The past few months have no doubt been trying for fans of the hit Western saga “Yellowstone,” as they awaited news regarding not just how but when the series would wrap its five-season run. While the “how” is still very much unknown, the “when” of the matter has mercifully come into sharper focus, with Variety reporting the series’ final run of episodes will hit Paramount Network in November 2024.
While that news will be welcome to the series’ diehard fanbase, it’s also a touch bittersweet as the episodes will now debut a full year later than originally intended. And even those dates remain tenuous, as any return to set for the “Yellowstone” cast hinges on the resolution of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes. Still, a year’s worth of lead time should ensure Taylor Sheridan and company are back in the saddle in time to make the November ’24 target.
Per the same Variety report, Sheridan is also looking to expand the “Yellowstone” lore even further via a pair of green-lit spinoff series in “1944” and “2024.” Little is known about the spinoffs, but the former series will presumably be a prequel in the vein of “1883” and “1923,” exploring the history of the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch. As for the latter, it may well be the sequel series Sheridan conjured up upon learning that Kevin Costner would be making an earlier than expected exit from the franchise, with Variety claiming “2024” will feature new faces as well as crossover characters.
It remains unclear if Kevin Costner will return for the final episodes of Yellowstone
It has, of course, been confirmed that Matthew McConaughey will be fronting a “Yellowstone” sequel series. But the Variety report does not confirm whether “2024” is the spinoff the beloved actor is ticketed for. Perhaps more concerning to “Yellowstone” faithful is the lack of news regarding the potential return of Kevin Costner for the series’ final episodes, signaling the very real possibility we’ve seen the last of the star in the role of John Dutton.
The news that Costner was looking to end his “Yellowstone” tenure threw many for a loop when it broke earlier this year, with reports of behind-the-scenes tensions between he and franchise creator Tyler Sheridan trailing out soon after. As dust continued to kick up from both sides, it became clear that not only would Costner not come back after Season 5, but he may not even return for the season’s, and thus the series’, final run of episodes. Given the actor’s commitment to his own big-screen Western saga “Horizon” and recent assertions that he’s no longer even under contract for a “Yellowstone” return, it seems increasingly likely Costner’s days on the Dutton Ranch are done for good.
Should that be the case, the task of ending “Yellowstone” in a satisfactory manner may be all the more daunting for Sheridan, who continues to serve as the series’ primary writer. And it’s worth wondering whether pushing the return a full year might not be an effort to give the “Yellowstone” creator a little more time to crack the ins and outs of forging ahead without the most important figure in the entire series.