Why did Kevin Costner leave Yellowstone? Exploring the actual reason

The fate of Paramount Network’s hit neo-Western drama, Yellowstone, is hanging by a thread. It has been gravely affected by the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike and several internal conflicts.

However, the biggest hit the show has taken is its dispute with its lead star, Kevin Costner. The 68-year-old actor has played John Dutton III since the show premiered, and has been hailed as one of the perfect castings in TV history by both fans and critics.

Unfortunately, after months of “long, hard-fought negotiation,” he failed to reach an agreement and will not be a part of the show anymore. Apart from Costner, Yellowstone stars Luke Grimes as Kayce Dutton, Kelly Reilly as Bethany “Beth” Dutton, Wes Bentley as James Michael “Jamie” Dutton, Cole Hauser as Rip Wheeler, Kelsey Asbille as Monica Long Dutton, Jefferson White as Jimmy Hurdstram and several others.

Yellowstone on Paramount Network: Kevin Costner’s reason to quit the neo-Western drama explained

Speculations of Kevin Costner’s departure began right after part 1 of Season 5 finished airing. The actor is currently caught in a divorce with his wife Christine Baumgartner, however, his decision to leave is purely due to monetary and scheduling reasons.

Kevin Costner, who is currently filming his dream four-film Civil War saga titled, Horizon, needed to heavily alter his schedule because he was the star of his own project and Yellowstone. Season 5 was split into two parts, with the first part airing from November 13, 2022, to January 1, 2023. It consisted of eight episodes.

But when it came to part 2, Costner claimed that there were no scripts written and there even wasn’t a tentative release date. Furthermore, the actor demanded a sum of 12 million to be paid for the rest of the episodes, however, the network did not adhere to his demands. This entire fiasco was even taken to court and the actor had no choice but to quit the show.

In the court, Costner said,

“I couldn’t help them any more. We tried to negotiate, they offered me less money than previous seasons, there were issues with the creative…”

The actor chose not to emphasize the creative differences, but it is widely speculated that he has some form of dispute with Yellowstone’s creator, Taylor Sheridan.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sheridan admitted that he and the Costner had several disagreements about the character of John Dutton III.

“I’ve never had an issue with Kevin that he and I couldn’t work out on the phone. But once lawyers get involved, then people don’t get to talk to each other and start saying things that aren’t true and attempt to shift blame based on how the press or public seem to be reacting.”

He further stated,

“[Costner] took a lot of this on the chin and I don’t know that anyone deserves it.”

Kevin Costner will not return for the shooting of Yellowstone season 5, part 2, without a miracle. However, it is also not certain if the neo-Western will even have any more episodes.

Yellowstone synopsis

According to Rotten Tomatoes’ YouTube channel, the synopsis of Yellowstone reads,

“Land developers, an Indian reservation, and America’s first National Park all threaten the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. See if the Dutton family will survive through it all.”

Executive producers of the show are John Linson, Art Linson, Taylor Sheridan, Kevin Costner, and David C. Glasser.

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