For months, rumors circulated that Matthew McConaughey was poised to enter the Yellowstone universe, and following the official confirmation that McConaughey is indeed lined up for a spin-off (he is reportedly still in final negotiations), speculation has run rampant as to the nature of the new show.
Along with the news that Yellowstone would be ending, Deadline reported in May 2023 that the star “is expected to be joined by handful of original Yellowstone cast members.” However, in an interview with THR, Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan seemed to indicate that the show could have an entirely new cast and setting.
Though he confirmed that the show will have “Yellowstone” in the title, Sheridan said, “My idea of a spinoff is the same as my idea of a prequel — read into that what you will.” The publication reports that Sheridan nodded when asked if that meant that the new series would be a stand-alone story. “There are lots of places where a way of life that existed for 150 years is slamming against a new way of life, but the challenges are completely different. There are a lot of places you can tell this story.”
However, Sheridan also admitted that he currently has only worked out “the broadest strokes” of the spin-off, so things could change dramatically between now and the show’s scheduled December 2023 premiere.
As for McConaughey himself, Sheridan commented, “He seems like a natural fit. We had a few conversations over the years, and spitballed a few ideas. Then he started watching Yellowstone and responded to it. He was like, ‘I want to do that.’ And by ‘that’ he meant diving into a raw world clashing up against the modern world. And then I said, ‘Buddy, that we can do.’”
McConaughey has shared his thoughts on John Dutton
In June 2023, the actor opened up for the first time with his thoughts about the original series and its main character, John Dutton, played by Kevin Costner.
“One way you could explain Yellowstone and Costner’s role is what will men do to protect land and family in a world that is trying to encroach?” McConaughey reportedly said on the Lex Fridman Podcast. “I admire that simplicity of right and wrong.”
He added, “It’s a little bit of, ‘If the law ain’t handling this, I am.’ And then it is, ‘The law’s not going to handle it, therefore I am.’ Then it’s, ‘I’m handling this. The law? Talk to them when you get to them. I’m handling this.'”
McConaughey is reportedly in final negotiations for the series
In March 2023 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Paramount Media Networks head Chris McCarthy confirmed that McConaughey would be joining the Yellowstone universe, though subsequent reporting has suggested he hasn’t signed any contracts yet.
Originally, when speculation of McConaughey’s involvement in the Yellowstone-verse started, it was suggested that he could be coming onto the flagship show as a replacement for Costner, who, rumor has it, had been unsatisfied with the show’s shooting schedule. McCarthy revealed that the spin-off would be moving forward regardless of whether Kevin Costner returns as Yellowstone’s patriarch John Dutton for the remainder of the show’s fifth, and now final, season—a question that remains up in the air, as the show still hasn’t begun filming its final episodes.
“We have no news to report,” Paramount stated in February when the rumors about McConaughey first surfaced. “Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come. Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we are always working on franchise expansions of this incredible world he has built. Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner.” And partner they will—though not, it appears, in quite the way fans expected.
In May 2023, Paramount officially announced the news of the untitled Yellowstone sequel, as well as that the main show would end after the second half of season five. David Glasser, the CEO of 101 studios, said in a statement, “The Dutton story continues, picking up where Yellowstone leaves off in another epic tale. We are thrilled to bring this new journey to audiences around the world.” McConaughey’s casting was not confirmed.
“Yellowstone has been the cornerstone on which we have launched an entire universe of global hits – from 1883 to Tulsa King, and I am confident our Yellowstone sequel will be another big hit, thanks to the brilliant creative mind of Taylor Sheridan and our incredible casts who bring these shows to life,” Chris McCarthy, President & CEO Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios, said in a statement.
When will the series debut?
The show is set to premiere in December 2023, but due to the current writer’s strike in Hollywood and a potential actor’s strike looming, it’s unclear how set that date is.
We’ll update this as soon as we learn more about the Yellowstone sequel.