Yellowstone Season 6: Costner gives his side of the story & everything else we know

In the run-up to the premiere of Horizon at Cannes, Kevin Costner is setting the record straight about Yellowstone.

Yellowstone, Kevin Costner return

As Yellowstone trots towards its final episodes, there is still a ranch full of unanswered questions. Near the top of that list is, Will Kevin Costner be returning? In a (terrific) interview with Deadline in the lead-up to the premiere of his passion project, Horizon, at Cannes, Costner seemed to put a definitive answer to speculation. He says, “Well, I haven’t felt good about it the last year, what with the way they’ve talked about it. It wasn’t truthful. So now I’m talking about a little bit about what the real truth of it was. I made a contract for seasons five, six and seven. In February, after a two- or three-month negotiation, they made another contract. 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.”

Indeed, Costner, who typically doesn’t do a lot of press, opened up more in the interview about how he feels he’s been treated by the people behind the show:

“I don’t want to get down in the gutter with the Yellowstone thing but what I’m telling you is straight up. I have taken a beating from those f*cking guys and I know a lot of times where it’s coming from. I just elected not to get into that. But if you know me well enough, I made Yellowstone the first priority, and to insinuate anything else would be wrong. I did not initiate any of those things. They did. They were doing a tap dance and this poor guy was also having to write so much. And I don’t know why they didn’t stick up for me.”

Despite everything, in the interview Costner maintains he would in fact be open to coming back. “I’m very open to coming back. If they’ve got so many other things going on, maybe this circles back and it’s a really cool two seasons. Or end it, if the writing’s there and I’m happy with it. I’m open to that. But I took a beating over these guys not speaking up for me and allowing crazy stories to come out.”

Will Costner and Sheridan work together again?

Even if Costner has yet to have even a phone conversation with creator Taylor Sheridan over the future of John Dutton on Yellowstone. But that doesn’t quite rule out a role for him on the western series — or a spot in one of Sheridan’s future projects.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Kevin Costner spoke positively of the work ethic of and his standing with Taylor Sheridan, saying, “He’s doing special work in a lot of different ways. He’s very prolific about the things he does, and if he sees me in something that he wants to do, I’ll look at it just the way I did Yellowstone and maybe we will end up doing something together.” Costner also noted that he and Sheridan have a lot of common interests and so “the idea of us working together is not out of the question for me. The subjects he chooses are very interesting to me. I like a lot of that stuff. Yellowstone stands as something that could continue. But that is a Taylor question. But other things that he’s doing I think are really, really good.”

These “other things” Sheridan has going include an ever-growing selection of Yellowstone spin-offs, none of which could work in Kevin Costner. And Costner himself is quite busy in the western genre, with the first part of his epic saga Horizon slated to premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival out of competition. This will mark the first time Costner has stepped behind the camera for a feature since 2003’s Open Range, which I personally think was one of the best westerns of its decade.

Costner and Sheridan seemed like a dream team and for a while it all worked out so well on Yellowstone. Ideally, everything gets ironed out and John Dutton can return for the final episodes. Sure, the show has enough storylines outside of the patriarch to wrap up the series – and, if he is written out, that will certainly create more – but it just wouldn’t feel right without the star.

Will John Dutton die?

Which begs the question, what will become of John Dutton? The common thinking is that he’ll be killed off, which is something the show has teased ever since the first season.

If you’re a Yellowstone fan, you’ll remember that in the first season, Costner’s John Dutton was diagnosed with colon cancer. Rumor has it, Costner was originally planning for his run on the show to be a short one, but the cancer plot line was quickly done away with. In the Season 2 premiere, Dutton had a major attack that he assumed was his cancer returning, only for a vet to perform emergency surgery on what turned out to be a ruptured ulcer. And so Dutton lived to fight another day.


Now that Dutton is governor of Montana, it’s possible that he could be assasinated, potentially at the hands of his estranged son Jamie (Wes Bentley), but that seems out of sorts for that character, who was last seen planning to take him down with an impeachment. Remember, him and his paramour, Dawn Olivieri’s Sarah Atwood, were trying to take him down that way.

Some Random Dumb Accident

Life on the Dutton family ranch is rough. If Sheridan really wants to stick it to Costner, who always had an entry in his contract that guaranteed “a moral death” for the character, it’s possible he’ll just kill him off randomly. While that might strike some as a middle finger to fans, with Costner refusing to do any shooting at all, Taylor Sheridan might not have much of a choice.

Here’s everything else we know about Season 6:

When does season 6 of Yellowstone start?

