Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone Return Wouldn’t Work As A Season 5 Cameo


  • Having Kevin Costner return to Yellowstone for just a cameo would be a major mistake considering his importance to the show’s storylines.
  • Bringing Costner back would set a dangerous precedent and risk overshadowing the ensemble cast of beloved characters in the series.
  • It would be more satisfying to handle John Dutton’s death off-screen rather than have Costner return briefly and then disappear.

After driving the hit modern western drama Yellowstone for 4.5 seasons, it would be a mistake to bring back Kevin Costner’s John Dutton for a simple cameo as opposed to a full-time return. Yellowstone season 5 part 2 has gone through several updates following Costner’s now-infamous exit from the show, but with reports that he may be open to returning, speculation now revolves around the nature of his return. Despite his interest in a return, it seems unlikely that Costner would return as John Dutton for a full half-season, calling into question how best to handle the character’s all-but-certain death.

With the biggest obstacle to Kevin Costner’s return to the show seemingly eliminated, a decision will need to be made about whether to proceed with the series’ plan to continue without Costner or to integrate him somehow. As important as his character has been to the show, his death will be a driving factor in how the final half-season unfolds. Given that importance, it would be a major mistake to have Costner appear for only a cameo, or even a brief death scene.

Kevin Costner Should Have A Main Role In Yellowstone’s Ending Or Not Appear At All

There is no satisfying middle ground for the show’s conclusion.

Costner’s sudden exit from Yellowstone caused an incredible challenge for Taylor Sheridan and the show’s writers, because Costner’s John Dutton was involved in many of the show’s major story lines. Without John involved, it would be incredibly difficult to close out some of the stories satisfyingly. Taylor Sheridan’s new plan for Yellowstone could provide a clever way out, but it won’t be the same as Costner returning to finish the show.

Costner needs to provide a full season’s worth of work, or they should stick with an off-screen death. Having the legendary movie star return for a mere cameo, or perhaps one scene in which he dies, would be more disappointing than him not returning at all. It almost locks the narrative into addressing John Dutton, which could wind up a disservice to the other stories and characters that revolve around the character.

While a precise date has yet to be announced,
season 5 part 2 is expected to return in November 2024, a full year after it was originally supposed to air.

Bringing Costner back would also set a dangerous precedent for Taylor Sheridan and his ever-expanding slate of shows. While it might satisfy some, Costner’s return would risk a much bigger cast problem. In reality, Costner returning would be admitting that the show won’t work without him, which at this point simply isn’t true. The network of spin-offs from Yellowstone proves that it was never about Costner; it’s always been about the quality western drama and expansive cast of beloved characters.

A Kevin Costner Cameo Would Be Confusing For Yellowstone Season 5

Costner only committing to a scene or two would only yield distracting questions.

John Dutton and Summer standing in a field in Yellowstone season 5 episode 8

A Kevin Costner cameo or one-off scene might be the worst-case scenario for season 5, part 2 of Yellowstone. As opposed to dismissing his character with an off-screen death, a cameo can only result in questions that would distract from the overall story. If the problems were resolved enough for Costner to return for a cameo, why could he or would he not return for more? If Costner has reconciled enough to return, is it possible the show continues past season 5?

It’s not worth messing up what could otherwise be a good path forward to get Costner back briefly. As integral as John Dutton was to the series’ origin, it’s become exceedingly clear over the last two seasons that the biggest appeal is no longer Kevin Costner; it’s the ensemble cast of now-beloved characters that surround him. It would be a mistake to have those characters’ story arc suffer in any way just to accommodate an all-too-brief Kevin Costner return.

John Dutton’s Death Works Better Without Kevin Costner

An off-screen death would be more satisfying than a brief return and then disappearance.

It seems like a foregone conclusion that John Dutton will die in some way, and given that Costner reportedly has a “moral death” clause in his contract, it seems like a violent end is the likely solution. It would align with the character’s story, and the history of the Dutton family in general. If that’s how it’s going to happen, an off-screen death is easily a better option than a one-scene return so that Dutton can be killed on-screen. An off-screen death would allow for the show to focus entirely on how the main characters, specifically John Dutton’s children, react.

Having John be killed off-screen would allow for season 5, part 2 to focus almost exclusively on if and how the rest of the characters seek vengeance for John’s death. While the mid-season break saw most of the characters departing on different paths, something as simple as a time jump could be used to derail those plans and pivot to a unified story that focuses on John’s death and the consequences for his children and ranchers. Simply put, the final season of Yellowstone simply doesn’t need John Dutton.

Yellowstone Poster


Yellowstone stars Kevin Costner and centers on his character John Dutton. Dutton and his family live on a cattle ranch just a few hours away from Yellowstone National Park. The series chronicles the family’s struggle to defend their home from an Indian reservation and land developers. As if their life wasn’t complicated enough, the Duttons also have medical issues, political aspirations, and family secrets stacked against them.

Finn Little , Brecken Merrill , Gil Birmingham , Denim Richards , Ian Bohen , Danny Huston , Kelly Reilly , Forrie J. Smith , Cole Hauser , Kelsey Asbille , Wes Bentley , Jefferson White , Kevin Costner , Luke Grimes , Ryan Bingham

Release Date
June 20, 2018



Taylor Sheridan , John Linson

Taylor Sheridan

Taylor Sheridan , John Linson