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How Will Kevin Costner Be Written Off Yellowstone? There’s A Solid Fan Theory Floating Around That I’m 100% On Board With

 John Dutton in hat outdoors in Yellowstone.
John Dutton in hat outdoors in Yellowstone.

Word on the street is that it’s highly likely Kevin Costner won’t return for the final episodes of Yellowstone. Due to the reported drama between the John Dutton actor and the modern Western’s creator Taylor Sheridan, there have been many claims that point to the idea that the patriarch of the Yellowstone will leave. So, that leaves us with the question: How will they write the leading man out of this hit show? Well, there’s a popular fan theory floating around the internet, and I have to say, I’m 100% on board with it.

At the time of this writing, Season 5B of Yellowstone will premiere late on the 2024 TV schedule, and it has not been officially confirmed or denied if Kevin Costner will be returning as John Dutton. It seems more likely that he won’t be back considering the allegedly heated contract negotiations he was in and the fact that his films Horizon: An American Saga are set to premiere on the 2024 movie schedule. This is where ScreenRant’s fan theory about how the Yellowstone patriarch could be written off the show comes in, and it involves an integral, but dropped, plot point from the early seasons.

How They Could Write Kevin Costner Off Of Yellowstone Using A Season 1 Plot Point

In Season 1 of Yellowstone, John was dealing with what he thought was a re-emergence of colon cancer. At first, he hid this from his kids – Kayce, Beth and Jamie. However, eventually, Beth and Jamie found out. Costner’s character and his health took a turn for the worse, and he thought it was because his cancer had come back.

However, it was later revealed in Season 2, that it wasn’t cancer, it was an ulcer. During the premiere John collapsed, and the ranch’s veterinarian helped treat him, the vet also was the one to inform him that the cancer wasn’t back, he had an ulcer. That put an end to the John Dutton has cancer story arc.

It can come back at any moment though. Cancer is a beast, and it can relapse. That’s why Costner’s character was scared in Season 1, and that’s why it’s a logical way to write off his character in the final episodes of Yellowstone’s fifth season.

Why Doing This Would Make The Final Episodes Of Yellowstone Thrilling

Personally, I think this is a fantastic idea. If the reports prove to be true, and Kevin Costner won’t come back for the final episodes of Yellowstone, having his cancer take him is the most logical way to write him off. However, I also think it provides for a super interesting final few episodes.

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Cole Hauser as Rip Wheeler sitting next to a coffee cup in Season 2 of Yellowstone.
Cole Hauser as Rip Wheeler sitting next to a coffee cup in Season 2 of Yellowstone.

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Like Succession’s final season, which saw Logan Roy unexpectedly die toward the start of it, killing off John suddenly, would provide for high drama surrounding who would inherit the farm. Between Kayce being the obvious choice and not wanting it and Beth and Jamie’s ongoing feud that stems from their goals for the ranch, clearly John dying would provide some serious friction between the kids.

And friction makes for great television.

So, if Kevin Costner won’t be returning to the Yellowstone as John Dutton, and he dies from cancer off-screen, I don’t think the show will be worse. In fact, I think this possibility is thrilling, and seeing the Dutton kids fight it out for who gets the right to the ranch would be a great way to end Yellowstone.

As we learn more about Season 5B of Yellowstone and the theories surrounding how the final moments will play out, we’ll be sure to keep you posted. In the meantime, catch up on Seasons 1 through 5A with a Peacock subscription.