As Rumors Swirl Kevin Costner May Leave Yellowstone, Wes Bentley Gets Candid About Whether The Show Could Work Without Him

Jamie yelling and pointing gun at Garrett on Yellowstone
(Image credit: Paramount Network)

As Yellowstone fans wait for Season 5 to resume this summer, the rumor mill has taken a nasty turn in regard to its star Kevin Costner. While we once couldn’t have imagined the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch without its patriarch John (even with that terminal cancer fakeout), we’re now forced to consider the possibility, now that chaos has reportedly been rumbling, and many think it could lead to Costner’s exit from the franchise. The scenario might not be as shocking for Wes Bentley, who plays John’s son Jamie on the Paramount drama. This is because he’s apparently considered several scenarios surrounding their characters, and he got candid about whether or not Yellowstone could work without its main cowboy.

Character death is nothing new to the neo-Western drama, but for as often as Rip has to drive people to the “train station,” the primary Dutton family members have remained largely unscathed. However, the midseason finale had Beth (Kelly Reilly) and her dad plotting against Jamie, while the adopted son was making possibly fatal plans of his own with Sarah Atwood (Dawn Oliveri). So, it seems almost impossible at this point that everyone makes it out alive. Wes Bentley admitted that he’s considered the effect that John’s potential death would have on his character, telling TVLine

I thought about this in season one because it's always a possibility in TV, right? We're always ready to die. [And John] really has got this hypnotic pull on Jamie.

For most of the series, Jamie Dutton has seemed willing to do anything to earn his father’s approval, but — especially with Beth in John’s ear — he could never quite earn the respect he yearned for. That relationship has evolved over the seasons, and while “Jamie would have been completely lost,” Wes Bentley said, if Kevin Costner’s character was killed off earlier in the series, a lot is different now. Bentley continued: 

After John ran for governor and became the thing he said he hated, Jamie started to have a change of perspective. Maybe John is not this tough guy he says he is. Maybe John doesn’t have ideas. Maybe he’s just another guy like the rest of them. That’s the loss of the pedestal [he was on]. The deity is gone. I think that’s why Jamie’s choosing to try to have him killed. [He realizes that his] life would be much better without him, which is a big change for Jamie.

John losing his adopted son’s respect is definitely a twist I didn’t see coming, and since Jamie has proven that he’s not afraid to off even his blood-related family, that’s definitely a point of concern for Kevin Costner’s character.

The behind-the-scenes strife with Kevin Costner appears to have started when the Golden Globe winner allegedly asked to film for just one week for the back half of Season 5 (after shooting took place over 50 days in the first half). He reportedly asked about this in order to fulfill his commitment to the Western epic Horizon. While executives reportedly declined the request, it’s thought that enough contention was created to justify cutting ties altogether. 

The rumors also came at the same time it was reported that Matthew McConaughey is in talks for a Yellowstone spinoff of his own, and now we’re wondering if there will be a new face to the franchise. 

As we wait to hear more confirmation about any of the above rumors, check out other upcoming Yellowstone projects that are on the way, and keep an eye on the 2023 TV schedule for all of the upcoming premieres. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.