Why is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone?

Kevin Costner as John Dutton in YellowstoneParamount

Why is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone? Here’s everything we know about the John Dutton star’s exit from Taylor Sheridan’s flagship western drama series.

Yellowstone has truly proven to be one of the most popular scripted series of the modern era. Momentum has continued to build over the years, with 12.1 million viewers tuning in to Season 5 Part 1 last November, breaking its own record. 

But since then, Taylor Sheridan’s neo-Western juggernaut has been plagued by rumors and speculations, a majority of which involve John Dutton star Kevin Costner. 

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Now that the flagship show is coming to a close, some are speculating whether or not Costner will return for the final six episodes. Whatever the outcome, fans might be wondering why the actor is leaving Yellowstone at all. 

Why is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone?

Although Costner is yet to release an official statement explaining his departure from Yellowstone, there’s one main reason that likely plays a key part in all of this: he’s currently wrapped up in the production of his four-movie Western epic Horizon

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You see, much of the speculation has focused on an alleged off-screen feud between Costner and Sheridan, causing delays to the filming of Season 5 Part 2.

Insiders of the Paramount show told the New York Post back in April that there’s an issue of “ego” between the two, and it’s not necessarily one-sided. “Taylor is the star of his show,” they explained. “He’s the most important person on all of his shows.”

These rumors have been accelerated by various no-show events, including PaleyFest. Sheridan, Costner, and co were set to attend the TV festival, but left fans disappointed by a last-minute cancellation.

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Many of the claims have cited scheduling disagreements with Costner, who is busy with Horizon: An American Saga, with some suggesting the actor was only willing to shoot scenes for one week. 

Costner’s attorney Marty Singer previously denied the rumors, telling Puck News: “The idea that Kevin was only willing to work one week on the second half of Season 5 of Yellowstone is an absolute lie.” 

Either way, as the co-writer, producer, director, and star of his Horizon project, there’s no denying Costner has a lot on his plate right now. Shooting for the first film started in August 2022 and was finished by November, which might suggest his calendar is looking clear to focus on Yellowstone. 

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However, the plan is to shoot all four movies back-to-back, and it looks like this is going ahead. Recent behind-the-scenes set photos appear to show that production is underway for part two of Costner’s Horizon collection, while Deadline confirmed the cameras had started rolling for the second film.

Behind the scenes shots of part 2 of Kevin Costner's Horizon movie seriesFacebook/Shelley Evans Palmer

In short, it seems like The Bodyguard star just doesn’t have the time to focus on Yellowstone right now, having appeared as the lead since its debut season in 2018. 

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Sources suggested to Variety earlier this year that “the issue seems to be Costner’s shooting schedule, with Costner being available for fewer days as the show has progressed.”

When will Yellowstone Season 5 Part 2 arrive?

Upon the announcement that Yellowstone is ending after Season 5, it was also revealed that Part 2 of the fifth and final chapter will be available for streaming in November 2023, having been pushed back from summer. 

This would suggest that the WGA’s writers’ strike, which officially started on May 2, 2023, hasn’t impacted production. That’s not to say people aren’t hoping to see Sheridan at the picket lines due to the huge influence he has on the industry, but he’s yet to share his stance on the matter. 

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Though the flagship series is drawing to a close, the Yellowstone world will live on through its spinoffs, including 1883, 1923, 6666, and the currently untitled sequel – which may or may not star Matthew McConaughey

Until then, we’ve got six more episodes left to enjoy. Unfortunately, there’s no specific release date for Season 5 Part 2 at the time of writing, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated as and when new information rolls in through our various hubs. 

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You can check those out below: 

Shows if you love Yellowstone | Why Kevin Costner’s leaving Yellowstone | Is Yellowstone on tonight? | Has Yellowstone been canceled? | 1883 Season 2 | 6666 Yellowstone | 1923 cast | 1923 episodes | Will 1923 return? | 1923 Season 2 | Yellowstone cast | Yellowstone Season 6 | Will Kevin Costner be in S5P2? | Matthew McConaughey teases role

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