Originally, the plan was to split the fifth season of Yellowstone into two parts, with Part 2 due to air in fall of 2023. That didn’t happen due to the strikes, so now Paramount is dubbing Yellowstone‘s final season number 6. It’s now due this fall, with episodes of Yellowstone season 6 airing sometime in November 2024. It can’t air any sooner because the show’s filming schedules in Montana are notoriously weather dependent, and it can’t be shot until winter is over.

How many episodes there be be?

Two of the biggest problems facing the final season of Yellowstone stem directly from the strikes, as creator Taylor Sheridan had yet to complete the scripts when the WGA strike was called. If took months for the strikes to end, and in that time the plan shifted, as originally there was supposed to be a Season 5 part 2 with 6 episodes, but this plan was scrapped in favor of a legit sixth and final season. However, the number of episodes needs to be clarified. In recent red carpet interviews with Entertainment Tonight, Josh Lucas, who plays the younger John Dutton, said they would be shooting ten episodes, but co-star Ian Bohen says six, plus a series finale. However many there are, Bohen says the final episodes will build up to “the best series finale in history.”

Yellowstone Beth and rip

What Will Happen to Beth and Rip?

Here’s where it gets interesting. With the final season set to do away with John Dutton, the focus will likely fall to the romantic duo at the center of the show, Cole Hauser’s Rip and Kelly Reilly’s Beth. While they aren’t the only star-crossed lovers on the show, with Luke Grimes’s Kaycee and Kelsey Asbille’s Monica also seeing their shares of ups and downs, fans are obsessed with this couple. The show has often revolved around Beth’s deadly rivalry with her estranged (adopted) brother, Jamie (Wes Bentley), and it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that if John Dutton dies, the prodigal son is somehow behind it. If so, I expect Beth to go on the warpath and for the show to end with Jamie’s presumably violent death.

Will Rip Be In It?

While Rip is one half of Yellowstone’s biggest power couple, another behind-the-scenes Yellowstone battle has been brewing – this time between Hauser and creator Taylor Sheridan. Unlike with Costner, this has nothing to do with what’s happening on screen or with money. Rather, Sheridan is accusing Hauser’s new coffee brand, Free Range Coffee, of sporting a logo nearly identical to that of his coffee brand, Bosque Ranch Craft Coffee. Hopefully, this battle doesn’t lead to more behind-the-scenes strife, but these squabbles have a tendency to get out of hand.

What is Yellowstone 2024?

This seems to be the current title for the sequel series starring Matthew McConaughey and (potentially) other Yellowstone cast members. No word yet on what the series will involve, but you can be sure that John Dutton won’t be tipping his hat – both because of Costner and, come on, Dutton has to die in Yellowstone, right? If he does die, I imagine surviving cast members will make their way over to this show. If Beth and Rip survive the final season, I would expect them to be leads alongside McConaughey, which would make sense and give the show some legit crossover appeal. It’s been rumored that Michelle Pfeiffer is also set to play a big role, but apparently salary negotiations for Kelly Reilly, Cole Hauser and Luke Grimes have been complicated. In fact, a bombshell report suggests Reilly and Hauser want at least equal billing to any newer, big-named stars, and salaries that match. Notably, they are negotiating separately, meaning one may end up on the new show, and one may not.

What About the Prequels?

The well-received prequel 1923, starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, is set to air one more season. It will likely premiere before Yellowstone Season 6, as Sheridan is thought to have completed the scripts. Paramount Network also announced another spin-off called 1944, which would presumably take the Dutton clan through WW2, and could (theoretically) include characters from 1923, including Brandon Sklenar’s Spencer. That said, the role could potentially be recast, as, if he’s supposed to be in his fifties, Sklenar would be a bit on the young side. Sheridan’s also got Lawmen: Bass Reeves on the air. Originally, this seemed to be set in the universe of Yellowstone spinoffs, but so far hasn’t been linked to shows like 1883, despite a similar style.

What is Horizon?

By this point, fans might be wondering just what exactly Horizon: An American Saga is, as it’s the project that seemingly kept Costner away from Yellowstone season 6. It’s a multi-part western saga that Costner both stars in and directs. The first two parts are due out this summer, with the first coming out on June 28th, and the sequel to follow on August 16th. Costner stars alongside Sienna Miller, Yellowstone vet Danny Huston, Jena Malone (his Hatfields and the McCoys co-star), Sam Worthington, and more.

horizon an American saga poster

What do you expect to see in the final season of Yellowstone? Which character(s) do you think won’t make it out alive? Let us know!

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

About the Author

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.