Kevin Costner begged for Yellowstone return — Here’s why he won’t be back

kevin costner at Hidden Figures Screening
Kevin Costner wanted to return to his popular show Yellowstone. Pic credit: © Van Tine/

Kevin Costner won’t return for Yellowstone, despite the actor’s reps pushing for the show’s creator to bring him back.

Costner appeared as John Dutton III on the hit Paramount series for the first four and a half seasons but is reportedly not included in the second half of Season 5.

It seems the show’s creator, Taylor Sheridan, was ready to write Costner into the show. Unfortunately, he and the actor didn’t see eye-to-eye regarding Costner’s demands.

The latest report arrives as Yellowstone recently debuted on network TV, with CBS presenting the series premiere this past weekend.

It also arrives amid the headlines involving Costner’s divorce from Christine Baumgartner, his wife of 19 years. Baumgartner filed for divorce from the actor this past May.

Based on reports, Costner’s Yellowstone situation was a topic for a child support hearing involving the actor and Baumgartner.

Reps were ‘basically begging’ for Costner’s return

According to ET Online (via Puck News), Costner’s reps were “basically begging” the show’s creator, Taylor Sheridan, and Paramount to allow the actor back in Yellowstone. The actor’s reps wanted Costner in the second half of the fifth season and seasons beyond that.

They’d even arranged a phone call between Costner and Sheridan, who’d been rumored to be feuding. However, Sheridan already wrote the second half of Season 5 without Costner in the story, as it was assumed he’d departed the series.

And while Sheridan was ready to bring the lead character back into the series, he didn’t like what Costner wanted.

Based on Puck News’ report, the 68-year-old actor demanded more money to return as well as a reduced filming schedule. In addition, he wanted the right to review, approve, and even veto each script.

Reportedly, Sheridan objected to Costner’s script review demand the most, and the actor was announced as leaving the show soon after they couldn’t agree on those terms.

Earlier this month, Costner’s Yellowstone exit was part of a child support hearing to decide on payment amounts for Baumgartner. The couple shares three children: sons Cayden and Hayes and daughter Grace.

Per ET Online’s report, the hearing included mention of Costner’s situation with Yellowstone. The actor indicated since he was no longer part of the show, the salary he’d received for it shouldn’t be factored into support payments. There was also mention of potential litigation involving Costner and the show.

How will Costner’s character be written out of Yellowstone?

With Costner playing an integral character through Yellowstone’s first four and a half seasons, his death is considered a big deal. However, it won’t happen in specific ways due to Costner’s contract.

Costner reportedly has a “moral death” provision in his contract, which details how the character can and can’t be killed in the show.

Based on reports, Costner hasn’t read Sheridan’s script, and rumors are circulating that the creator may have veered away from the “moral death” provision in writing Dutton III out of Yellowstone.

“Whether [Dutton’s fate] inflates [Costner’s] ego or insults is collateral damage that I don’t factor in with regard to storytelling,” Sheridan told Hollywood Reporter in June.

“I’m disappointed,” Sheridan also said, adding, “It truncates the closure of his character. It doesn’t alter it, but it truncates it.”

This past Sunday saw the network premiere of a tamer version of Yellowstone for CBS, starring Costner. Per TV Series Finale, Sunday’s premiere episode had a 0.8 rating and 7.87 million viewers watching on CBS. A follow-up episode drew a 0.5 rating with 5.82 million viewers.

The return of Yellowstone to Paramount+ for the second half of Season 5 is still up in the air due to the ongoing writers’ strike. Many expected a November return for the show, but things may be pushed into 2024 as it can’t be filmed in the winter, giving it a limited window.

As it stands now, fans shouldn’t expect to see Costner’s Dutton III in any more episodes once the show returns.

Yellowstone’s Season 5 return is TBA for Paramount Plus.

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Phyllis Eckhardt
Phyllis Eckhardt
9 months ago

BIG MISTAKE not to include Kostner
In return episodes! What a shame
for the series. Can’t Taylor Sheridan see that? I probably will not return as a viewer as the whole series is
about the family!

9 months ago

It won’t be the same without Kevin Costner I don’t think people will watch it as much anymore