"Yellowstone" has been hit by several setbacks, delaying the release of its final episodes.
But it's now been announced that the Paramount Network series is set to return in November 2024.
There's a question mark over whether Kevin Costner will reprise his role as protagonist John Dutton.
After months of speculation, it's official: "Yellowstone" is expected to return to wrap up its fifth and final season in 2024.
The series, cocreated by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, centers on John Dutton (Kevin Costner), an aging rancher who spends his life maintaining and protecting his family's land and legacy in the face of myriad threats.
The first eight episodes of season five began airing on the Paramount Network in late 2022, before the cliffhanger midseason finale dropped on January 1.
Since then, fans of the series have been desperately waiting to find out what happens next — but the show has faced setback after setback.
First, reports of a falling out between Costner and Sheridan emerged in February, suggesting the show would be coming to an end because the two couldn't come to an agreement on shooting schedules.
In May, Paramount announced "Yellowstone" was officially concluding after the second half of the fifth season, which was scheduled to air in the fall. However, the Hollywood writers' strike that began in May, followed by the actors' strike in July, delayed production further.
Now it's been confirmed that the Dutton family saga will officially come to a close next year, with the final episodes slated to begin airing in November 2024.
Here's everything we know about the episodes so far.
Whether or not Costner will return as John Dutton is still up in the air.
It seems inconceivable that the final episodes won't feature Costner, given that he is the show's protagonist, but it appears that could be the case if a new contract is not negotiated.
In June, the 68-year-old actor revealed via court documents related to his recent divorce that he is "no longer under contract" for the drama and wasn't expecting to receive any further monetary compensation from the series apart from "back-end contractual participation rights."
In September, when he took the stand at a child support hearing, the Oscar winner — who in 2022 earned a reported $1.3 million for each episode of the show — said that a "long, hard-fought negotiation" about breaking season five into two parts was behind his exit, as it clashed with plans for his four-part Western saga, "Horizon."
Costner added that he "will probably go to court" over his payout for the second half of season five.
The rest of the main cast are expected to return.
There may be a question mark hovering around Costner's status on the show, but the rest of the cast is likely to return.
That means audiences can expect to see John's business-minded daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly), his adopted lawyer son Jamie (Wes Bentley), and the youngest and most wayward of the siblings, Kayce (Luke Grimes), all back at the ranch.
Alongside them, there is also John's right-hand man, Rip (Cole Hauser), his new girlfriend Summer (Piper Perabo), his daughter-in-law Monica (Kelsey Asbille), and his longstanding adversary Thomas Rainwater (Gil Birmingham).
Lastly, we couldn't forget the ragtag group of ranch hands who make the Dutton ranch what it is: Lloyd (Forrie J. Smith), Ryan (Ian Bohen), Teeter (Jennifer Landon), and Walker (Ryan Bingham).
Taylor Sheridan has hinted that "Yellowstone" will end with John Dutton's demise.
Sheridan said that the "Field of Dreams" star's decision to leave the show "truncates the closure of his character," but added that the character's fate and the ending of the show has been planned since the early days of "Yellowstone."
Even before it was revealed that Costner has a "moral death" clause in his "Yellowstone" contract that prevents his character from dying in a way that would be embarrassing, Sheridan made it clear that John wouldn't be meeting his maker in one particular way.
Sheridan said audiences won't see John die in a conveniently timed car crash, like Patrick Dempsey's character on "Grey's Anatomy," or his own on "Sons of Anarchy."
"I don't do fuck-you car crashes," the "Wind River" director said of the technique often employed by writers as a way to kill off characters amid behind-the-scenes tension.
However, there's now a question of whether John's death will have to occur off-screen if Costner does not return to film scenes.
The second half of season five could be longer than originally announced.
While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the show's final run, Sheridan revealed that the number of episodes is not set in stone, and that should it take more than six episodes to conclude the story, that wouldn't be an issue with Paramount bosses.
"If I think it takes 10 episodes to wrap it up, they'll give me 10," he said. "It'll be as long as it needs to be."
Kelly Reilly has predicted that her character, Beth, will somehow lose Rip.
In a featurette clip that appears on the Blu-ray and DVD release of "Yellowstone" season five, part one, Reilly spoke about where she sees her character's storyline going and cast doubt on Beth and Rip's (Cole Hauser) future together.
"Beth is haunted by her past. She has a lot of regrets and she has a lot of secrets that he doesn't know," Reilly said. "So there is something that is under the surface that will one day, I'm sure, come, and she's probably certain that she will lose him."
Reilly added that Beth feels "immense guilt" over the fact that she will never be able to have biological children with Rip, since her adopted brother Jamie (Wes Bentley) accidentally had a doctor give her a hysterectomy as a teenager, leaving her infertile for the rest of her life.
"She cannot switch that part of herself off," Reilly said, adding that "there's a tremendous sadness in that."
Reilly predicted that this storyline is "coming home to roost," and that Rip discovering this family secret could have dire consequences for not only Jamie but his and Beth's relationship too.
Luke Grimes has said his character Kayce will "step up" in the upcoming episodes.
As John's last surviving legitimate son, Kayce (Luke Grimes) is the obvious choice to inherit the sprawling cattle ranch.
According to Grimes, the fact that John asked Kayce to take over the day-to-day running of Yellowstone in the midseason finale suggests some exciting new developments in the upcoming episodes.
"I think this a huge moment for Kayce," Grimes said. "It's his legacy, and I'm honestly really excited about this chapter for Kayce and Monica, because I think we're going to see a whole different side to them."
"Obviously it's going to put him in a position where he has to take on a lot more than he probably has been comfortable with," he continued. "With what John's got to go do, it's time for Kayce to step up."
Costner said John's decision to step into the world of politics will continue to play out in future episodes.
Costner also spoke about where the storylines are heading following season five's midseason finale.
In a Blu-ray and DVD featurette, Costner said that John's decision to step into the world of politics and become governor of Montana "provides a little bit of drama" that will continue to play out in future episodes.
"He's not a very good politician. He's a one-term politician, admittedly, so that makes him a little bit dicey for people to deal with," Costner said, adding that the career pivot makes sense for his character because John would do anything to preserve his land and his legacy.
"John has proven time and again that there's nothing he won't do to save the ranch even if that means in the twilight of his life, he takes a miserable job that's going to dominate him for four years," the actor said. "He didn't want it to be that way, but that's the way it was."
The conclusion of "Yellowstone" will be bittersweet, according to Reilly.
Reilly also gave her predictions on how the show will end, but emphasized that her predictions are just that, as she doesn't "have any insight into what's going to happen" as Sheridan has not shared scripts with her.
"The main theme of protecting and sustaining this way of life in this land is the bottom of everything," Reilly said in a behind-the-scenes clip. "So I don't know which way it's going to go but we're in season five, and who knows what's in store."
Of the show's conclusion, she said: "Though it will probably be beautiful and epic, I'm not sure it will be happy."
The remaining episodes of "Yellowstone" will begin airing in November 2024.
Paramount has announced that season five, part two, of "Yellowstone" is now slated to air in November 2024, per Variety.
Paramount has also greenlit two spinoff series, "1994" and "2024," both of which will be produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios.
Season five, part two, of "Yellowstone" will air on the Paramount Network, but could also find itself on CBS, given that the network has acquired the rights to run previous seasons of the Montana-set series, and attracted millions of more viewers in the process.
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