What would Yellowstone look like without John Dutton and Rip Wheeler? It’s not the kind of question anyone wants to think about. However, it’s something that concerned fans could be considering as the mastermind behind the series, Taylor Sheridan, embroils himself in further behind-the-scenes drama.
Following on from his widely reported conflict with Yellowstone‘s lead star, Kevin Costner (a dispute that has reportedly focused on pay, scheduling, and creative decisions) Sheridan is now locked in a complicated situation with Yellowstone cast star Cole Hauser, too. As per court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Sheridan’s Bosque Ranch has filed a lawsuit against Hauser’s freshly launched coffee brand, Free Rein. The lawsuit accuses Hauser’s Free Rein of: “trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising.”
“Neither Hauser nor the Defendants asked or received permission or authorization of Sheridan or Bosque Ranch to use a mark confusingly similar to the BR Brand for virtually identical goods,” the lawsuit further alleges, revealing that the complaint is rooted in the similarities between the branding for Hauser’s coffee company, and Sheridan’s coffee brand.
There is no suggestion yet that this could impact Sheridan and Hauser’s working relationship, however, the legal dispute does raise further questions about the future of the series.
Yellowstone season 5 part 2 is already set to bring the series to a premature end due to Costner’s departure and Sheridan’s desire to grow his franchise beyond the flagship series by extending the Yellowstone timeline throughout the past, and with a sequel series. That will mean a sudden conclusion to the (many) dangling plot threads, with the final episodes of the main series due to arrive in November 2024.
However, there’s still more uncertainty here than certainty. Whether Costner will be involved at all is not yet confirmed, suggesting a possible off-screen death for John Dutton or, less likely, recasting. Further casting announcements haven’t been unveiled either, and while it seems highly likely that the main stars will return — as Costner’s demonstrated — nothing is yet certain.
Regardless, fans will be hoping that any resolutions are swift and that any drama between Sheridan and Hauser remains contained to the courtroom. After all, we’re all desperate for that Beth and Rip spin-off, aren’t we?
For more on Yellowstone, keep up to date with the 1923 season 2 release date, and the 1944 release date. Or, see our picks for the best Westerns, before checking our favorite Taylor Sheridan TV series and movies.