Rumors swirl about Kevin Costner Yellowstone departure after surprising absence

Fans might be fearing that Kevin Costner will leave Yellowstone as the rumors continue to circulate following his PaleyFest absence

Kevin Costner Yellowstone departure surrounded by rumors. Seen here Kevin arrives at the Pre-Grammy Gala
(Image credit: Photo by Mark Von Holden/Variety via Getty Images)

For many months now rumors have swirled that Kevin Costner could be departing Yellowstone and the speculation has only increased after his recent absence from a panel.

Since it first landed in 2018, neo-Western hit Yellowstone has amassed fans across the world and the show wouldn’t be quite the same without Dutton family patriarch, John Dutton, played by Kevin Costner. Even whilst Yellowstone season 5 was airing speculation had been circulating that fans could see Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone. Whilst no departure has been confirmed by either Kevin or Paramount, the lead star’s absence from a high-profile panel event on April 1 has seen these rumors reignited. 

TV festival, PaleyFest takes place every year and according to Variety, the drama’s creator Taylor Sheridan and the main Yellowstone cast including Kevin Costner were expected to make an appearance there but didn’t.  

They claim that the original list of attendees also included Yellowstone’s executive producer David Glasser and reported that they were told that the cast were unable to attend due to “scheduling conflicts”. 

The final event saw cast members Josh Lucas, Wendy Moniz, Mo Brings Plenty and Dawn Olivieri and Paramount Network development president Keith Cox attend. When it comes to Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone journey, nothing was confirmed and Keith declared he was “confident” that the actor would continue to be part of the show.

"What I can say is our star, the face of our show and the executive producer, are very confident he's going to continue with our show,” he said. 

This response comes months after a network spokesperson reiterated this sense of hope in a statement, declaring, “Kevin Costner is a big part of ‘Yellowstone’ and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come.” 

Kevin Costner has been part of Yellowstone since season 1 but reports have claimed that he’s considering exiting possibly due to scheduling conflicts and him starring in and directing an upcoming Western movie, Horizon. It was also alleged that Keith Cox didn’t give a specific release date for the second half of Yellowstone season 5 at PaleyFest, though it was apparently confirmed by cast members on the red carpet that filming on it hasn’t started yet. 

Despite the continuing rumors, however, Kevin himself has previously echoed Keith’s confidence in his Yellowstone commitment. He told USA Today that whilst he was “only going to do one season” he’s done “this many” and that he’ll stay until it doesn’t feel “right”, perhaps hinting that his time on Yellowstone isn’t over yet.

Kevin said, "I give everything I can to what I'm doing. But the moment I feel that it's not right, I'm just going to step away."

Kevin Costner attends the premiere of 20th Century Fox's "The Art of Racing in the Rain"

(Image credit: Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Until more information is shared by either Kevin or Paramount it seems that Kevin and his character John Dutton are very much still part of the show. But given the ongoing speculation and his PaleyFest absence it perhaps makes sense that many fans are still curious. Discussing what could potentially happen with John Dutton in the show Josh Lucas (who plays a younger version of the character) suggested that no-one’s future is certain.

He expressed his belief that Taylor Sheridan has "always planned on at some point, having Kevin die and having multiple characters die."

Describing this as “the evolution of what the ranch is”, Josh said that this is “what hopefully people will really like as it goes."

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!