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‘Yellowstone’ Will Reportedly Not Immediately End If Kevin Costner Does Jump Ship, But It Would Complicate The Sheridanverse

Cowboy drama is as dramatic as garden-variety drama, so it stands to reason that Yellowstone fans might be concerned about the Paramount franchise’s flagship series these days. As we mentioned previously, leading man Kevin Costner is reportedly making noises about departing the show, according to Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva, and although nothing has been confirmed on that note yet, The Hollywood Reporter did some followup legwork to see how this might shake out.

The blow could be impactful given that Yellowstone became a runaway hit for Paramount and a boon to the earliest days of the Paramount+ streaming service. Ex-Sons Of Anarchy good cop Taylor Sheridan soon stood at the center of his own universe with two prequels, 1883 and 1927, that have arrived so far with more supposedly on the way. What would a Kevin Costner departure mean in terms of fallout? Given that John Dutton sits at the center of the series, things could grow messy. However, The Hollywood Reporter‘s sources believe that the show would not cease right away upon Costner leaving the building. The scheduling sounds rough, though:

Yellowstone’s second half of the season is supposed to begin filming in March, but sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that hitting that mark is looking increasingly doubtful. The dispute raises the startling possibility that the most watched drama on TV could end prematurely. (Sources say the show would not end immediately over a Costner exit.)

On the scheduling note, it’s worth looking back at Nellie Andreeva’s original report, which said that Costner wanted to cut shooting time down in a major way. Reportedly, he wanted to squeeze 65 days into 50 days for the first half of the current season, and he also wanted to (and this is wild if true) “only wanted to spend a week shooting” the back end of the season. Costner’s schedule has grown more complex since he committed to directing an epic western picture, Horizon, in which he will also star, for Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line.

Further details from Deadline indicated that Matthew McConaughey is ready to board the Yellowstone universe, although The Hollywood Reporter notes that it would be awfully awkward if McConaughey suddenly picked up the John Dutton role. The outlet mentions Two and a Half Men as an example, as in when Ashton Kutcher picked up for Charlie Sheen, and that definitely got weird(er).

In the meantime, Sheridan has a lot of irons going in the Paramount fire. This includes Tulsa King with Sylvester Stallone, and that show will move onto Season 2 albeit with a new showrunner following the departure of Boardwalk Empire‘s Terence Winter due to “creative differences.” Sheridan also has multiple Yellowstone-adjacent projects, including Lioness (with Zoe Saldana and Nicole Kidman) and Land Man (with Billy Bob Thornton) on the way. With A-listers wanting to join the universe left and right, it seems likely that the Sheridanverse could recover from a Costner loss if things are plotted out well. Yet again, this sounds wrinkly as hell to iron out.

(Via Hollywood Reporter & Deadline)