Yellowstone: Season 5's Flashbacks Have Always Been Part Of Taylor Sheridan's Plan

"Yellowstone" creator Taylor Sheridan intertwines present-day dealings on John Dutton's (Kevin Costner) modern-day Montana ranch with glimpses of the patriarch's early days through compelling flashbacks. The showrunner ended up casting Josh Lucas ("American Psycho," "Sweet Home Alabama," "Hulk") to portray the younger version of John. And Sheridan always planned on returning to the past in Season 5 by utilizing even more flashbacks to fill in the backstory.

"Taylor did tell me five years ago, the show in the fifth season will have a lot of flashbacks. And I thought he was crazy," Lucas said during an interview with Tell-Tale TV. "I didn't think there was ever going to be a fifth season."

According to an April 2023 interview on "Today," Lucas recalled Sheridan calling him prior to filming the pilot, and the showrunner explained to the actor that his most significant contributions would actually be made in "Yellowstone" Season 5. And while Lucas played the waiting game, he himself became a fan of the show. But the man who brings Young John Dutton to life didn't think he'd be asked to return for those promised flashbacks.

Flashbacks were always the game plan for Season 5

"Yellowstone" star Josh Lucas made his first appearance as Young John Dutton in Season 1, Episode 3, "No Good Horses." And while Kevin Costner holds down the bulk of the screen time the character makes during the Paramount Network series, Lucas does make significant contributions to the protagonist's storyline, particularly in Season 5. And that was always part of the plan in showrunner Taylor Sheridan's mind.

"I sort of laughed and went on with my life, right?" Lucas said during the same interview. "But, then when he [Sheridan] called me earlier last year and said, 'Here we are. I'm now writing the flashbacks I told you I was gonna write. And they're gonna tell the deeper different stories that are going on twenty years earlier, basically.' It's one of the most interesting challenges I've had as an actor, easily."

Lucas' interpretation of John Dutton appears in five of the eight episodes which aired in the first half of Season 5. In comparison, Young John doesn't pop up at all in Seasons 3 or 4, unless fans want to count him showing up in a photograph during the latter. Meanwhile, the younger version of the "Yellowstone" patriarch only materialized in three episodes during Season 1, and he turns up for only one of the episodes in Season 2.