Yellowstone’s 6 BTS Problems & Controversies For Season 5 & Beyond Explained

Yellowstone’s 6 BTS Problems & Controversies For Season 5 & Beyond Explained

Yellowstone is one of the biggest shows on TV in recent years, though behind the scenes drama and controversies may damage its final season.
Yellowstone season 5, part 2, is one of the most anticipated television releases of 2024, but behind-the-scenes problems and controversies have plagued the series. Taylor Sheridan’s TV series has far surpassed expectations in its popularity, with various sequels, prequels, and spin-offs underway on Paramount+. The Kevin Costner-led neo-Western series has spawned a legitimate franchise of prestige-quality television, with excellent writing and movie star performances rounding out each hit show. Still, the original series ending on a good note may be essential to the longevity of spin-offs, and it’s not looking very optimistic right now.

After nearly two years since part 1, Yellowstone season 5, part 2 will premiere in November 2024. The series will wrap up John Dutton’s narrative as the head of the Yellowstone Ranch, allowing the franchise to pursue new characters. The 1923 prequel series has continued Taylor Sheridan’s exploration of the Dutton family, while future spin-offs set in the present day may explore different ranches around the United States. There’s no shortage of stories about land and power in America, and that thematic exploration may primarily connect Sheridan’s franchise, along with recurring characters appearing on different shows.

Kevin Costner Isn’t Currently Involved With Yellowstone Season 5
Yellowstone star Kevin Costner departed from the show, sparking most of the issues surrounding season 5.

The primary conflict that could be enormously detrimental to Yellowstone season 5 is Kevin Costner’s absence from the series. Season 5, part 1, was already the worst Yellowstone season to date, and finding a conclusion without John Dutton may make matters worse. The HBO series Succession had a similar plot surrounding a wealthy family patriarch and his imperfect successors, and the patriarch’s death gave room for the final season’s conflicts to take shape. However, an off-screen death for John Dutton might not be as effective, especially given the redundancy.

Costner’s storied exit from Yellowstone has taken shape in the media throughout 2023, as Costner wanted a reduced schedule to film his upcoming two-part Western movie, Horizon. A report from Puck states that Taylor Sheridan is “super happy with how he currently wraps up the show without Costner.” Costner reportedly negotiated a return to Yellowstone, hoping to use its platform to promote his upcoming film, though discussions with Sheridan and Paramount went poorly. Costner’s return will have to be decided soon, as the final season begins shooting in spring 2024.

Costner Has Mentioned A Lawsuit Over His Yellowstone Exit
Kevin Costner expressed disappointment about missing the show and mentioned it might become a legal battle.

In an interview with People, Costner offered his perspective about Yellowstone concluding in his absence, which isn’t pretty. “I’ve been told it’s a little disappointing that [it’s] the #1 show on TV, I’m not participating,” said Costner, adding, “I will probably go to court over it,” regarding the pay he feels he should receive from the show’s final season. Reports say Costner and Paramount had trouble re-negotiating his salary for season 5, part 2, and that he demanded higher pay on a less restrictive schedule to focus on his film. Horizon will be released in the summer of 2024.

The Cole Hauser Lawsuit Explained
Rip Wheeler actor Cole Hauser also has an ongoing conflict with Taylor Sheridan.

Kevin Costner isn’t the only star from Yellowstone with issues surrounding season 5. Cole Hauser, who plays one of Yellowstone’s most likable characters in Rip Wheeler, is being sued by showrunner Taylor Sheridan over the logo of Hauser’s coffee company. Sheridan believes that the logo is identical to his, and it looks like they’ll be engaging in a legal battle over something entirely separate from the TV series. Both used a similar cattle design for their branding, which isn’t surprising given that it’s one of the marquees of their shared show.

It’s a bizarre scenario that certainly won’t help, given Sheridan’s already complicated situation in finishing the show. Aside from John Dutton’s ending, Rip Wheeler’s ending could be affected, as he’s an essential part of the cast leading into season 5, part 2. Assuming he’ll finish the job for Yellowstone, the conflict escalating behind the scenes could impact whether he’ll appear in any of the spin-off and sequel shows. Rip Wheeler is a fan favorite, and his not appearing alongside McConaughey in a spin-off would be a huge missed opportunity.

Yellowstone’s Biggest 3 Stars Are Reportedly In A Pay Dispute
Paramount is struggling to re-negotiate contracts with the show’s leads.

Kevin Costner isn’t the only Yellowstone star having difficulty with his pay for the show. Stars Kelly Reilly and Cole Hauser also seek increased pay per episode going forward, and it’s hard to deny how essential they’ve been to the show’s growing popularity. Paramount already has to pay the Yellowstone cast for the canceled season 6, and further negotiations will apply to any spin-off series in which the stars appear. Kayce Dutton actor Luke Grimes seems to be the only actor confirmed to appear going forward, as the Puck article describes him as “much more mellow on money.”

Matthew McConaughey’s Involvement In Yellowstone’s Future Remains Uncertain
McConaughey won’t sign on for the Yellowstone spin-off until he sees a script.

Matthew McConaughey’s name has been attached to an upcoming Yellowstone spin-off for some time, but he’s still not officially signed on. The Academy Award winner’s commitment would be a massive step for the franchise in the future, giving a bode of confidence for Sheridan’s Western universe. McConaughey reportedly won’t sign on for the series until he’s seen a script, though an official announcement confirming or scrapping his involvement should be made soon. Michelle Pfeiffer is also negotiating to join the sequel, which is currently titled 2024. Her casting could change the shape of the series if McConaughey backs out.

Yellowstone Season 6 Isn’t Happening (But Stars Are Still Being Paid For It)
Even though it’s been canceled, the Yellowstone cast still has to be paid for season 6.

Yellowstone wasn’t initially intended to end after season 5, though Kevin Costner’s departure has led to the cancelation. Since the show’s stars were signed on for more seasons, Paramount now has to pay them for season 6, which won’t happen. The situation has led to much of the conflict surrounding each star’s pay per episode, and Sheridan’s decision to incorporate Yellowstone characters in the spin-off has played into the need to negotiate new contracts. Paramount has offered to pay the cast’s season 6 fees by applying that money to pay increases for the spin-off.

According to the Puck article, the Yellowstone actors have resisted the situation, “arguing that that’s like paying them with their own money.” Sheridan originally had no plans to incorporate the original cast in a spin-off series but decided it could be an excellent way to ease audiences into the new series. Several Yellowstone characters could return in the Matthew McConaughey-led spin-off, including most of the main cast. The Yellowstone franchise’s future is currently in the air, awaiting a resolution to troubled contract negotiations and lawsuits.

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