Kevin Costner Isn’t Returning to ‘Yellowstone’: ‘I’ll See You at the Movies’

That’s a wrap for John Dutton. Kevin Costner put an end to speculation about his future with the Paramount mega-hit on Thursday night, announcing in a video posted to his Instagram account that he won’t be returning to “Yellowstone” for the final half of Season 5.

“I just realized that I’m not going to be able to continue season five B or into the future,” Costner said in the video, citing his commitment to his four-part Western film franchise “Horizon” while adding that “Yellowstone” is a show that he “loves.”

“It was something that really changed me,” he said, and suggesting he hopes the “Yellowstone” audience will follow him to see “Horizon.” He added “I’ll see you at the movies.”

The news came hours after Paramount announced that Season 5 Part 2 will premiere in November with or without its top star. Filming began in May.

A Paramount Network spokesperson responded Friday by saying the production couldn’t find a filming window that worked for Costner.

“Kevin has been a big part of ‘Yellowstone’s success. While we had hoped that we would continue working with him, unfortunately, we could not find a window that worked for him, all the other talent and our production needs in order to move forward together. We respect that Kevin has prioritized his new film series and we wish him the best,” the Paramount Network spokesperson said.

Though Costner didn’t mention the behind-the-scenes drama that has rocked the breakaway Paramount Network hit since it went on hiatus in January 2023, the reason for his exit is inextricably tied to it. The actor cited “all the things that’s required” for his planned four-part Western film franchise, “Horizon: An American Saga,” as the reason he won’t be returning to play Dutton family patriarch John Dutton in “season five B or into the future.”

“Horizon: An American Saga – Part 1” opens in theaters on June 28 while “Part 2” hits theaters in August. Costner has begun production on “Part 3” but is still trying to assembling financing to finish that film and “Part 4.”

The six-episode second half of Season 5 was originally scheduled to air in the summer of 2023. But there were reports of production delays almost immediately as co-star Wes Bentley confirmed that as of Jan. 2023 there still weren’t completed scripts for those final episodes. Soon after, Costner clashed with series creator Taylor Sheridan over scheduling, as he wanted production on those episodes to accommodate the filming schedule for “Horizon,” which the actor co-wrote, directed and stars in.

That conflict was rendered moot when the Writers Guild of America went on strike in May 2023, followed in July by SAG-AFTRA. In the interim, Costner finished the first two installments of “Horizon,” with “Chapter 1” set to premiere later this month and “Chapter 2” hitting theaters on Aug. 16.

How “Yellowstone” will deal with Costner’s exit isn’t known, but the first half of Season 5 ended on a cliffhanger, with Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) and Jamie Dutton (Bentley) determined to kill one another while John, recently elected governor of Montana, was facing impeachment by Jamie. Meanwhile, Beth has learned about “the train station” where John hides the bodies of people he’s murdered.

It was previously announced that Costner would exit “Yellowstone” for good after Season 5, with the story to continue in a sequel series called “2024,” similar to previous “Yellowstone” spinoffs “1883” and “1923.” Matthew McConaughey will star in “2024” in an undisclosed role; it’s unclear which “Yellowstone” characters will continue on the new series.

“I want to reach out and let you know that after this long year and a half of working on ‘Horizon’ and doing all the things that’s required, and thinking about ‘Yellowstone,’ that beloved series that I love, that I know you love, I just realized that I’m not going to be able to continue season five B or into the future,” he said. “It was something that really changed me. I loved it. And I know you loved it. And I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be returning and I love the relationship we’ve been able to develop and I’ll see you at the movies,” Costner said.

Watch the clip below:

More to come…

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