Matthew McConaughey in cowboy hat
Credit: Getty Images

It’s happening! We finally have confirmation that the Matthew McConaughey Yellowstone extension is a go. So, what does the news mean for Kevin Costner and the state of Yellowstone as we know it? Read on for more details.

Yellowstone is Paramount’s popular Western drama that follows the Dutton family as they fight to protect the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in Montana. The series premiered in 2018 and spotlights John Dutton III, the six-generation patriarch played by Kevin Costner, who’s been a mainstay on the show since its debut. The main cast consists of Costner, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Luke Grimes, Cole Hauser, Gil Birmingham, Kelsey Asbille and more. Yellowstone already has three spin-offs: 1883 and 1923 (on Paramount Plus) and 6666 (which is still in development).

Like the drama that consumes the show, Yellowstone has been dealing with its own behind-the-scenes issues that allegedly concern Costner and his filming schedule. The problems might even delay the release of Yellowstone season 5, part 2, which was initially slated to drop this summer — or cause the entire second part to be scrapped altogether. In April 2023, the Yellowstone cast who attended PaleyFest confirmed that the second half of season 5 “has not yet started filming and they have not been given a start date,” according to Variety, leaving season 5, part 2 of Yellowstone in limbo.

Now that a McConaughey spin-off is officially happening, here’s everything we know about Matthew McConaughey joining the Yellowstone franchise and Kevin Costner’s status amid rumors of his exit.

Is Matthew McConaughey joining Yellowstone?

Matthew McConaughey signs Jack Ingrams cowboy hat

Is Matthew McConaughey joining Yellowstone? The answer is yes! Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of Paramount Media Networks, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on March 28, 2023, that the McConaughey Yellowstone spin-off is happening. McCarthy told the publication that McConaughey is lined up to star in a Yellowstone extension, which will “move forward regardless of whether Costner returns to the original.”

Initial reports about McConaughey’s involvement in a Yellowstone extension were first reported by Deadline in February 2023. At the time, McConaughey was in talks to star in the franchise expansion. “Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner,” a Paramount Network spokesperson told Deadline. It’s also reported that some of the Yellowstone cast will move over to the McConaughey spin-off, although it’s still unclear who that will be.

A few members of Yellowstone have already reacted to the McConaughey news, including Josh Lucas, who plays the younger version of John Dutton. He told Entertainment Tonight at the PaleyFest in April 2023 that “I’m sure he [Taylor Sheridan] has great ideas for how these characters merge together,” Lucas said of Sheridan’s plans. “Part of it is the mystery of the mind of that creator…bring it on.” Lucas also added that he’s amazed by how much of Sheridan’s own life is reflected in the show. “I’m always so fascinated to see what Taylor [Sheridan] is doing as he tells the story,” he explained. “The thing that moves me or surprises me most is that every time I think something is too crazy or too fantastical, it turns out it’s based on a true story from Taylor’s life or from something that is very close to the cowboys that all of this story is about.”

Dawn Olivieri, who plays Yellowstone newcomer Sarah and Claire Dutton in the Yellowstone prequel 1883, was also at PaleyFest alongside Lucas. She spoke with The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet about the news. “The names will change, hotness factors will shift, Matthew McConaugheys will appear, it’ll just be whatever it needs to be,” she told our sister site.

Is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone for good?

"Yellowstone," Kevin Costner

Is Kevin Costner leaving Yellowstone for good? Truthfully, we’re not sure, but Costner could very well be leaving the show after (or even before) season 5 is finished. McCarthy said the McConaughey show “will move forward regardless of whether Costner returns to the original.” If Costner does decide to stay, it’s unknown whether he’ll play a role in the new spin-off or will continue with the show in its current form.

Sources first told Variety in February 2023 that Costner had alleged scheduling conflicts while filming the second half of season 5, which could cause the actor to potentially leave the series. Meanwhile, Costner’s lawyer, Marty Singer, told Puck.News in February 2023 that reports that “Kevin was only willing to work one week on the second half of Season 5 of Yellowstone is an absolute lie.” Singer also called the allegations “ridiculous — and anyone suggesting it shouldn’t be believed for one second.”

A spokesperson from Paramount also told Deadline in February 2023 that they hope Costner will be a part of the show moving forward. “We have no news to report. Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come,” they said. Paramount head McCarthy also told The Hollywood Reporter that the show “wouldn’t be what it is today without Kevin and we hope that that stays for a long time to come.” As of now, there is little news to report about if Costner is leaving the show for good. Although, the filming delays for season 5, part 2, certainty doesn’t help.

You can watch Yellowstone on the Paramount Network, which is available to stream on services including Fubo TV, Philo TV, and Hulu+ With Live TV. The first four seasons of Yellowstone are also available to stream on Peacock.

Want to see who’s who in the Dutton family — even the poor relations they’d rather forget? Check out the gallery below!