Let’s face it folks: Kevin Costner’s John Dutton is not coming back for Yellowstone’s final season. There was a glimmer of hope last year, when Puck reported that Costner reached out to Showrunner Taylor Sheridan about maybe being in Yellowstone Season 6, but apparently those talks did not go well. Indeed, Dutton seems all but certain to meet his maker, with Costner busy working on his passion project, Horizon: An American Saga. But how will he exit the Yellowstone Universe?
His Cancer Could Return
If you’re a Yellowstone fan, you’ll remember that in the first season, Costner’s John Dutton was diagnosed with colon cancer. Rumor has it, Costner was originally planning for his run on the show to be a short one, but the cancer plot line was quickly done away with. In the Season 2 premiere, Dutton had a major attack that he assumed was his cancer returning, only for a vet to perform emergency surgery on what turned out to be a ruptured ulcer. And so Dutton lived to fight another day.
Now that Dutton is governor of Montana, it’s possible that he could be assasination, potentially at the hands of his estranged son Jamie (Wes Bentley), but that seems out of sorts for that character, who was last seen planning to take him down with an impeachment. Remember, him and his paramour, Dawn Olivieri’s Sarah Atwood, were trying to take him down that way.
Some Random Dumb Accident
Life on the Yellowstone ranch is rough. If Sheridan really wants to stick it to Costner, who always had an entry in his contract that guaranteed “a moral death” for the character, it’s possible he’ll just kill him off randomly. While that might strike some as a middle finger to fans, with Costner refusing to do any shooting at all, Taylor Sheridan might not have much of a choice.
Here’s everything else we know about Season 6:
When does season 6 of Yellowstone start?
Originally, the plan was to split the fifth season of Yellowstone into two parts, with Part 2 due to air in fall of 2023. That didn’t happen due to the strikes, so now Paramount is dubbing Yelllowstone’s final season number 6. It’s now due this fall. It can’t air any sooner because the show’s shooting in Montana is notoriously weather dependant, and it can’t be shot until winter is over.
How many episodes there be be?
Two of the biggest problems facing the final season of Yellowstone stem directly from the strikes, as creator Taylor Sheridan had yet to complete the scripts when the WGA strike was called. If took months for the strikes to end, and in that time the plan shifted, as originally there was supposed to be a Season 5 part 2 with 6 episodes, but this plan was scrapped in favor of a legit sixth and final season.
What Will Happen to Beth and Rip?
Here’s where it gets interesting. With the final season set to do away with John Dutton, the focus will likely fall to the romantic duo at the centre of the show, Cole Hauser’s Rip and Kelly Reilly’s Beth. While they aren’t the only star-crossed lovers on the show, with Luke Grimes’s Kaycee and Kelsey Asbille’s Monica also seeing their shares of ups and downs, fans are obsessed with this couple. The show has often revolved around Beth’s deadly rivalry with her estranged (adopted) brother, Jamie (Wes Bentley), and it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that if John Dutton dies, the prodigal son is somehow behind it. If so, I expect Beth to go on the warpath and for the show to end with Jamie’s presumably violent death.
Will Rip Be In It?
While Rip is one half of Yellowstone’s biggest power couple, another behind-the-scenes Yellowstone battle has been brewing – this time between Hauser and creator Taylor Sheridan. Unlike with Costner, this has nothing to do with what’s happening on screen or with money. Rather, Sheridan is accusing Hauser’s new coffee brand, Free Range Coffee, of sporting a logo nearly identical to that of his coffee brand, Bosque Ranch Craft Coffee. Hopefully, this battle doesn’t lead to more behind-the-scenes strife, but these squabbles have a tendency to get out of hand.
What is Yellowstone 2024?
This seems to be the current title for the sequel series starring Matthew McConaughey and (potentially) other members of the Yellowstone cast. No word yet on what the series will involve, but you can be sure that John Dutton won’t be tipping his hat – both because of Costner and, come on, Dutton has to die in Yellowstone, right? If he does die, I imagine surviving cast members will make their way over to this show. If Beth and Rip survive the final season, I would expect them to be leads alongside McConaughey, which would make sense and give the show some legit crossover appeal. It’s been rumored that Michelle Pfeiffer is also set to play a big role, but apparently salary negotiations for Kelly Reilly, Cole Hauser and Luke Grimes have been complicated. In fact, a bombshell report suggests Reilly and Hauser was at least equal billing to any newer, big-named stars, and salaries that match. Notably, they are negotiating seperately, meaning one may end up on the new show, and one may not.
What About the Prequels?
The well-received prequel 1923, starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, is set to air one more season. It will likely premiere before Yellowstone Season 6, as Sheridan is thought to have completed the scripts. Paramount also announced another spin-off called 1944, which would presumably take the Dutton clan through WW2, and could (theoretically) include characters from 1923, including Brandon Sklenar’s Spencer. That said, the role could potentially be recast, as, if he’s supposed to be in his fifties, Sklenar would be a bit on the young side. Sheridan’s also got Lawmen: Bass Reeves on the air. Originally, this seemed to be set in the Yellowstone universe, but so far hasn’t been linked to shows like 1883, despite a similar style.
What is Horizon?
By this point, fans might be wondering just what exactly Horizon: An American Saga is, as it’s the project that seemingly kept Costner away from Yellowstone season 6. It’s a multi-part western saga that Costner both stars in and directs. The first two parts are due out this summer, with the first coming out on June 28th, and the sequel to follow on August 16th. Costner stars alongside Sienna Miller, Yellowstone vet Danny Huston, Jena Malone (his Hatfields and the McCoys co-star), Sam Worthington, and more. Warner Bros, the studio that is releasing the film, is set to release a full trailer and more details shortly. Here is the poster:
What do you expect to see in the final season of Yellowstone? Which character(s) do you think won’t make it out alive? Let us know!