The Remarkable Sum Kevin Costner May Earn in ‘Yellowstone’ Season 5, Part 2

For fans of “Yellowstone,” it might come as no surprise that Kevin Costner, who plays the rugged John Dutton, commanded a hefty salary for his role in the hit drama. With an Oscar to his name, Costner’s involvement in the series didn’t come cheap.

Reports from Puck reveal that for Season 5 of “Yellowstone,” Costner’s contract demanded a whopping $1.2 million per episode, a figure that was poised to increase to $1.5 million with the approval of Season 6. Given the season’s 16 episodes, Costner stood to earn over $16 million, not to mention a comprehensive deal with MTV Entertainment Studios that would extend until 2025, making him a veritable tycoon of the small screen.

However, Costner’s financial windfall has been jeopardized by his ongoing dispute with the show’s creator, Taylor Sheridan, and the Paramount Network. This disagreement has led to Costner bowing out from the latter half of Season 5, and with Season 6 no longer on the table, a significant portion of his potential earnings is at stake. It’s reported that during Season 2, Costner sought to recover promotional fees, a request that Sheridan reportedly was hesitant to honor.

But the intrigue doesn’t end there. Costner’s Season 5 contract includes another clause that could stir the pot as “Yellowstone” resumes its production. A so-called moral death clause restricts how John Dutton can be written off the show, specifically barring any demise that could tarnish the character’s legacy in a demeaning or humiliating manner.

Sheridan has voiced his intention to avoid giving John Dutton a dishonorable exit. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, he expressed his reluctance to abruptly end Dutton’s storyline, referencing his own character’s fate in “Sons of Anarchy” as an example of what he aims to avoid.

Sheridan’s comments suggest a commitment to respecting Dutton’s character arc, leaving fans in suspense about whether Dutton will simply fade away or if Sheridan will navigate this contractual labyrinth to give the character a fitting send-off. As “Yellowstone” navigates these behind-the-scenes dramas, viewers are left to eagerly anticipate the fate of the iconic John Dutton.

UPDATE: The rift between Costner and “Yellowstone’s” visionary, Taylor Sheridan, has seemingly reached a point where Sheridan has opted to pen the climax of this beloved series without the character of John Dutton, casting a shadow over the show’s final chapters. The dispute hints at a complex weave of creative differences and contractual negotiations, leaving fans in suspense about the fate of their cherished rancher.

Adding to the drama, reports have surfaced about “Yellowstone” stars Cole Hauser and Kelly Reilly eyeing significant salary increases, while Sheridan harbors ambitions of casting Matthew McConaughey and Michelle Pfeiffer in a potential spinoff, despite their current hesitations.