It’s happening! We finally have confirmation that the Matthew McConaughey Yellowstone extension is a go. So, what does the news mean for Kevin Costner and the state of Yellowstone as we know it? Read on for more details — plus see what McConaughey recently had to say about Yellowstone and Kevin Costner’s iconic role.
Yellowstone is Paramount’s popular Western drama that follows the Dutton family as they fight to protect the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in Montana. The series premiered in 2018 and spotlights John Dutton III, the six-generation patriarch played by Kevin Costner, who’s been a mainstay on the show since its debut. The main cast consists of Costner, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Luke Grimes, Cole Hauser, Gil Birmingham, Kelsey Asbille and more. Yellowstone already has three spin-offs: 1883 and 1923 (on Paramount Plus) and 6666 (which is still in development).
Like the drama that consumes the show, Yellowstone has been dealing with its own behind-the-scenes issues that allegedly concern Costner and his filming schedule. Deadline reported in February 2023 that Paramount Network chose to end Yellowstone to create a new show without Costner due to filming and scheduling issues. Sources told the magazine that Costner, who originally limited himself to 65 days of filming on Yellowstone for previous seasons, only wanted to film for 50 days for the first part of season 5, which aired from November 2022 to January 2023.
Now that a McConaughey spin-off is officially happening, here’s everything we know about Matthew McConaughey joining the Yellowstone franchise and Kevin Costner’s status amid rumors of his exit.
Is Matthew McConaughey joining Yellowstone?
Is Matthew McConaughey joining Yellowstone? The answer is yes! Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of Paramount Media Networks, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on March 28, 2023, that the McConaughey Yellowstone spin-off is happening. McCarthy told the publication that McConaughey is lined up to star in a Yellowstone extension, which will “move forward regardless of whether Costner returns to the original.”
Our sister publication, Variety, reported on May 5, 2023, that Yellowstone will be ending after Season 5 and there will not be a sixth season of the successful Paramount series. Instead, it will be replaced with a sequel series. “The untitled series will debut on Paramount Network and Paramount+ in December,” according to Variety. “
“The Dutton story continues, picking up where Yellowstone leaves off in another epic tale. We are thrilled to bring this new journey to audiences around the world,” said David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios, of the new prequel series.
On June 13, 2023, McConaughey talked about Yellowstone on the Lex Fridman Podcast. He spoke about the appeal of the show and Costner’s lead role in the Western drama. “I admire the simplicity of it. One way you could explain Yellowstone and Costner’s role is what will men do to protect land and family in a world that is trying to encroach?” McConaughey told the host. “In a world where there’s a cowboy ethos that deems trespassing more clear earlier than other hats. I admire that simplicity of right and wrong.”
He continued: “It’s a little bit of, ‘If the law ain’t handling this, I am.’ And then it is, ‘The law’s not going to handle it, therefore I am.’ Then it’s, ‘I’m handling this. The law? Talk to them when you get to them. I’m handling this.’”
Initial reports about McConaughey’s involvement in a Yellowstone extension were first reported by Deadline in February 2023. At the time, McConaughey was in talks to star in the franchise expansion. “Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner,” a Paramount Network spokesperson told Deadline. It’s also reported that some of the Yellowstone cast will move over to the McConaughey spin-off, although it’s still unclear who that will be.
A few members of Yellowstone have already reacted to the McConaughey news, including Josh Lucas, who plays the younger version of John Dutton. He told Entertainment Tonight at the PaleyFest in April 2023 that “I’m sure he [Taylor Sheridan] has great ideas for how these characters merge together,” Lucas said of Sheridan’s plans. “Part of it is the mystery of the mind of that creator…bring it on.” Lucas also added that he’s amazed by how much of Sheridan’s own life is reflected in the show. “I’m always so fascinated to see what Taylor [Sheridan] is doing as he tells the story,” he explained. “The thing that moves me or surprises me most is that every time I think something is too crazy or too fantastical, it turns out it’s based on a true story from Taylor’s life or from something that is very close to the cowboys that all of this story is about.”
Dawn Olivieri, who plays Yellowstone newcomer Sarah and Claire Dutton in the Yellowstone prequel 1883, was also at PaleyFest alongside Lucas. She spoke with The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet about the news. “The names will change, hotness factors will shift, Matthew McConaugheys will appear, it’ll just be whatever it needs to be,” she told our sister site.
Is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone for good?
Is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone for good? It looks that way. With the announcement that Season 5 is the last for Yellowstone, Paramount executives have not said whether Costner will be involved in the Yellowstone universe after the show ends (let alone McConaughey’s spin-off, which will bring some of the Yellowstone cast over). The remaining episodes of Season 5, Part 2 of Yellowstone are set to be released this November, and we expect Costner to return to the series once and for all.
Sources first told Variety in February 2023 that Costner had alleged scheduling conflicts while filming the second half of season 5, which could cause the actor to potentially leave the series. Meanwhile, Costner’s lawyer, Marty Singer, told Puck.News in February 2023 that reports that “Kevin was only willing to work one week on the second half of Season 5 of Yellowstone is an absolute lie.” Singer also called the allegations “ridiculous — and anyone suggesting it shouldn’t be believed for one second.”
A spokesperson from Paramount also told Deadline in February 2023 that they hope Costner will be a part of the show moving forward. “We have no news to report. Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come,” they said. Paramount head McCarthy also told The Hollywood Reporter that the show “wouldn’t be what it is today without Kevin and we hope that that stays for a long time to come.” As of now, there is little news to report about if Costner is leaving the show for good. Although, the filming delays for season 5, part 2, certainty doesn’t help.