Yellowstone Creator Taylor Sheridan Breaks Silence on Kevin Costner's Shocking Exit

Taylor Sheridan, creator of Yellowstone, weighed in on Kevin Costner's upcoming departure from the hit series more than a month after the Paramount Network announced the show was set to end.

By Corinne Heller Jun 22, 2023 7:02 PMTags
Watch: Yellowstone Cast Imagines a World Without Kevin Costner's John Dutton

Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan is sharing where he stands with Kevin Costner as the western comes to an end.

The Paramount Network shocked many fans when it announced in May that the fifth season of the hit show—starring the actor as Montana cattle rancher John Dutton—will be its last. The news followed months of rumors that Costner was looking to depart the show. And as Sheridan admits, this wasn't the way he saw John Dutton's story coming to an end.

"My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn't altered," Sheridan told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview published June 21. "His creation of John Dutton is symbolic and powerful."

He added, "I'm disappointed. It truncates the closure of his character. It doesn't alter it, but it truncates it." 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Costner is leaving to focus on his own Western project, a four-movie saga titled Horizon.

"My last conversation with Kevin was that he had this passion project he wanted to direct," Sheridan told the outlet. "He and the network were arguing about when he could be done with Yellowstone. I said, 'We can certainly work a schedule toward [his preferred exit date],' which we did."

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Costner has not commented on Sheridan's remarks or his upcoming exit from the series.

David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

However, while its flagship series is coming to an end, the Yellowstone universe Sheridan has built lives on. In addition to the prequels 1883 and 1923, the franchise is expanding with a still-untitled direct follow-up that will premiere after season five begins airing late this year, a schedule that could be delayed due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike.

Meanwhile, Sheridan—who appeared in shows like Sons of Anarchy and Veronica Mars before going behind the camera—is contemplating how Costner's particular Yellowstone ride will end. 

"I don't do f--k-you car crashes," Sheridan, referring to his Sons of Anarchy character's sudden demise, told the Hollywood Reporter. "Whether [Dutton's fate] inflates [Costner's] ego or insults is collateral damage that I don't factor in with regard to storytelling."

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