We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone was originally a movie, not a series

The story of Kevin Costner's John Dutton has made Yellowstone one of the best TV series ever. But creator Taylor Sheridan originally wanted it to be a movie.

Kelly Reilly and Wes Bentley as Beth Dutton and Jamie Dutton in Yellowstone

Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan is a man of many talents: actor, writer, and director. He’s been nominated for an Oscar, and is the mind behind some of the best movies of the past decade. Still, Yellowstone remains as one of the best Taylor Sheridan TV series out there.

Starring Kevin Costner as John Dutton at the head of the Yellowstone cast, the show has become one of the best TV series of the modern era, as well as one of the most watched. With its two spin-offs, 1883 and 1923, and plenty more to come, the world of the Duttons is becoming inescapable.

However, if Taylor Sheridan had gotten his way to start with, Yellowstone never would have made it to season 5, or even season 1, because he wanted the trails of John Dutton to be a Godfather-inspired movie. Recounting the early stages of Yellowstone, THR reported that Sheridan had originally been pitching his idea as, “The Godfather in Montana,” and that Sheridan had completed a full script for Yellowstone as a film.

However, things changed when HBO expressed interest in Sheridan’s vision, and it started to be developed as a series. In what would end up being a big, big mistake, HBO pulled out, and Yellowstone ended up being made by Paramount.

YouTube Thumbnail

Now, Yellowstone, its spin-offs, and Sheridan’s other TV series (Mayor of Kingstown, Tulsa King, and Special Ops Lioness) prop up the whole Paramount Plus streaming service. It’s hard to imagine Sheridan having quite the same amount of success had it been a movie.

Would a movie have been able to accommodate all the characters, or would the likes of Jamie Dutton, Rip Wheeler, and others have been cut in order to tell a smaller story? The only thing that we know for certain about Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone movie script is that it would have been very different. That, and the ending is still the same, according to Sheridan.

That ending is coming sooner rather than later, as Kevin Costner’s departure from the show means that Yellowstone season 5 (the second half of which is still yet to debut, or even begin filming) is going to be the last season of the show. For more on what to expect, check out our guide to the Yellowstone season 5 part 2 release date.

You can also keep up with all the Yellowstone spin-offs with our explainers on the 6666 release date, and 1923 season 2 release date. Or, see our ranking of Sheridan’s Yellowstone series, our explainer on the Yellowstone brand, and our picks for the best Taylor Sheridan TV series and movies.