Why did Kevin Costner leave Yellowstone and when is it coming back?

 Kevin Costner in Yellowstone.
Credit: Paramount

It was the Western that had viewers glued to the edge of their seats, now Yellowstone is without its leading man. As Kevin Costner announces his departure, fans are wondering what is next for the hit US series.

For those that haven’t watched the Paramount+ show, it follows the fortunes of the Dutton family as developers try to buy out their Montana ranch, Yellowstone, from under them. With political intrigue, scandals and family drama, the series is like Succession - but with stetsons.

And it's left viewers with so many questions about its plot and storylines over the seasons, from why Beth hates Jamie to whether Yellowstone is based on a true story.

While Yellowstone fans have been hooked on the drama on-screen, viewers are now wanting to know more about the cast off screen, with lots desperate to know why Kevin Costner isn't making a return to the show.

Yellowstone
Yellowstone

Why is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone?

Having played the family patriarch, John Dutton III, for the last four seasons, the news that Kevin Costner is leaving Yellowstone is hard for die-hard fans of the show.

The character had become a fan-favourite, with viewers sharing their disappointment as Kevin announced the news last Friday (June 21).

Taking to Instagram, the actor confirmed that he would not be reprising his role due to scheduling conflicts with his new film, Horizon: An American Saga.

Kevin said, "I want to reach out and let you know that after this long year and a half of working on Horizon and doing all the things that's required, and thinking about Yellowstone, that beloved series that I love, that I know you love.

"I just realised that I'm not going to be able to continue Season 5B or into the future."

The 69-year-old continued, "It was something that really changed me. I loved it. And I know you loved it.

"And I just wanted to let you know that I won't be returning and I love the relationship we've been able to develop and I'll see you at the movies."

Fans had been anticipating the announcement, after filming on Yellowstone was delayed - with the fifth season originally expected to wrap in 2022.

Kevin's character, John Dutton, will now only appear in the first half of Yellowstone’s season five, with the upcoming second half set to go on without him.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Kevin also touched on how much working on Yellowstone has meant to him but explained that wanting to work on separate projects wasn't possible while continuing to play John.

"Yellowstone was a great moment in my life. I remember reading it, and thinking I wanted to do this. Maybe do one season or just one long movie, and end up doing five [seasons]," he said.

"It was important for me to be able to do other things and, you know, try to make that work. I just wasn't able to make it work."

When is Yellowstone returning?

The second part of the fifth season of Yellowstone will air on November 10th 2024 in the US on Paramount, with the series dropping a day later in the UK on November 11th.

The President & CEO of Showtime and MTV Entertainment Studios also confirmed that Yellowstone would end after its fifth season. This final series will lead into a spin-off starring Matthew McConaughy, which will also centre around the Dutton family.