After months of speculation, Matthew McConaughey has finally been confirmed for his own Yellowstone spinoff series. According to Paramount Media Networks head Chris McCarthy, the McConaughey-led extension will move forward regardless of whether Yellowstone star Kevin Costner returns to the main series. McCarthy shared the news in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where he also dropped that he’s currently working on close to a dozen (!) projects with creator Taylor Sheridan.
The drama all started when Yellowstone Season Five took a hiatus before the new year, setting up conflict for a potential Dutton family showdown. Little did we know, a Dutton family standoff was happening in the real world. Costner and Sheridan were allegedly feuding behind the scenes about demanding shooting schedules, and rumors began circulating that it was possible Costner would not return. Yellowstone Season Five still remains unfinished, and there’s been no word about filming anytime soon. “Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come,” Paramount originally announced in a statement back in February. “Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we are always working on franchise expansions of this incredible world he has built.”
Meanwhile, Paramount+ is having a grand ol’ time with its Yellowstone spinoff shows, including 1883 and 1923. Airing only on the Paramount+ streaming service, these shows bring in subscribers while Yellowstone‘s streaming rights are still owned by Peacock. That’s why you can’t watch Yellowstone on Paramount+. So, if you’re a Paramount exec., it’s smart to pursue a McConaughey spinoff while the actual Yellowstone series sits on the back-burner. According to fan reactions from Season Five, no one seems to have a problem with just moving on to something new. Still, Paramount wants Kevin Costner to at least come back and finish it out in some way.
At an event in Los Angeles last week, Keith Cox, president of development and production at Paramount Network, stated that the network is “very confident [Costner]’s going to continue with our show.” That’s good news for Duttonheads, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Costner skipped a planned appearance at that same event, as did Sheridan and most of the leading cast. While the Dutton family sorts that mess out, at least we have dreams of McConaughey on the Yellowstone ranch to keep our minds busy.
Josh Rosenberg is an Assistant Editor at Esquire, keeping a steady diet of one movie a day. His past work can be found at Spin, CBR, and on his personal blog at Roseandblog.com.