Kevin Costner Confirms Yellowstone Fate For Final Episodes

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Updated

Kevin Costner Yellowstone

It seems like just yesterday that Kevin Costner was in talks about his requirements to reprise his role as the star of Yellowstone (the actor was indeed discussing just this subject a few days ago). But now the ultimate and somewhat predictable winds have changed: Costner declared he won’t be returning to the hit series. As is often the case these days, the actor took to Instagram to convey the news. 

Horizon: An American Saga

Kevin Costner Horizon: An American Saga

The post was lengthy and heartfelt, yet pulled no punches, sharing: “After this long year and a half of working on Horizon […] and thinking about ‘Yellowstone,’ that beloved series that I love, that I know you love,” Costner said, “I just realized that I’m not going to be able to continue Season 5b or into the future.”

The project Kevin Costner mentioned alongside Yellowstone, Horizon: An American Saga, has been long in the making. It’s a passion project for Costner, who bankrolled much of it; the actor even mortgaged his own enormous estate to fund the multi-film series. 

The first installment of Horizon hits theaters next week. 

Yellowstone’s Fate

kevin costner yellowstone

Regarding the fate of Yellowstone, the timing of Costner’s social media post was probably no accident. It went up not long after Paramount announced the upcoming premiere of Yellowstone’s return. 

Of course, fans have been eagerly awaiting both the show’s return and the news about whether or not the celebrated actor leading the series would find his way back to the ranch. The series, which won surprising devotion from legions on streaming, revolved largely around Kevin Costner’s performance as the patriarch of the enormous Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in Montana. 

Irreconcilable Priorities And Commitments

Kevin Costner Yellowstone

Costner’s retirement from Dutton, especially in light of the need to focus on Horizon, was something fans both hoped wouldn’t happen and at least half-expected for several years. Deflating hope further, the actor recently went on Howard Stern’s show, where he implied robust challenges prevented his return. To hear Costner tell it, the notoriously challenging logistics inherent to filmmaking explain his inability to get back in the Yellowstone saddle. 

Kevin Costner also mentioned getting in touch with Yellowstone’s creator, Taylor Sheridan, to hash out the future of their working relationship. It doesn’t sound like the conversation took a controversial turn, but the ultimate outcome, however predetermined, was Costner’s departure. A workable agreement was unreachable due to irreconcilable priorities and commitments. 

In other words, it seems Costner’s dedication to Horizon means more to him than any competing projects. 

From Television To Theaters

Kevin Costner Horizon: An American Saga

Costner’s character, John Dutton, was immensely important to the show’s fictional universe and explains much of its huge success. The legacy Kevin Costner leaves in his wake, his impact on Yellowstone, is hard to overstate. 

Maybe the outsized responsibility he bears for the show and its legacy motivated Costner to cap his Instagram post on a positive note, noting a few words after confirming he would not return: “I love the relationship we’ve been able to develop, and I’ll see you at the movies.”

Yellowstone Prequels

Yellowstone, though it inspired two prequels and who knows how many loyal fans, bingers who fell back in love with the Western genre, observed a simple enough premise: the efforts of the Dutton family to hold onto their gargantuan ranch, the largest contiguous ranch in the USA.

Most immediately, the series grabbed the eye with its incredible, on-location setting: the stunning landscapes of Montana. Against the beautiful mountains and pastures, John Dutton and his children battled to protect their land from a slew of threats—land developers, unfriendly neighbors, and even the Federal Government. 

After many enjoyable seasons, it’s certainly tough to face the facts–Kevin Costner and his Ranch in Yellowstone are parting ways.