Lucas, 51, plays the young version of Costner’s John Dutton on the Paramount Network series, which is currently in its fifth season. The Sweet Home Alabama actor stepped in to represent the show at L.A.’s PaleyFest on Saturday, April 1, when Costner, 68, creator Taylor Sheridan and the rest of the lead cast dropped out last-minute.
“Taylor has become and Kevin has become John Dutton and John Dutton is as filled with Taylor Sheridan as it is with Kevin Costner. And so for me it’s finding those connective tissues,” Lucas exclusively told Us Weekly while walking the red carpet. “So the audience sees that, and it’d be very easy to dismiss anyone playing John Dutton except for Kevin Costner.”
He added: “[There’s] the responsibility of a huge movie star and a brilliant writer who are putting a lot of crazy love and pressure on each other and the show to make something that people love. There’s a reason why people love it.”
Costner and Sheridan, 52, were initially set to attend the panel and special screening alongside executive producer David Glasser and cast members Kelly Reilly, Cole Hauser, Luke Grimes, Kelsey Asbille, Wes Bentley, Gil Birmingham and Jacki Weaver. Lucas and fellow castmates Wendy Moniz, Mo Brings Plenty and Dawn Olivieri replaced them. Press wasn’t notified until they received a new tip sheet less than an hour after the red carpet began.
The “scheduling conflict” switch-up came nearly two months after Deadline reported that Paramount Network may shift to a spinoff starring Matthew McConaughey amid scheduling disagreements with Costner.
“We have no news to report. Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come,” a spokesperson for the series said at the time. “Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we are always working on franchise expansions of this incredible world he has built. Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner.” (McConaughey’s show was officially announced earlier on Saturday.)
Yellowstone’s part 2 of season 5 is set to be released this summer. However, the cast told Us at PaleyFest that they’re not in production just yet.
“We haven’t started, no. We know he is writing and we’re looking forward to getting back,” Moniz, 54, told Us. “I’m along for this ride for as long as it goes. That’s what I can tell you. It’s just been a dream job.”
Yellowstone’s spinoffs include 1883, 1923, 6666 and McConaughey’s untitled project.
She added of Sheridan’s shows: “He doesn’t miss. They’re all gorgeous and beautifully written and they look amazing. … You don’t think you can go wrong being on any of his shows, any of his spinoffs.”
Plenty, 53, meanwhile, teased to be “prepared for something exciting and a wild ride” in the upcoming episodes.
Despite the behind-the-scenes drama, Olivieri, 42, doesn’t think that “there has to be an end” to Yellowstone any time soon.
“I think that Taylor is wise enough to flip it in a way that he’s been able to hold the attention of this monument, monstrous viewership for this long and even add to it. I don’t think he’s losing his steam anytime soon,” she told Us on Saturday. “And it’ll be cool to see how he does it because he’ll do it. Yeah. Why would you let this ball drop? There’s no reason. Exactly. F–k it. Keep going.”