The Yellowstone Universe Doesn’t Need Yellowstone Anymore

Co-creator and showrunner Taylor Sheridan may have also been sensing this, as many fans (including Den of Geek in our continued coverage this year) have noticed a specific thematic device used throughout this most recent season. For the majority of the first half of season five, Sheridan has constantly reinforced how this world is not built for old-school, grizzled cowboys like John Dutton anymore. Time and time again we’ve been reminded that the world is changing, and John is just another dinosaur awaiting extinction. There have even been hints that John may succumb to the cancer that was, so far, in remission, which would undoubtedly spell the end of the show in its current form.

As of now, it is all conjecture, as a Paramount Network Spokesperson merely told Deadline “We have no news to report.” The press statement continues to reassure fans that “Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come. Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we are always working on franchise expansions of this incredible world he has built.” 

While nothing is written in stone, there’s a strong argument that this universe can, and certainly will survive with or without the lynchpin that started it all. Recently Paramount confirmed the second season of prequel 1923, and production on the continuation of the 1883 timeline, Bass Reeves is already well into filming. Regardless if Costner continues in this universe, fans can take some solace in the fact Taylor Sheridan is still on board. While that means the universe will certainly be in capable hands, it should still be noted that Sheridan has a lot on his creative plate. One of the busiest creators in television today may have to shift his cards within this franchise a little. The proposed Yellowstone spinoff, 6666, set in Texas, could certainly be the new contemporary flagship.

This is especially true if a talent like native-Texan McConaughey signs on. McConaughey more than proved himself in the critically acclaimed first season of True Detective, and the kind of gritty neo-Western Sheridan can create seems like a perfect fit. Sheridan has been able to attract the likes of Hollywood icons Sam Elliott, Sylvester Stallone, Helen Mirren, Harrison Ford, Nicole Kidman, and Morgan Freeman in his recent television projects, but again, the certainty of McConoghey’s involvement is still pending. While a star of McConaughey’s caliber would undoubtedly fit in the Sheridan catalog of mega-stars, Paramount is holding their cards fairly close, only stating “Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner,” at this time. 

Yellowstone season 5 is set to return summer 2023.

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