5 Theories About How Kevin Costner Will Be Written Out of 'Yellowstone'

Feb. 26 2024, Published 5:15 a.m. ET

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'Yellowstone' Creators Kill Off Kevin Costner's Character Off-Screen

Yellowstone will need to kill off Kevin Costner's character, John Dutton III, as he decided to leave the franchise due to his conflicting schedules. While the creators have not shared how they will let go of the Man of the Ranch, viewers started creating theories about it.

One of the theories that has emerged ahead of the potential release date of Season 5 Part 2 of Yellowstone involves the creators killing off John off-screen. Unfortunately, this might leave a bad taste in people's mouths since Costner's character plays a vital role in the series.

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…Or John Dutton's Children Take His Life Instead

Kelly Reilly's Beth and West Bentley's Jamie share a long history of a problematic relationship as siblings. Throughout the five seasons, the pair have exchanged tirades and sabotaged each other.

In his interview with EW, Bentley said his character's next move would be getting rid of his sister.

"When he says, 'It's over, Beth,' and she says, 'No, it's not,' that's his cue. 'Oh, you're gonna try and kill me now.' So my move has to be asking for help killing her. I don't know if he could do it with his own hands. He did kill his own [birth] father, but Beth is closer to him than his father," he said.

Bentley added, "You know, they have a close relationship. Part of the pain and hate between them comes from the loss of that wonderful relationship they had before."

Since Bentley killed his biological father to side with the Dutton family, the character might do the same to John, as he has been wanting to remove him from the office.

'Yellowstone' Finds New Main Characters

kevin costner

Based on the theories, Yellowstone creators could also opt to put the spotlight on other characters to shift people's attention. One of the candidates is Rip, who could be the next leader of Dutton Ranch.

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Kevin Costner's Character Leaves the Ranch

Reilly told Insider she was unsure whether Yellowstone's ending would be a happy one. Thus, the series could use it to ultimately kill John or make him leave the ranch.

She added, "The main theme of protecting and sustaining this way of life in this land is the bottom of everything."

The theory of creating John's absence resonated with the previous idea of making Rip the main character, and it might be the perfect way to make a transition or end the story for good.

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John Dutton's Cancer Returns

Among the theories lurking online, the one that makes the most sense is that John's cancer has returned. He was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent a procedure to have it removed, but in the next season, he thought the dreaded illness was back when he suddenly coughed up blood.

However, the vet said it was because of a ruptured ulcer and immediately cauterized it during an emergency surgery.

Season 5 could grab the chance to change the storyline and make it look like John's cancer came back before writing him off completely.


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