Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Yellowstone Fans Envision The Ranch Without John Dutton (& Who Would Take Over)

The status of "Yellowstone" star Kevin Costner returning as John Dutton remains up in the air after reports surfaced that the star might be leaving the Paramount Network series. As the drama unfolded, it seemed that there was a scheduling conflict between Costner and the production. However, Costner's attorney Marty Singer denied the claim that his client planned to devote only a single week of his time to filming the remainder of Season 5. Regardless, the fans are restless, and they're already imagining a "Yellowstone" without its patriarch.

"Kill John off and have at least a season of the family dealing with the aftermath of that and moving forward," u/WildRugosa suggested wiping out Costner's character in a Reddit discussion. Another Redditor also came up with a scenario where John Dutton's death is central to the show moving forward, but the user also suggests possible successors for the primary protagonists. "John dies and leaves ranch to Tate [Brecken Merrill] and Rip [Cole Hauser]," u/Cjkgh wrote.

Thus far, Paramount Network hasn't renounced the teaser that promised new episodes of "Yellowstone" Season 5 will return this summer. And despite the fact that Costner and the show's creator Taylor Sheridan were noticeably absent from PaleyFest earlier this month, the President of Development & Production, Keith Cox, assured those in attendance that Costner would continue his tenure on the series. The fans, on the other hand, are still brainstorming ways to move forward without the actor.

Fans envisage killing off John Dutton

"Yellowstone" fans are feverishly bracing for the possibility that Kevin Costner won't return to play John Dutton on Paramount Network's neo-western. And while internet users scramble to concoct scenarios for the show to move on without him, replacing the three-time Golden Globe winner won't be an easy task — even if the Matthew McConaughey speculation turns out to be true. But many members of the fanbase already have their own theories on how the Dutton ranch will survive without Costner. And it seems that John's death is the unseemly answer in the minds of many "Yellowstone" enthusiasts.

"Jamie [Wes Bentley] successfully kills John, Beth [Kelly Reilly] kills Jamie," u/ Spire2000 wrote. "Beth goes to prison. Rip is finally free of his servitude and leaves. Kayce [Luke Grimes] takes over the ranch. 'Yellowstone' carries on, maybe as a show, maybe not." Yes, the ugly theme that seems to be most prevalent amongst internet prognosticators when it comes to the survival of "Yellowstone" without Costner is to bump off John Dutton.

"John has to die," u/Quiet_Nectarine4185 insisted in the comments. "He always has. The only interesting ending is to see what happens to the land and his family after he is gone." The fans seem dead set — pun most definitely intended — on Dutton's demise as a viable way of successfully carrying on the "Yellowstone" legacy. However, who would take over the ranch should Costner let go of the reins?

Who takes John's place?

In a "Yellowstone" where Kevin Costner doesn't return and his character is slain, who steps up in Montana to lead the way? "A ranch that size would take business as well as ranching knowledge," u/WildRugosa suggested. "Rip and Beth together could do that. Throw in Jamie either as an ally or antagonist." Given the star power of Costner, Cole Hauser (Rip), Kelly Reilly (Beth), and Wes Bentley (Jamie) arguably don't have the A-list status, nor clout, to make this a viable remedy.

Utilizing Matthew McConaughey or another Hollywood heavyweight to replace Costner could work, though, especially if the supporting cast remains intact. But for some diehards, the in-house approach is the only way to go. "I really think Rip & Beth can lead this show and even Kayce's character if they get him back to how he was in the first 3 seasons," u/Fuzzy_Wind7049 posted. "I wanna see the ranch go to Kayce or Rip, maybe even Jamie," u/renaissanceclass wrote. "I think Rip would take care of it the best though."

"Yellowstone" fans can theorize, but a successful future may very well hinge on Costner's return. Regardless, u/TheRealBatmanForReal just hopes that the Paramount Network series ends before it pulls a "Game of Thrones." Meanwhile, others are simply tired of the drama. "I loved 'Yellowstone,' but feel like they are taking the piss making us wait over a year for the second part of season 5," u/Zodiackillerstadia commented. "It feels like the show is dead."