Kevin Costner's much-anticipated upcoming Western film, " Horizon: An American Saga," seems to draw significant inspiration from the immensely popular series " Yellowstone." Interestingly, Costner is slated to make appearances in the final six episodes of the widely acclaimed Paramount+ series, which is unfortunately wrapping up earlier than intended due to his unexpected exit. In response to Costner's surprising decision, the show's creator, Taylor Sheridan, promptly took action by developing a follow-up series that continues the narrative of the original "Yellowstone" saga. This new installment will introduce Matthew McConaughey into the esteemed realm of the post-John Dutton franchise.
Costner's decision to leave Yellowstone after season 5 is due to a number of behind-the-scenes issues in conjunction with Costner's devotion to his passion project, Horizon: An American Saga. Costner returned to the director's chair on Horizon for the first time since 2004's Open Range, marking a clear distinction between his association with Yellowstone, which he stars in but does not direct, and his eventual Horizon franchise. However, the overlapping Western themes and large scope in Costner's four-movie Horizon franchise seem to draw close parallels to Yellowstone's extended universe, suggesting that Costner drew inspiration for Horizon based on the successful expansion of the Yellowstone franchise.
Costner's role as director for "Horizon: An American Saga" involves a comprehensive portrayal of the American West before and after the Civil War across four distinct films. The inaugural entry of the upcoming "Horizon" series, currently in the final stages of post-production, will likely be released by the end of 2023 or at the latest, sometime in 2024. In a manner reminiscent of the "Yellowstone" approach, "Horizon" and its subsequent sequels are positioning themselves for significant expansion even prior to their debut. This forward-looking strategy serves as a clear testament to Costner's commitment to delivering an elevated level of effort and excellence in his ambitious and enduring new project.
Similar to the successful approach of the "Yellowstone" series, "Horizon" will also explore various historical periods, reminiscent of the "1883" and "1923" prequel series. This narrative framework positions "Horizon" to adopt certain similarities of "Yellowstone," potentially leading to the expansion into television and streaming formats. Depending on the outcome of the final six episodes of "Yellowstone," there's even a chance that the two universes – "Yellowstone" and "Horizon" – could intersect if both franchises sustain their prosperous trajectories into the future. Although Costner's departure from the fifth season of "Yellowstone" was unforeseen, he hasn't ruled out the prospect of collaborating with the franchise in other ways.
Costner's decision to depart from "Yellowstone" and venture into creating a potentially comparable or even superior Western franchise with "Horizon" is undeniably a bold gamble on his part. While replicating the triumph of "Yellowstone" won't be a simple task, Costner's established reputation and widespread appeal should inherently attract a substantial initial audience. The destiny of "Horizon" rests squarely on Costner's shoulders as he takes on the role of director for at least the first two installments of the new series. It's worth noting that Costner's past achievements, including winning Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture for "Dances with Wolves," hint at the possibility that his shift from " Yellowstone" to his new pursuit with "Horizon" could very well turn out to be yet another victorious move in his illustrious career.