Why is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone?

Daisy Phillipson
Yellowstone actor Kevin Costner as John DuttonParamount+

As ranch patriarch John Dutton, Kevin Costner plays an integral role in Yellowstone – so, why is the star leaving the series for good?

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 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.” 

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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.

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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. 

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.”

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When will Yellowstone Season 5 Part 2 arrive?

Following the announcement that Yellowstone is ending after Season 5, it was revealed that Part 2 of the fifth and final chapter will be available for streaming in November 2024, having been pushed back from this year.

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

For more Yellowstone coverage, hit the links below:

Shows if you love Yellowstone | Is Yellowstone on tonight? | 6666 Yellowstone | 1923 cast | 1923 Season 2 | Yellowstone cast | Will Kevin Costner be in S5P2? | Does Tate die in Yellowstone? | Taylor Sheridan shows & movies | Does Beth die in Yellowstone? | Matthew McConaughey’s Yellowstone series | Yellowstone CBS changes explained | Yellowstone spinoffs timeline explained | Does Monica die in Yellowstone? | Is Lawmen: Bass Reeves a spinoff? | Are Yellowstone stars in Lawmen: Bass Reeves? | Yellowstone finale release date | When Yellowstone returns to CBS

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About The Author

Daisy is a Senior TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's a lover of all things macabre, whether that be horror, crime, psychological thrillers or all of the above. After graduating with a Masters in Magazine Journalism, she's gone on to write for Digital Spy, LADbible and Little White Lies. You can contact her on daisy.phillipson@dexerto.com