midway through the second half of the season. 

It is unclear what the final scenes may be for the actor's character, but Taylor has hinted that John may be "taken to the train station," show parlance for being killed off. 

“Whether [Dutton’s fate] inflates [Costner’s] ego or insults is collateral damage that I don’t factor in with regard to storytelling," he added, insisting any potential character death will not be tied to his personal feelings.

Kevin Costner sits in a chair as John Dutton in Yellowstone scene
Kevin Costner sits in a chair as John Dutton in Yellowstone scene

Yellowstone tells the story of the Dutton family including John and daughter Beth as they seek to maintain control over one of the largest ranches in Montana. As the family drama looks to split the ranch apart, they are also faced with ongoing political and cultural issues with the bordering Broken Rock Indian Reservation, Yellowstone National Park, and land developers. 

Fans last saw the Yellowstone crew in November of 2022, when the first half of the fifth season concluded with a seventh episode.

There are reported to be six further episodes that will conclude season five, but speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Taylor claimed there may be more if required: "If it takes 10 episodes to wrap it up, they’ll give me 10. It’ll be as long as it needs to be." 

Kevin Costner in character as John Dutton in Yellowstone© Instagram
It is unclear how the show will end

Currently, the Yellowstone franchise includes Yellowstone, prequels 1883 and 1923, plus 6666, the latter of which has yet to be released. Additionally, a yet to be titled sequel starring Matthew McConaughey is also in the works

While no additional details have been released just yet, it will reportedly air on Paramount in December, one month after Yellowstone's series finale in November. 

Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren star in 1923

Taylor also has Tulsa King, another show with Paramount starring Syulvester Stallone, and Special Ops: Lioness, a new thriller inspired by a true-life US military program.

Special Ops: Lioness, a new thriller inspired by a true-life US military program.The official synopsis reads that the story "follows the life of Joe (Zoe Saldaña) while she attempts to balance her personal and professional life as the tip of the CIA’s spear in the war on terror". It also stars Nicole Kidman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Kelly.

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