For well over a year, rumors have spread online about behind the scenes issues between Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan and series star Kevin Costner amid the series coming to a close after five seasons. The second half of its final season is still set to premiere later in 2024, but it will be moving forward without the patriarch of the Dutton family.

“See You at the Movies”

Costner took to social media late Thursday evening to confirm that he would not be returning for the second half of Yellowstone's fifth season, effectively bringing the year-and-a-half long saga of rumored issues to a close.

“I just want to reach out and let you know that after this long year and a half of working on ‘Horizon' and doing all the things that that's required, and thinking about ‘Yellowstone,' that beloved series that I love, that I know you love, I just realized that I'm not going to be able to continue season 5B or into the future,” Costner said in an Instagram video.

Despite leaving the series, Costner still has a busy 2024 ahead of him with the release of the first two films in his new epic Western franchise Horizon: An American Saga. Part One is scheduled to hit theaters on June 28 while Part Two will be released on August 16. Costner has also started work on Part 3 and 4, with production for Part 3 beginning in May 2024 while development is ongoing for Part 4.

Rocky Times for the Duttons

Reports about behind the scenes problems between Sheridan and Costner first emerged in February 2023 following the midseason finale for Yellowstone's final season. It was claimed by multiple outlets the two had a falling out due to the conflicting shooting schedule for Yellowstone's final episodes and the first two Horizon films.

Costner was reportedly spent around 50 days on set for filming the first half of season five and wanted to cut that back even further to only a week for shooting the final six episodes. Paramount attempted to downplay the rumors and released a statement shortly after the initial reports of tension emerged.

Kevin Costner, Yellowstone poster

“We have no news to report,” Paramount said in a February 2023 press release. “Kevin Costner is a big part of ‘Yellowstone,' and we hope that's the case for a long time to come.”

Some members of Yellowstone's cast also tried to shoot down the rumors, with Wes Bentley saying he thought the online discourse was “a bit of drama over nothing.”

Despite these attempts, rumors only persisted online thanks to Paramount giving a Matthew McConaughey-led spin-off the greenlight, the show's cast not appearing at some major media events such as PaleyFest, and production delays for the second half of season five. Things only intensified when court documents from Costner's divorce proceedings where the actor said he was “no longer under contract for ‘Yellowstone'” and he was expected to take a hit financially as a result in 2023.

More court documents released later in the year revealed Costner said the choice to split season five into two parts is what ultimately led to him walking away from the series. He said the proposed schedule didn't line up with production for Horizon, which Costner directed, produced, and co-wrote along with starring in.

Horizon: An American Saga Part One releases in theaters on June 28, 2024.