Why Is Kevin Costner Not Returning To ‘Yellowstone?’

To be perfectly frank here, no one knows for sure that Kevin Costner is definitively leaving Yellowstone. Still, rumors have persisted for months, which culminated this week in an Entertainment Tonight report that Costner was heading off into the sunset at the end of Season 5. As for the “why” of the equation, that wasn’t clarified, but reading between the lines, it sure seems like Costner would like to focus upon his directing career, and a demanding TV shooting schedule makes that difficult.

Or perhaps it’s the opposite. The juggernaut Paramount Network series aired its mid-Season 5 finale in January, and according to continuing hints, including from actress Lainey Wilson, no one knows when filming will resume for the back half of the season. So, they’re apparently on an indefinite pause right in the middle of a season, which isn’t optimal even though other Taylor Sheridan shows are in plentiful supply for Paramount+.

Meanwhile, Costner has been planning out a two-part set of Western films, Horizon (in which he will direct and star), which began shooting this week in Utah. One imagines that he will be tied up doing so for quite some time, so don’t hold your breath on hearing about Yellowstone filming again anytime soon in Montana.

This sounds as messy as one could imagine after months of reports of friction for Yellowstone, including an alleged rift between Sheridan and Costner. Additionally, neither of them surfaced (as confusingly advertised) for the April 1 Paleyfest panel, where none of the present panelists could provide an answer on when filming would begin once more.

Also meanwhile, Sheridan is readying yet another sure-to-be-a-hit Paramount+ TV series, Lawmen: Bass Reeves, which recently announced Donald Sutherland within the cast. And Vanity Fair has provided a first look at Zoe Saldana and Nicole Kidman in Sheridan’s upcoming Lioness series, which will sit outside the Yellowstone primary stable of shows. In other words, a lot of balls are flying through the air right now, and Yellowstone will have to wait.