From beating colon cancer to surviving an assassination attempt (as far as we know), John Dutton has overcome everything life’s thrown at him so far on Yellowstone. But how long can the patriarch cheat death?
Sharp fans of the show will remember several damning bits of foreshadowing from seasons 1-3. This, coupled with actor Kevin Costner’s real-world dealings of late, seem to point several very large fingers toward John Dutton’s last days.
From Costner’s upcoming projects, to the writing on the ranch walls, we’re taking a look at all the mounting evidence that John Dutton is going to die in Yellowstone Season 4.
1.) Costner’s Next Project, National Parks, Lined Up at ABC
Firstly, Costner already has another show in the works. Just this past week, ABC greenlit a new pilot from the mind of Kevin Costner: National Parks. The show will be written by Aaron Helbing and Jon Baird, the same gents Costner wrote The Explorers Guide novel with. In addition, Costner is set to produce the project, as he currently does Yellowstone.
The inclusion of his own creative partners, coupled with the demands of both writing and producing a major television network drama, points towards Costner’s time on Yellowstone as John Dutton coming to a close. Season 4 is done filming, and the timing fits up perfectly.
We do not, however, have any confirmation on whether the iconic actor will star in a National Parks. So far, all major trades point to Costner’s involvement being behind-the-scenes only. Whether he will step in front of the camera for National Parks at some point remains to be seen.
For now, we’re betting Costner is simply looking for a change of pace. Crafting, producing, and writing an entire show is a massive undertaking, to say the least. After years of intense on-set work as John Dutton, Costner may be ready to sit back with a pen and paper (or laptop, who are we kidding) for a change.
2.) Paramount Announced Prequel Series, Yellowstone: 1883
Furthermore, if you’re going to kill off the lead character on cable’s #1 drama, played by one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood history – you’re going to need a damn good distraction. And what better distraction for fans of John Dutton & Yellowstone than looking back into their wild, Western past?
Alongside Costner’s next project being in development, the Feb. 5 announcement of Yellowstone prequel spinoff, Y:1883, seems to coincide with the actor’s exit, as well. If you can’t move forward with the current Dutton patriarch, then you might as well introduce another, right?
1883 is set to follow the ancestors of John Dutton and his children “as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains towards the last bastion of untamed America.” In doing so, Yellowstone mastermind Taylor Sheridan promises “a stark retelling of Western expansion.” As such, 1883 will serve as “an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised land – Montana.”
In short: Paramount may be looking to bait & switch one John Dutton with another – by giving us his grizzled great-great-grandfather as a replacement.
3.) John Dutton Can’t Cheat Death Forever
On top of all this, too, is John Dutton’s masterful cheating of death cannot last forever. He’s been at it since the throws of Season 1. In episodes 4-7, we learn that the patriarch had colon cancer. After having two feet of his colon removed, Dutton kept his illness quiet. Eventually, his surviving children, Kayce & Beth, find out.
And it doesn’t end there. John’s doctor finds another mass during a CT scan in Episode 6, but John leaves the hospital in hurried frustration. Soon after, he begins coughing up blood, and undergoes major surgery – then physical therapy – as a result.
While all of this seems to have been wrapped up, cancer is a horrible illness. With so many enemies out to take John Dutton down, it would be poetic, and tragically fitting, for his own body to be the ‘wolf’ that finally gets the ‘bear.’
Fast-forward through several other life & death situations, and we find John Dutton surviving an assassination attempt in the incredible Season 3 finale. John is shot while on the side of the road trying to help motorists in need. It is the “lucky” placement of his cell phone that stops what would’ve been a lethal bullet.
Yet this last scene is in no way the one that seems to have sealed his fate. In fact, we’ll have to travel all the way back to the Season 3 opener for the moment that foretold the death of John Dutton.
To do so, head on over to ‘Yellowstone’ TV: Did Season 3’s Opener Seal John Dutton’s Season 4 Death? next.
In the end, we sincerely hope John Dutton is around for the long haul. Taylor Sheridan hopes to round Yellowstone out with 6 seasons. Whether Kevin Costner will be acting in those final episodes, however, is looking far less likely.
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