It's Complicated

Is Yellowstone Season 6 Happening? There’s Good News & Bad News, Fans

Show creator Taylor Sheridan spills some important tea.

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Yellowstone season six release

Scoot over, Bachelor franchise; Yellowstone is now the face of American cable TV. There's more than enough drama (and unresolved issues) to go around at Dutton Ranch and the neighboring town. Couple that with the breathtaking vistas of Montana, and you've got yourself a hit show. A horse galloping across the plains with Kevin Costner dressed as a rancher in the saddle may also have something to do with it, but that's neither here nor there. Now that fans have sped through Season 5’s first half, many are wondering how long they'll have to wait for Yellowstone Season 6. More importantly, will there even be a Season 6?

With each new installment, the Western drama series has continued to surpass its ratings records — Season 4 saw an increase of 2.3 million views from premiere to finale. According to Collider, Yellowstone is officially the most-watched cable TV series since the Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead. But are you surprised? You may very well be one of the millions who put their kids to bed, pour yourself a "double Tito's" martini a la Beth Dutton, and curl up for some good old-fashioned family drama (with a side of the scene American West).

Promising update: Season 5 is poised to kick last season's numbers out of the water. Could that translate into Paramount Network giving Yellowstone the green light for another year? Let's get into everything people are saying about Season 6.

Is Yellowstone Season 6 even happening?

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Paramount finally confirmed in May that Yellowstone will end with the second half of Season 5. Silver lining: The Dutton story will pick up where Yellowstone leaves off with a new, as-of-yet-untitled sequel.

"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 & CEO Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios, said in a statement.

Of course, we’ve gotta address the elephant in the room. Rumors abound that the ending of the series could be Kevin Costner’s “fault.” According to Deadline, Costner and Yellowstone have butted heads about scheduling issues.

So, will Costner appear in the final episodes of Season 5?

It’s not looking good. Costner reportedly decided to walk away from Yellowstone earlier this year to focus on his own epic Western project: the four-movie saga Horizon that the veteran actor is directing, co-writing, and starring in.

Although the rumor mill describes growing tension between Costner and co-creator, director, and writer Taylor Sheridan over Costner’s lack of availability for shooting Yellowstone, some sources contend that Costner was ready and willing to film — but the scripts for the final season weren’t. (Sheridan disputes this idea.)

Regardless, Costner will not appear in the final half of Yellowstone’s final season as of right now. While Sheridan insists his “opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn’t altered,” he told THR in a new interview that he’s “disappointed.”

“It truncates the closure of his character,” he said. “It doesn’t alter it, but it truncates it.”

When will the next installment premiere?

Since the series is ending with Season 5, there will be no Season 6 release date. However, the new sequel is set to debut in December 2023 (so, the month after the second half of Season 5 premieres).

Are there any new sequel details yet?

There’s a lot of chatter about the potential of Matthew McConaughey being attached to the new sequel. However, with so many Yellowstone spinoffs already in the works — Season 2 of 1923, additional episodes of 1883, 6666, the December sequel — it’s unclear which project McConaughey may be signed on for.

Still, reports put the Oscar winner in late-stage negotiations for a “new chapter” in the Yellowstone saga. Sheridan’s own comments to THR seem to hint as much: “He seems like a natural fit,” Sheridan told the outlet. “We had a few conversations over the years and spitballed a few ideas. Then he started watching Yellowstone and responded to it. He was like, ‘I want to do that.’ And by ‘that’ he meant diving into a raw world clashing up against the modern world. And then I said, ‘Buddy, that we can do.’”

Whether that means McConaughey is the lead of the December spinoff remains to be seen. What we do know about the spinoff is that it will have Yellowstone in the title, and it will likely have an entirely new cast and location. (“My idea of a spinoff is the same as my idea of a prequel — read into that what you will,” said Sheridan.)

Why will Season 5 really be the last of Yellowstone?

The series' fate ultimately rests in the hands of Sheridan. (Fun fact: He plays hotshot cowboy Travis Wheatley in Yellowstone and played Charlie Goodnight in the 1883 spinoff, which he also wrote). And according to Sheridan, he’s known for a while that the end is in sight.

"I know how the series ends, and you have to move in a straight line toward that end. You can't walk in circles, waiting to get there, because the show will stagnate," Sheridan told Deadline in 2020. "So, you have to keep moving forward, and there have to be consequences in the world, and there has to be an evolution toward a conclusion."

He continued, "I don't see this as a procedural show. So, it's not something that we could extend indefinitely. I don't think anyone would want to do that; you'd cheapen the product. I haven't had that conversation with the network or the studio yet. I'm sure it's coming, but I would think that you would want this to end on an upswing as opposed to a plateau or a descent."

Nothing is guaranteed, per Sheridan, who said in a New York Times interview that he's "writing to that ending” — sure from the beginning that Yellowstone would never see a Season 9.

"There's only so much hovering one can do before the story starts to lose its locomotion; you can't put it in neutral just because it's successful," he explained. "It will go as many years as it takes for me to tell the story, but you're not going to see nine seasons of it. No way."

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