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After Yellowstone's Josh Lucas Talked About Returning As Young John Dutton, I Have A Theory About How The Character Can Still Play A Big Role, Even If Kevin Costner Isn't There

 Josh Lucas as young John Dutton talking to Jamie on Yellowstone.
Josh Lucas as young John Dutton talking to Jamie on Yellowstone.

As we inch closer to the final episodes of Yellowstone premiering on the 2024 TV schedule, there’s still a big pessimistic question mark surrounding Kevin Costner and whether he’ll return as John Dutton. However, an optimistic light has started shining around the character, because Josh Lucas expects to return for the series' final episodes as the younger version of the ranch’s patriarch. So, with that in mind, I have a theory about how Kayce, Beth and Jamie’s dad could still play a big role in Taylor Sheridan’s Western, even if Costner doesn’t come back.

What Josh Lucas Said About Returning To Yellowstone

Telling Stars SiriusXM 109 how much he loves working on Yellowstone and shooting in Montana in “nature at its highest level,” Josh Lucas reiterated his comments about wanting to return to the Dutton ranch to play the younger version of John, saying:

Because of that, I texted him and said, ‘You know, I really just wanna thank you for the experience,’ because I sort of had assumed it was over with based on, you know, what I think we're all hearing and assuming and he said, ‘No, we're gonna go back and we're gonna finish and we're gonna definitely rely on some flashbacks to tell the story,’ so I sure hope so.

Obviously, Lucas is hopeful that he’ll be back with the Yellowstone cast, and I really hope he’s in the final episodes too. Even if rumors prove to be true, and Kevin Costner doesn’t come back, John Dutton can still impact the show, and I have a theory about how flashbacks and Lucas can do exactly that.

Even If Kevin Costner Isn’t In Yellowstone, I Have A Theory About How Josh Lucas And John Dutton Can Play A Massive Role

A popular theory surrounding how Kevin Costner could be written off stems from John Dutton thinking his colon cancer had returned in Season 1 of Yellowstone. Many think it would be logical to have the character die because of it, as it pulls from an already existing story arc and would be a meaningful way for the character to go. It would leave the door open for the kids to duke it out in terms of who will become the successor of the ranch, and it would set up an epic set of episodes to end Yellowstone.

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Josh Lucas as the young version of John Dutton on Yellowstone.
Josh Lucas as the young version of John Dutton on Yellowstone.

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I’m a big fan of this theory, and I would not be shocked at all if it’s how Costner’s character exits the show. Building off of it, I think Josh Lucas and young John Dutton could come in through flashbacks to help us piece together the puzzle of who is the rightful heir of the Yellowstone.

Think about it, we’ve gotten vital pieces of the story through flashbacks. It’s how they helped audiences realize the depth of Beth and Rip’s relationship. It’s how we found out about the origins of Jamie and Beth’s feud. Plus, it’s given us insight into the ups and downs of John Dutton’s time running the ranch.

Yellowstone relies heavily on flashbacks, and if John is gone and the kids are fighting it out in the present, flashing back to his relationships with them when they were younger would add a lot of meaning and context to why they’re acting the way they are now.

For example, we know Kayce and John have a turbulent past, and seeing some of those scenes play out through Lucas and a younger version of Luke Grimes’ character could really pack a punch when it comes to how he’s acting in the present. The same can be said for Beth and Rip. We’ve seen them in flashbacks frequently, and having a better understanding of their relationship with John as they grew up, would make what’s motivating them in the current day all the more meaningful.

Flashbacks are powerful, and even if Kevin Costner isn’t playing John Dutton in Season 5, I’m convinced his character will still have a massive role in the show’s past and present.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see a whole lot of Josh Lucas in the final episodes of Yellowstone when it returns toward the end of the year. Clearly, he wants to come back, and I think it’d be a great move, especially if Costner isn’t returning and the story goes in a direction that shows the kids figuring out who will succeed their father as the boss of the Dutton Ranch.

To see Josh Lucas and Kevin Costner as John Dutton in the first five seasons of Yellowstone, you can stream it with a Peacock subscription.