Yellowstone: Kevin Costner Says He's No Longer Under Contract for Hit Series


The situation surrounding the remaining episodes of Yellowstone's fifth season has become increasingly complex. In a recent development, series star Kevin Costner revealed that he is no longer under contract for the Paramount Network series, leaving his future with the drama uncertain. Court documents related to his divorce from second wife Christine Baumgartner stated that he does not anticipate earning money from his work on the series this year, except for potential "back-end contractual participation rights."

The document reads, "I will earn substantially less in 2023 than I did in 2022. This is because I am no longer under contract for Yellowstone, the main source of my income last year. Any compensation I receive from Yellowstone will now only come from my back-end contractual participation rights, the amounts of which are not fixed."

Costner further added, "The latest report from the producer for Yellowstone indicates that I am currently not owed any participation money."

The saga surrounding Season 5 of Yellowstone has been almost as dramatic as the series itself. The season went on a midseason hiatus in January, with Paramount Network initially announcing that the show would return for the second half of the season in Summer 2023. However, reports soon emerged suggesting that production on those episodes had not yet commenced, raising doubts about the anticipated return timeframe. Subsequent reports indicated that Costner would be departing the series after Season 5, leading to the official announcement that Yellowstone would conclude with its fifth season and a sequel series was in development.

"Yellowstone has been the cornerstone on which we have launched an entire universe of global hits – from 1883 to Tulsa King, and I am confident our Yellowstone sequel will be another big hit, thanks to the brilliant creative mind of Taylor Sheridan and our incredible casts who bring these shows to life," Chris McCarthy, President and CEO Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios said in a statement.

Yellowstone Creator Taylor Sheridan Says Kevin Costner's Exit "Truncates" John Dutton's Ending

It's currently unclear how this latest update about Costner's time on Yellowstone impacts things, but series creator Taylor Sheridan has previously stated that the actor's departure from the series doesn't alter John Dutton's arc, although it does shorten it.

In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Sheridan explained that he is disappointed with how things have unfolded, but the conclusion of the John Dutton character remains unchanged. He emphasized that it won't be a behind-the-scenes tension-fueled "f-ck you car crash" sort of ending.

"I'm disappointed," Sheridan expressed. "It truncates the closure of his character. It doesn't alter it, but it does truncate it."

He went on to say, "I don't do f-ck you car crashes. Whether [Dutton's] fate inflates [Costner's] ego or insults him is collateral damage that I don't factor in when it comes to storytelling."

Sheridan also clarified that his opinion of Costner as an actor hasn't changed, and he hopes that Costner's movie, Horizon, which he reportedly left Yellowstone to pursue, turns out to be worthwhile and good.

"My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn't altered," Sheridan affirmed. "His creation of John Dutton is symbolic and powerful... and I've never had an issue with Kevin that we couldn't work out on the phone. But once lawyers get involved, people stop talking to each other, and false statements and blame-shifting based on the public or media reaction start happening. Kevin took a lot of this on the chin, and I don't think anyone deserves it. His movie seems to be a top priority for him, and he wants to shift his focus. I really hope the movie is worth it and that it turns out to be a good one."

What's Going on With Season 5 of Yellowstone?

As of now, Season 5 of Yellowstone is still in progress. The second half of the season was originally slated to air during the summer, but production on the new episodes has yet to commence. However, Luke Grimes, who portrays Kayce Dutton in the series, recently shared that viewers can anticipate the upcoming episodes to delve into the show's fundamental themes of love and family.

Grimes stated, "Love, family, and loyalty to your tribe or people are significant themes in the show. For Kayce, he grapples with the challenge of choosing between his relationship with his father and his relationship with his wife and son. I believe it's because all of these connections truly matter, and they hold great importance for all the characters."

He proceeded to elaborate that it is within those themes where all the "captivating drama" lies.

"That's where you find all of this truly captivating drama, as everyone is battling for their respective teams," he remarked. "There's no definitive right or wrong team; it's simply a collection of individuals striving to determine what is best for themselves."

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