Yellowstone: Kevin Costner Says He's No Longer Under Contract for Hit Series

The situation around the remaining episodes of Yellowstone's fifth season may have just gotten a bit more complicated. According to series star Kevin Costner, he is no longer under contract for the Paramount Network series, making his future with the drama uncertain. According to Insider, the actor stated in court documents related to his divorce from second wife Christine Baumgartner that he is not expecting money from work on the series this year other than "back-end contractual participation rights."

"I will earn substantially less in 2023 than I did in 2022. This is because I am no longer under contract for Yellowstone, the principal source of my income last year," the document reads. "Now, any compensation I earn from Yellowstone will derive only from my back-end contractual participation rights, which amounts are not fixed."

"The most recent report from the producer for Yellowstone shows I am not now owed any participation money," the statement continued.

The saga of Season 5 of Yellowstone has been almost as dramatic as the series itself. The season went on what was essentially a midseason hiatus back in January and, at the time, Paramount Network announced that the series would return for the back half of the season in Summer 2023. However, reports soon began surfacing that work on those episodes hadn't even begun, casting doubt on that return timeframe and then further reports indicated that Costner was exiting the series after Season 5. It was later announced that Yellowstone would officially end with Season 5, with a sequel series on the way.

"Yellowstone has been the cornerstone on which we have launched an entire universe of global hits – from 1883 to Tulsa King, and I am confident our Yellowstone sequel will be another big hit, thanks to the brilliant creative mind of Taylor Sheridan and our incredible casts who bring these shows to life," Chris McCarthy, President and CEO Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios said in a statement.

Yellowstone Creator Taylor Sheridan Says Kevin Costner's Exit "Truncates" John Dutton's Ending

It's currently unclear how this latest update about Costner's time on Yellowstone impacts things, but series creator Taylor Sheridan has previously said that the actor's general exit from the series doesn't change John Dutton's arc, though it does shorten things.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Sheridan explained that while he's disappointed with how things have worked out, the closure of the John Dutton character is unchanged — and it's not going to behind-the-scenes tension fueled "f-ck you car crash" sort of ending, either.

"I'm disappointed," Sheridan said. "It truncates the closure of his character. It doesn't alter it, but it truncates it."

He continued, "I don't do f-ck you car crashes. Whether [Dutton's] fate inflates [Costner's] ego or insults is collateral damage that I don't factor in with regard to storytelling."

He also said that his opinion of Costner as an actor hasn't c hanged — and he hopes that Costner's movie, Horizon, that he's reportedly leaving Yellowstone to pursue, is both worthwhile and good.

"My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn't altered," Sheridan said. "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. But 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. He 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."

What's Going on With Season 5 of Yellowstone?

Currently, Season 5 of Yellowstone is not yet complete. The back half of the season was initially announced to air sometime this summer, but production on new episodes has not yet started. However, series star Luke Grimes, who plays Kayce Dutton, recently said that fans can expect the remaining episodes to focus on many of the series' core themes of love and family.

"Love and family and serve your tribe, your people — that's a huge theme in the show," Grimes said. "With Kacey, he has a hard time choosing his relationship with his father versus his relationship with his wife and son. I think it's because it all really matters and it matters to all of the characters."

He went on to explain that it's within those themes where all the "juicy drama" is.

"That's sort of where you get all of this really juicy drama, is that everyone is sort of fighting for their team," he said. "There's no right team or wrong team, it's just a bunch of people trying to figure out how to do what's best for their own."