'Yellowstone': Kevin Costner Confirms He's Not Returning For The Final Episodes Of Season 5

Stop the speculation: Kevin Costner‘s time on “Yellowstone” is over. Deadline reports that the actor took to social media to confirm he won’t appear in the final six episodes of Taylor Sheridan‘s hit Paramount Network series.  Costner’s news comes on the heels of the network announcing the premiere date for “Yellowstone” Season 5 Part Two, November 10, with a new teaser yesterday.

READ MORE: ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5 Part Two Teaser: The End Begins For Taylor Sheridan’s Hit Series On November 10

It’s the end of an acrimonious period between Costner and Sheridan, which saw, amongst other things, Costner threatening legal action against the “Yellowstone” creator but also expressing interest in returning for another season.  But Costner’s comments on his Instagram post published yesterday were succinct and direct.   “An update for you guys. I’ll see you at the movies,” the actor started, before explaining his departure from the series.

“I want to reach out and let you know that after this long year and a half of working on “Horizon” [Costner’s upcoming Western epic film] 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 5B or into the future,” Costner continued. “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.”

Paramount‘s teaser for “Yellowstone” Season 5 Part Two didn’t hint at whether Costner’s John Dutton would return, but the premiere date led fans to scour recent interviews with Costner to confirm if he’d be back. And while Costner was vocal about his frustration with Sheridan’s creative choices, he kept his future involvement with the show ambiguous.  Earlier this week, the actor vented to People about how none of his former co-stars defended him after stories emerged that his absence from the show stems from him filming “Horizon.”  “I read all the stories,” he told the outlet. “I was disappointed that nobody on their side… ever stepped up to defend what it was I actually did for them. There came a moment where I thought, ‘Wow, when is somebody going to say something about what I have done versus what I haven’t done?’”

Despite that issue, Costner did express interest in returning to the series. “I’ve always felt that…It might be an interesting moment to come back and finish the mythology of this modern-day family,” he continued. “And if that happens, I would step into it if I agreed with how it was being done.” That echoes Costner’s comments about “Yellowstone” to ET in May. “I thought I was going to make seven [seasons], but right now we’re at five,” Costner told ET. “So how it works out—I hope it does—but they’ve got a lot of different shows going on. Maybe it will. Maybe this will circle back to me. If it does and I feel really comfortable with [it], I’d love to do it.”

But how did this conflict between Costner and Sheridan arise? The actor told Deadline in May that it comes down to contract disputes and scheduling issues.  After production of “Yellowstone” Season 5 was delayed, Paramount made another contract and amended their plans for future seasons, which conflicted with Costner shooting “Horizon.”  “After a two- or three-month negotiation, they made another contract, Costner explaiend. “They wanted to redo that one, and instead of seasons six and seven, it was 5A and 5B, and maybe we’ll do six. They weren’t able to make those. “Horizon” was set in the middle, but “Yellowstone” was first position. I fit [“Horizon”] into the gaps. They just kept moving their gaps.”

Costner told Deadline he honored the “truth of the contract” for “Yellowstone,” but he never ended up shooting Season 5 Part Two because “there was no script. And then things imploded.” Things came to head in February 2023 after Paramount announced “Yellowstone” would end after Season 5, with Sheridan expanding the franchise in a new spinoff with Matthew McConaughey set to star. Since then, it’s been unclear whether Costner would be part of the “Yellowstone” finale. And with no further info about the McConaughey spinoff, many “Yellowstone” fans wondered what the series’ future looked like. Well, now they know, at least on one front: Costner won’t be back to close out “Yellowstone.”

So is this saga of a squabble between Costner, Paramount, and Sheridan finally over?  It looks that way, but it’s still unclear if Sheridan’s franchise expansion with McConaughey is a go.  And what went down with Costner, his new contract, and the filming schedules for “Horizon” and “Yellowstone” Season 5 Part Two remains vague too. In that case, fans may never know what happened, making the end of the series more bittersweet.  At least “Yellowstone” fans have a definitive answer about one thing, though: John Dutton won’t be back for the show’s last six episodes.