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Apparently Yellowstone's Kevin Costner Has Bigger Plans For His Upcoming Western Story Than We Thought

John Dutton in diner on Yellowstone
(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Back in 1990, Yellowstone star Kevin Costner, best known at the time for movies like The Untouchables and Field of Dreams, made his directorial debut with Dances with Wolves, which he also starred in. The actor later helmed 1997’s The Postman and 2003’s Open Range, and January brought word that Costner would be returning to the director’s chair for a Western called Horizon. However, now Costner has revealed that he has much bigger plans for this story than we thought that see it not only spread out over multiple installments, but within a pretty short timeframe and likely on the small screen rather than in a theatrical setting.

Horizon is set to go into production at the end of August, and while visiting London to do press for Paramount+’s U.K. launch, Kevin Costner informed Variety that this project, which has been set up at Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, is being “planned as four movies,” and “about every three months, they’ll come out.” The actor, who plays John Dutton in Yellowstone, laid it out as follows:

They’re all different films that all connect, so you’re watching a saga of these storylines that are happening.

Releasing four movies with only three months in between each of them is an ambitious plan. The closest comparison I can think of is when The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were released within six months of each other in 2003. Would audiences be willing to return to a theater ever quarter year to see the next chapter of his sprawling Horizon story, especially if it’s not tied to a major franchise/property? Well, that brings us to the TV aspect, because when asked if the four-part Horizon (which has been in the works since 2016) could lend itself to streaming, Kevin Costner said that the project was sold as “an event television movie,” though he also acknowledged that it’ll be the studio that has final say on how it’s released. Costner continued:

I’m happiest because at one point in TV — where you can get your largest audience — they’re going to get to see it the way I intended it to be seen. It will eventually be cut up into [hour-long episodes] or 42 minutes — however TV works. But their first viewing of it will be as four 2 hour and 45-minute movies. And every three months, one will come out. If you’re interested in those characters, the hope is that you’ll really want to watch the next one, but it won’t be in hour segments.

Horizon will chronicle 15 years of the settlement of the American Western frontier during the pre and post-Civil War period, following both the settlers and the Indigenous people who already lived on the land. Kevin Costner called it a “really beautiful story” that “really involves a lot of women” as they’re trying to survive in these territories that they only came to “because that’s where the men wanted to go.” While the first Horizon movie will shoot in the fall, the next three will shoot altogether starting in April 2023, with the collective production period for all four chapters adding up to roughly eight months. So between that and continuing his Yellowstone run with the upcoming fifth season, Costner isn’t having any trouble keeping his schedule full. 

Assuming the Horizon saga unfolds on the small screen rather than as a series of theatrically-released movies, we’ll  have to wait and see if it airs on conventional TV or ends up on streaming, although since Warner Bros. and New Line have the project, it’s easy enough to see the project being made available to HBO Max subscribers. Until that’s cleared up, scan through our 2022 TV schedule to see what’s airing now and in the near future.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.