Matthew McConaughey touted for Yellowstone spin-off amid Kevin Costner dispute

Paramount issued a statement saying ‘‘Costner is a big part of <i>Yellowstone</i> and we hope that's the case for a long time to come’’.

Paramount issued a statement saying ‘‘Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that's the case for a long time to come’’.

As award-winning succession drama Yellowstone enters its fifth season, there’s some wrangling on the ranch over the future of the original show and its lead cowboy, Kevin Costner.

In a Deadline report that sent shockwaves through the Yellowstone fanbase, co-creator Taylor Sheridan said he would love to “partner” with A-lister and Texas local Matthew McConaughey for a spin-off series.

Along with Paramount, they want to end the record-breaking show in its current form, “plotting a potential franchise extension” to move forward the core storyline of the Dutton family sagas.

“A shocking turn of events. The end of a remarkable era that kick-started lots of non-woke TV options,” wrote one fan.

With a show that brought in 12 million viewers for the Paramount Network for the first episode of Season 5 – with the biggest 18 to 49-year-old demographic – why change the status quo?

Matthew McConaughey could feature in a Yellowstone spin-off. Photo: Getty

It seems Costner, who won best TV actor playing the Montana ranch patriarch John Dutton at the Golden Globes in January, reportedly has some work-life balance issues to address.

“The crux of the issue with the original Yellowstone series involves star Kevin Costner and disagreements over shooting schedules,” Deadline wrote.

Paramount was more diplomatic, and vague.

“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,” it said.

“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.”

‘A source of frustration’

Yellowstone, which premiered in 2018, is a high-stakes western drama that follows the conflicts centred around the shared borders of the largest US cattle ranch, the Broken Rock Indian reservation, Yellowstone National Park and a bunch of unscrupulous real estate developers.

The first part of the fifth season premiered on November 13, with the second part premiering later this year.

And this is where it gets tricky.

Deadline reported that Costner, who had originally limited himself to 65 days of shooting, only wanted to shoot for 50 days for the first part of the current season.

“But for the second batch of episodes of the current … season [Costner] only wanted to spend a week shooting.”


He’s producing, writing, directing and starring in his own western epic Horizon over at Warner Bros Pictures and it’s currently filming.

“This has been a source of frustration for Sheridan and it is understood to be causing morale problems for the other stars of the show,” sources told the entertainment industry website.

“We are told Paramount Network has declined Costner’s most recent proposal and instead has made the decision to move on to the other show.

“It would be ironic that the thing that likely will pry loose the character from his beloved spread is the actor playing him, and an inability to come to agreement on time commitment,” adds Deadline.

“What all parties are now wrangling is a Yellowstone franchise extension that Sheridan will write with McConaughey as the star.”

The Oscar-winning True Detective star, who is in post-production for an animated superhero series Agent Elvis (which he voices) is reportedly “currently in negotiations”.

Strong connections

Some fans reckon they will switch off if Costner is no longer at the centre of the feuds, fights, shootouts and fast riding, but McConaughey is a huge fan of the show.

He has attended Yellowstone parties and has connections with cast members, including Michaela Conlin, who plays Sarah Nguyen.

She appeared in McConaughey’s legal drama The Lincoln Lawyer in 2011 as Detective Sobel.

Wes Bentley, who plays Dutton’s adopted son Jamie, was with McConaughey in 2014’s Interstellar.

And Cole Hauser, who plays ranch foreman Rip Wheeler, goes way back with the A-lister in 1993’s Dazed and Confused.

Prequels, sequels and spin-offs

Both 1883 and 1923, starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, were well-received prequels, retracing the earlier generations of the Dutton family.

1883 – starring Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Sam Elliott – premiered in 2021 and was the set-up series that begins after the American Civil War when the Duttons head north from Texas and settle in Montana.

Set a century earlier during pandemics, a historic drought and the end of Prohibition and the Great Depression, the frontier Duttons in 1923 are played by patriarch Jacob (Ford) and matriarch Cara (Mirren).

Also on the drawing board are two separate limited series that encompass the struggle to hang onto the ranch in the 1940s and the 1960s.

The very busy Sheridan is also working on Bass Reeves, about the first black deputy US marshal and 6666, about the Four Sixes Ranch in Texas, where fans would have seen Jefferson White’s ranch-hand Jimmy Hurdstrom learn to be a real cowboy.

It means Paramount isn’t as dependent on the original Yellowstone as was the case two years ago.

What is being reported is that Yellowstone will introduce McConaughey’s character towards the final of this end-game series, with a “spectacular conclusion”.

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