Once upon a time, Yellowstone seemed to have no end in sight.
All of that came crashing down this year amid rumors of unrest on the set due to Kevin Costner’s supposed lack of availability to shoot the back half of Yellowstone Season 5.
In recent months, Paramount Network has canceled the highly-rated series but still intends on filming and airing a final batch of episodes to halt the Dutton family’s present-day drama.
Costner spoke publicly about his departure for the first time during a child support hearing as part of his divorce proceedings from his wife, Christine Baumgartner.
Initial reports earlier this year suggested Costner’s exit was due to his shooting schedule, but the actor claimed he changed his own schedule to film the first part of Yellowstone Season 5.
In turn, it meant he had less focus and time to shoot his four-part movie franchise Horizon.
The actor revealed that he had a “pay or play” clause, which meant he should have received $12 million for filming the second half of the season.
People reports that he was asked in court whether he’d been paid his salary for the episodes that haven’t been filmed.
“I will probably go to court over it.” It was the Season 5 split, he said, according to People, in what he characterized as a “long, hard-fought negotiation” that led to his exit.
Costner also touches upon whether he would have remained with the series for a potential sixth season.
“I’ve been told it’s a little disappointing that [it’s] the #1 show on TV, I’m not participating,” according to People.
“I couldn’t help them anymore. We tried to negotiate, they offered me less money than previous seasons, there were issues with the creative,” he said.
Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan previously opened up about the end of the series and Costner’s departure.
“His movie seems to be a great priority to him, and he wants to shift focus,” Sheridan noted.
“I sure hope [the movie is] worth it — and that it’s a good one.”
While Yellowstone has yet to begin filming the final episodes, there’s no telling whether Costner will actually return for the last hurrah.
Stay in the loop with all things Yellowstone with our Yellowstone Season 5B: Everything We Know.
What are your thoughts on the latest news?
Do you think Costner will return?
Hit the comments below.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.