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Wait, Is Kevin Costner Planning To Return During Yellowstone's Final Episodes After All?

 John Dutton in cowboy hat in Yellowstone Season 4.
John Dutton in cowboy hat in Yellowstone Season 4.

In what is either the most or least surprising Yellowstone report to arrive eight months before its final Season 5 episodes will air, sorta-former series lead Kevin Costner is reportedly once again interested in working out a way to make his on-screen return as John Dutton, despite months and months of updates pointing to the Oscar winner being done with the small-screen western drama. Is there truly a chance for the show’s final season to bring its entire main cast back after all?

The answer to that question more or less remains as unclear as it was at any other point in the most recent past, but now with the possible caveat that Costner may actually want to come back to close out John Dutton’s story. This alleged shift in approach is being reported by Puck News (via ET), which purports that the rumors about more John Dutton are being passed around by none other than Costner himself.

The outlet claims that the actor and filmmaker, whose upcoming western feature Horizon: An American Saga unleashed its massive first trailer in February, has spoken with others about his plans to show up in the back half of Season 5. As far as quantity goes, it’s said Costner has mentioned making at least a cameo in one of the episodes, but that there’s a possibility for more.

How Likely Is Kevin Costner's Return To Yellowstone?

It’s a fate that many fans were no doubt still holding out hopes for, since it would be enraging for such a huge series to conclude its run with its biggest star suddenly absent for the final 6 episodes. (Even that episode count has sparked conflicting reports.) From the general standpoint of returning to status quos and general TV logic, nothing would make more sense for Yellowstone than for Kevin Costner to once again perch himself on the ranch lodge's front porch for a chilling father-daughter chat with Kelly Reilly's Beth.

But logical expections and TV-making practices rarely align, and much of the past year has been centered on the notion that Kevin Costner and Taylor Sheridan's background noise was so loud that they likely wouldn't be able to once again cordially meet in the middle. And while any official updates were almost entirely limited to the news about the continuation series (tentatively titled 2024) and the November return window, Costner addressed his Yellowstone exit in court by saying he didn't have any series-based payments coming his way in 2024.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle here has nothing to do with Costner himself, but rather Taylor Sheridan, who reportedly wrote the rest of Season 5 without the older version of John Dutton in it. The age distinction there is due to Josh Lucas, who portrays John in his younger decades, confirming he'll be back in Season 5, with flashbacks presumably utilized to keep John in the story, even through Costner's absence.

So Sheridan, a known workhorse whose upcoming projects almost necessarily mandate he stick to a strict creative schedule, would likely need to go back and revamp one or more of the reportedly completely scripts to incorporate Costner's patriarch. Not so impossible if it's only a one-episode cameo, but likely a huge headache if the goal is to have him make a bigger splash.

As far as public looks go, Kevin Costner seemingly hasn’t directly spoken about Yellowstone at length for any amount of time since the behind-the-scenes chaos was first publicized, at least outside of 2023’s divorce hearings. For instance, one of his most recent Instagram posts is a quick video of a train, with a caption talking about Horizon.

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A photo posted by kevincostner on

While waiting to see what happens with John Dutton going forward, all episodes can be streamed in full with a Peacock subscription. Head to our 2024 TV schedule to see what other new and returning shows are on the way.