‘Yellowstone’ Fans, There’s a Wild New Theory About John Dutton’s Ending

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Yellowstone officially comes to a close this November, and fans are already speculating about how the most iconic character’s story may end.

In between production delays for season 5 part 2 due to last year’s WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, viewers are anxiously waiting to see how the modern-day Duttons’ legacy wraps. While the show is famous for keeping key details close to the vest, Kevin Costner dropped details in September 2023 about his plans to exit Yellowstone in order to work on his four-part film franchise Horizon: An American Saga. The news came amid his divorce trial from ex-wife Christine Baumgartner, where he testified and said no scripts were ready for him amid filming season 5 part 1. What’s more, he shared he would’ve been paid only $12 million for the project, which was less than previous seasons.

“I couldn’t help them anymore,” he said at the time, per People. “We tried to negotiate, they offered me less money than previous seasons, there were issues with the creative… we came up with a number, and they [Yellowstone] walked away. I’ve been told it’s a little disappointing that [it’s] the #1 show on TV, [and] I’m not participating.”

Needless to say, this bombshell left many thinking of how Kevin’s character, John Dutton, will be written out of Yellowstone. Well, it looks like dedicated fans have a theory, but we need to go back to the beginning for the clue we all missed.

yellowstone season 5 part 2 kevin costner exit theory

As an article published by Screen Rant on January 20 points out, there’s a fan theory surrounding John’s demise.

As many may remember, during the first set of episodes, John was introduced as a man who’d risk everything to protect his family’s legacy. While he spent the season trying to figure out who would inherit the Yellowstone ranch, he received a curveball when he was diagnosed with colon cancer — which he hid from his family. This was later outed by Jamie (Wes Bentley) and Beth (Kelly Reilly), who eventually confronted their father about it, as he remained quiet about it.

Although the latter half of season 1 seemingly showed John’s gradual return to full health, in season 2, fans start to worry about John after he collapses at the ranch and later coughs up blood. While he learns the cause of the blood came from a ruptured ulcer, this was another instance of scaring fans into thinking he was sicker than he let on.

Given how Yellowstone gave up on this storyline by season 3, it’s possible to think Kevin’s exit could involve John’s cancer potentially returning.

Of course, we can’t say for sure how it’ll end for John, but no matter how Kevin leaves the show, we know Yellowstone will make it dramatic.

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