Between Yellowstone Being In Production And Kevin Costner Posting BTS Photos From Horizon 3, I'm Fully Convinced He Won't Be Back As John Dutton

 Kevin Costner as John Dutton wearing a cowboy hat and a Yellowstone vest, leaning to his left.
Kevin Costner as John Dutton wearing a cowboy hat and a Yellowstone vest, leaning to his left.

It’s time to face the facts and start thinking about the future when it comes to Kevin Costner and the final episodes of Yellowstone. As of right now, no one has fully confirmed that he won’t be back as John Dutton. However, based on the over-year-long debacle that’s been going on between him and the Western show, as well as the fact that both the actor’s film Horizon 3 and Taylor Sheridan’s drama are in production, I’m officially fully convinced that he won’t be back as John Dutton.

Kevin Costner Is Currently Shooting Horizon 3

While the reality of the situation has seemingly been that Kevin Costner won’t return to Yellowstone due to scheduling and contract conflicts, there was always a sliver of hope. Even the actor said he’d “love” to do it if “it works out.”  However, that sliver has totally disappeared, at least in my view, because on May 30, the Oscar-winner posted this update about the third installment in his Horizon movies:

Costner’s Horizon: An American Saga premiered at Cannes a few weeks ago ahead of its theatrical release on June 28, per the 2024 movie schedule. Part One and Two of this Western saga are both coming out this summer (the second installment will premiere on August 16). Now, the actor/director is back on set filming Part Three.

According to KSL TV, Horizon is filmed in Utah, while Yellowstone shoots in Montana. Also, Costner is notably rocking facial hair that is very un-John Dutton of him. So, all the pieces are coming together to form a message that his character won’t be back, especially considering the state of production for Taylor Sheridan’s show.

Yellowstone Season 5B Is In Production Right Now

About a week before Costner’s update about Horizon 3, this photo was posted to Yellowstone’s Instagram, showing that production for Season 5B is finally ago:

This post came not long after people picked up on a casting call for Yellowstone extras in Montana. Then, not long after that, Cole Hauser posted a photo of a rainbow in Big Sky country, alluding to the idea that the Rip actor is shooting the show with the rest of the Yellowstone cast.

All this is to say, the timing of all this overlaps greatly. And while it’s always possible for Kevin Costner to hop back and forth between productions, it seems incredibly unlikely.

So, All That Plus The Drama Surrounding Costner Tells Me He’s Not Coming Back To Yellowstone

Let’s put all these facts together now. We know Season 5B of Yellowstone will premiere on the 2024 TV schedule in November. We also know that the cast is in Montana right now filming. However, at this moment in time, Kevin Costner is not there, he’s working on Horizon.

How To Watch Yellowstone And More

From left to right: Cole Hauser as Rip, Kevin Costner as John and Luke Grimes as Kayce watching a rode in Yellowstone.
From left to right: Cole Hauser as Rip, Kevin Costner as John and Luke Grimes as Kayce watching a rode in Yellowstone.

You can stream Yellowstone with a Peacock subscription. As for Taylor Sheridan’s other upcoming shows, those will be available with a Paramount+ subscription

When you add in the months of alleged drama surrounding the Field of Dreams star and Taylor Sheridan, the likelihood of John Dutton coming back is slim to none from both a personal and logistical standpoint.

While I’ve been accepting this potential reality for a very long time, these two production updates feel like the final nail in the coffin. However, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We know John Dutton will be back in flashbacks since Josh Lucas confirmed he’s coming back to play the younger version of Costner’s character. Plus, Ryan actor Ian Bohen made a bold claim that the series finale of this drama will “land in a way that is perfectly set.” Remember, there are a lot of storylines in this show, and it’s possible that John Dutton’s absence in the present could make Yellowstone better.

It seems evident at this point that Kevin Costner won’t be back as John Dutton, and I’ll be sincerely surprised if he decides to don the patriarch’s cowboy hat in the final episodes. However, only time will tell, and we’ll know for sure once either the actor, Taylor Sheridan or the show confirms the role John will or won’t play in the final moments of Yellowstone.