For Yellowstone’s first three seasons, late summer was the point when fans would be dealing with finale aftermath for everyone in the Dutton family. The latter two seasons, however, shifted their premiere dates forward to late fall, following the extended hiatus that kept fans guessing about the Season 3 finale attacks. And now here we are, nine months removed from Season 5’s midseason finale, which aired all the way back on New Years Day, without any follow-up episodes having arrived on Paramount Network to close things out.
Let’s take a closer look at what we know about the back half of Yellowstone’s fifth season, what Kevin Costner’s situation is, and why the hit neo-western drama hasn’t already given fans the long-awaited endgame battle for the longtime feud between Wes Bentley’s Jamie and Kelly Reilly’s Beth.
When Yellowstone Season 5 Was Originally Meant To Return
A couple of months after Season 4's big finale, Paramount Network revealed that Yellowstone's fifth season would be its biggest one yet, with 14 episodes confirmed instead of the usual ten. But instead of all the eps airing one after another for 3+ months of Dutton family drama, only the first eight installments were filmed and aired.
Then, on the day of the aforementioned closer, Paramount revealed that the ratings-crushing drama wouldn't be returning until Summer 2023. That clearly hasn't happened yet, though, or this article wouldn't be in front of you in its current form.
How Far Into Production Is The Back Half Of Yellostone Season 5?
Unless Taylor Sheridan & Co. were pulling off some super-secret filming techniques during the spring months, Yellowstone has yet to actually finalize any plans to continue filming the remaining Season 5 installments. The issues leading to that as-yet-temporary stalemate first went public in February 2023, when we reported that chaos was happening behind the scenes in regards to Kevin Costner’s alleged scheduling demands and arguments against having to film for as long as he needed to for John Dutton’s story to be told. Costner has made no secret of being super-amped for his new Horizon film series as his new creative darling, and went off to film for that during the hiatus between proposed filming periods for Season 5.
While that initially seemed like it could have been directly responsible for delaying Yellowstone’s return to filming, Costner himself claimed to be unaware of why the production was split up in the first place, while still saying that he was agreeable about returning in his latest courtroom comments. But then the Oscar winner was revealed to be going through a divorce, which was soon followed by the confirmation that he was exiting the drama, with plans changing so that Yellowstone could end with Ep 514.
But without any forward progress happening ahead of the WGA writers strike going into effect in May, the speculation then turned to the idea that Taylor Sheridan hadn’t actually finalized the last six scripts for Yellowstone’s fifth season. Which may or may not still be the case, since the Special Ops: Lioness creator isn’t able to officially submit scripts until the strike is resolved.
When Fans Can Expect To See Yellowstone’s Final Episodes
Unfortunately, nearly anyone’s guess is as good as mine when it comes to pinning down an exact window on when production for the rest of Yellowstone’s fifth season can take place. Not only will the aforementioned WGA strike need to wrap up in a way that’s pleasing for creatives, but there’s also the SAG-AFTRA actors strike happening, which makes it all the more impossible to film major sequences. Exterior shots of extras dancing in fields to live music? That could probably happen, but it wouldn’t exactly be worth getting the entire crew back up to Montana.
Even if we knew exactly when the strikes would end, the process would still then involve all the planning needed to secure the cast and crew’s involvement, and only then could the episodes actually be filmed. Given this series’ general lack of major visual effects, I’d imagine the post-production process wouldn’t be too lengthy, at least compared to other TV fare. But it would almost definitely be at least 4-6 months for all of that to happen, presuming the episode runtimes would be similar to what we’re used to. By all means, I certainly hope we aren’t waiting until Summer 2024 to finally see where things are going, but I won’t necessary be surprised if that’s how long it takes.
Until we hear more about the remaining Yellowstone episodes coming together, fans can stream all of the currently released episodes with a Peacock subscription, which does indeed include the first eight episodes of Season 5. And head to our 2023 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are confirmed to be returning soon.