At This Point, Yellowstone Season 5 Is Better Off Without Kevin Costner’S John Dutton


Reports claim that Kevin Costner might return to Yellowstone to finish his character’s story in season 5, but multiple reasons explain why that is a bad idea. The final episodes of the neo-Western drama series have been highly discussed due to the behind-the-scenes drama involving Costner. Paramount split the last season into two parts consisting of eight episodes each, and following the ending of Yellowstone season 5, part 1, numerous outlets reported that tension between Costner and creator Taylor Sheridan threatened the actor’s future on the show. Consequently, Costner’s exit was made official but might not be permanent.

In February 2024, Matt Belloni’s What I’m Hearing newsletter at Puck shared that one of Costner’s representatives is supposedly trying to negotiate his return to Yellowstone. The actor reportedly wants to give closure to his character and be there to end John Dutton’s story in the Paramount Network show. Those saddened to learn that Costner would not be a part of the final episodes may be ecstatic to hear this news. But it’s more likely that Yellowstone season 5, part 2, will go on without John Dutton, and that’s ultimately for the best.

Kevin Costner Returning As John Dutton Would Mean Rewriting Yellowstone Season 5

Taylor Sheridan and the other Yellowstone writers likely already have a plan regarding what will happen in the final stretch of the Paramount Network show, and they crafted it with the knowledge that Kevin Costner wouldn’t be returning. The cast and crew are scheduled to start filming Yellowstone season 5, part 2, in the spring of 2024, giving the writers little time to weave John Dutton back into the episodes after crafting the story without his character. They would probably have to change significant portions of the scripts, which doesn’t seem feasible or worth it in the grand scheme of the series.

Of course, Costner and his character are at the heart of Yellowstone, which made the news of his departure so shocking and heartbreaking in the summer of 2023. However, the writers (and fans) have had time to accept that John Dutton won’t return in the second part of season 5. So, the neo-Western drama television show might be better off concluding its story without Costner physically appearing, even if the actor is interested in reprising his role in the remaining episodes.

Kevin Costner’s Return Would Just Risk Overshadowing Yellowstone Season 5’s Ending


Given that most (or all) of the scripts for Yellowstone season 5, part 2, are assumingly finished, Kevin Costner would only realistically return in a minimal role. The producers and writers might be able to fit his character into a scene or two, but John Dutton won’t play a significant part in the last eight episodes of the series. If the reports are correct and one of Costner’s representatives is trying to negotiate the actor’s return to the show to close out John Dutton’s story, and they are successful, Costner’s presence would undoubtedly take away from the other characters and stories.

Given the neverending conversations regarding Costner’s exit from Yellowstone and the rumored drama between him and Taylor Sheridan since early 2023, his return in season 5, part 2, would be the talk of the town. Whatever Sheridan has planned for the final episodes will not matter because Costner’s appearance would overshadow everything else in the show. While John Dutton is one of the central figures in the Paramount Network series, plenty of other characters deserve good endings (and not to be pushed to the side in favor of giving Costner’s character closure).

How Yellowstone Season 5 Can End John Dutton’s Story Without Kevin Costner Returning

Fortunately for viewers, Yellowstone can end in many different ways without Kevin Costner reprising his role as John Dutton in season 5, part 2. As mentioned above, Taylor Sheridan’s neo-Western drama television series includes numerous characters who all need closure, not just John Dutton. However, it wouldn’t make sense for the upcoming episodes not to address the elephant in the room (i.e., Costner’s exit) and explain John Dutton’s absence. So, fans should expect to learn Costner’s character’s fate one way or another, even if the actor doesn’t return.

John Dutton could die offscreen in the final episodes, which feels like a cop-out, but it’s a possibility. He might be away from the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch throughout the eight episodes, or a time jump could explain his absence. The possibilities are endless, and only time will tell what happens to John Dutton in Yellowstone season 5, part 2, and if Costner is there to end his character’s story.