According to Sheridan, 53, Costner, 68, was ready to wrap up his time as John Dutton because he wanted to work on his upcoming western epic, Horizon. “My last conversation with Kevin was that he had this passion project he wanted to direct,” Sheridan explained in a cover interview with The Hollywood Reporter published on Wednesday, June 21. “He and the network were arguing about when he could be done with Yellowstone. I said, ‘We can certainly work a schedule toward [his preferred exit date],’ which we did.”
Paramount Network officially announced in May that Yellowstone will end with its fifth season, the first half of which concluded in January. The second batch of episodes was originally set to premiere this summer, but the network now says they’ll start airing in November. The news came after months of speculation about a rift between Sheridan and Costner, who reportedly wanted out of the series.
“My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn’t altered,” Sheridan told THR of the alleged drama. “His creation of John Dutton is symbolic and powerful … and I’ve never had an issue with Kevin that he and I couldn’t work out on the phone.”
Sheridan also explicitly denied a report that he told Costner to “stick to acting,” which allegedly was one of the reasons Costner decided to exit Yellowstone. “I never had that conversation with Kevin,” Sheridan said. “There was a time in season 2 when he was very upset and said the character wasn’t going in the direction he wanted. … Kevin felt season 2 was deviating from that, and I don’t know that he was wrong. In season 3, we steered back into it. And I recall him winning a Golden Globe last year for his performance, so I think it’s working.”
Elsewhere in the story, Sheridan addressed reports that he and Costner clashed over scheduling problems, hinting that the rumors were overblown because of third-party comments.
“Once lawyers get involved, then people don’t get to talk to each other and start saying things that aren’t true and attempt to shift blame based on how the press or public seem to be reacting,” Sheridan said. “[Kevin] took a lot of this on the chin and I don’t know that anyone deserves it. His movie seems to be a great priority to him and he wants to shift focus. I sure hope [the movie is] worth it — and that it’s a good one.”
The first part of Costner’s Horizon saga began filming in August 2022, but he has been trying to get the film made since 1988. Costner has said he wants to make four Horizon movies in total, with the first premiering as soon as this fall. In May, he confirmed that filming was underway on the second movie.
According to THR, “there are ongoing discussions to try to convince” Costner to shoot a few scenes to wrap up his arc as John Dutton, but scripts are not yet complete. (Sheridan told the outlet he is not writing at the moment in solidarity with the ongoing writers strike.)
“I’m disappointed,” Sheridan added of Costner’s exit. “It truncates the closure of his character. It doesn’t alter it, but it truncates it.”
Sheridan went on to hint that John Dutton wouldn’t have survived through Yellowstone‘s end even if Costner had wanted to say on for the duration of the series, but he promised that John’s ultimate fate won’t reflect his off-camera rapport with Costner. “I don’t do f–k-you car crashes,” Sheridan explained. “Whether [Dutton’s fate] inflates [Costner’s] ego or insults is collateral damage that I don’t factor in with regard to storytelling.”
As for the production delays on season 5, Sheridan claimed that he’s not at fault for the conflicts that led to the new episodes getting pushed back. “I don’t dictate the schedule,” he said. “I don’t determine when things start filming. I don’t determine when things air. Those decisions are made by people way above me. My sphere of control is the content — that’s it. No production of mine has ever waited on me.”