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'Yellowstone' Creator Taylor Sheridan Breaks Silence on Kevin Costner Drama: 'I'm Disappointed'

Taylor Sheridan is pulling no punches when it comes to Kevin Costner's 'Yellowstone' exit.

After months of negative press and speculation about the future of Yellowstone and its departing leading-man Kevin Costner, franchise creator Taylor Sheridan is coming out swinging. In a June 21 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sheridan revealed his thoughts about Yellowstone's abrupt end, dished on his frayed relationship with Costner and gave his two cents on the star's upcoming Horizon franchise: "I sure hope [the movie is] worth it."

Costner is leaving the Paramount Network's Yellowstone to focus on his four-movie Western epic Horizon, which rubbed Paramount the wrong way, according to Sheridan:

"My last conversation with Kevin was that he had this passion project he wanted to direct. He and the network were arguing about when he could be done with Yellowstone. I said, 'We can certainly work a schedule toward [his preferred exit date],' which we did."

Costner is expected to wrap filming on the second movie in the Horizon franchise this week. Sheridan revealed that discussions are currently underway to convince Costner to film at least a few scenes for Yellowstone Season 5, Part 2 to complete John Dutton's character arc. But Sheridan has not yet completed the scripts for the back half of the season.

All the highly-publicized back-and-forth between Paramount, Sheridan and Costner has negatively impacted the prolific producer's relationship with his leading man. While Sheridan still respects Costner as a brilliant actor, harsh public statements have hit both of them personally, he says.

"My opinion of Kevin as an actor hasn't altered. His creation of John Dutton is symbolic and powerful, and I've never had an issue with Kevin that he and I couldn't work out on the phone. But once lawyers get involved, then people don't get to talk to each other and start saying things that aren't true and attempt to shift blame based on how the press or public seem to be reacting."

"He took a lot of this on the chin and I don't know that anyone deserves it," Sheridan continued, adding that he hopes Costner's Horizon bid pays off. "His movie seems to be a great priority to him and he wants to shift focus. I sure hope [the movie is] worth it — and that it's a good one."

Still, Sheridan is adamant that the Yellowstone beef is between Costner and the show's production. He's not to blame for Costner's abrupt exit. And those rumors that Sheridan's script delays angered Costner? Nonsense, the creator claims:

"I didn't do anything to begin with!" he says. "I don't dictate the schedule. I don't determine when things start filming. I don't determine when things air. Those decisions are made by people way above me. My sphere of control is the content — that's it. No production of mine has ever waited on me."

As for his real thoughts on Costner's departure and what it means for the character of John Dutton, Sheridan admits he's not happy about having to prematurely close the chapter on the patriarch.

"I'm disappointed. It truncates the closure of his character. It doesn't alter it, but it truncates it."

While Costner reportedly wants the last word on John Dutton, Sheridan vows to write out the character in his own way: The story comes first, and there's no space for egos and personal vendettas in the writing process.

"Whether [Dutton's fate] inflates [Costner's] ego or insults is collateral damage that I don't factor in with regard to storytelling."

On the bright side, Sheridan revealed that he may churn out a whopping 10 episodes to close out the Yellowstone saga, as opposed to the originally-planned 6 episodes.

"If I think it takes 10 episodes to wrap it up, they'll give me 10. It'll be as long as it needs to be."

While his Four Sixes Yellowstone spinoff has been delayed, the creator is working on even more unannounced Yellowstone prequels (in the style of 1883 and 1923).

As for the Matthew McConaughey-led Yellowstone spinoff, Sheridan says the Texas native is a "natural fit" for his cowboy universe. The series is still in the early days of development, but don't plan on seeing the entire original cast of Yellowstone reprise their roles in the spinoff. Sheridan hinted that he's focusing on new characters, much like he does with his prequels:

"My idea of a spinoff is the same as my idea of a prequel. Read into that what you will."

READ MORE: Inside 'Yellowstone' Stars Ryan Bingham and Hassie Harrison's $4.6 Million Horse Ranch