Yellowstone: Three original stars could be absent from sequel over salary dispute

Kelly Reilly plays Beth Dutton on Yellowstone
You don’t mess with Beth Dutton. Pic credit: Paramount

With Yellowstone set to conclude later this year, there have been countless questions about where some of the show’s most popular characters would go next.

Paramount Global has been aggressively expanding the franchise with spinoff after spinoff. Now, some of the most crucial elements of the next series could be eradicated before production even begins.

According to the industry newsletter Puck, Kelly Reilly (who plays Beth Dutton), Cole Hauser (Rip Wheeler), and Luke Grimes (Kayce Dutton) are at an impasse with producers over particular demands.

When the follow-up to Yellowstone was confirmed when Paramount Network announced the original series would cease with the back half of Yellowstone Season 5, the trio weren’t initially attached.

The show was set to feature Matthew McConaughey as the star attraction as the universe recalibrated with many new characters.

Without knowing what happens in the final episodes of the main series, it’s hard to get a read on how the new series will pick up.

Yellowstone creator is now interested in moving fan favorites to spinoffs

However, franchise overlord Taylor Sheridan seems to have strayed from the plan to keep the most beloved faces from the original series far away from the offshoot.

Beth, Kayce, and Rip are fan favorites, so having them in the mix will give the series the best possible chance of success.

According to Puck, Reilly is seeking a payday of $1.5 million per episode, with Hauser not far behind at $1.25 million, quite the increase from the $700k he is currently making.

Another sticking point is that the actors had signed pay-or-play contracts to appear in Yellowstone Season 6, which we now know isn’t happening.

The three actors are being paid for the canceled Yellowstone Season 6

It means the trio will still get their salary for the canceled season.

Here’s where things get tricky — Puck alleges that Paramount and 101 Studios (who produces the hit series) have entertained the possibility of using those paydays to help with the raises.

As expected, that isn’t sitting well with the three because they were entitled to those funds anyway, thanks to their lucrative contracts already in place.

It’s unclear what will happen, but the newsletter anticipates answers soon because the companies behind the show expect a final answer about whether they accept the latest salaries that are part of the negotiations.

Losing so many beloved characters could kill the Yellowstone spinoff

Losing all three would give the offshoot an even more challenging hurdle. It’s already forging ahead without Kevin Costner, who may not even be a part of the final episodes of the main series.

Costner was undoubtedly the star attraction when Yellowstone touched down in 2018. Still, the three actors in contention for the spinoff have all broken out, and their characters could successfully keep the franchise alive in John Dutton’s absence.

We can only await confirmation from Paramount and 101 Studios to find out what’s going down. Still, their exits would put a much bigger expectation on the final-ever episodes of the original series.

How do you wrap up the storylines of four characters who were expected to remain on-screen for years?

Yellowstone has enjoyed great success, but something tells us these final episodes will be as disappointing as the conclusion of the Game of Thrones.

Yellowstone is currently on hiatus, but new episodes are expected to launch on Paramount Network in late 2024.

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