‘Yellowstone’ Behind-the-Scenes Clip Shows How They Created the Explosion That Ended Season 3 [Watch]
A new behind-the-scenes video that the creators of Yellowstone posted online shows how the series' special effects department pulls off some of the visual effects for the hit show — including the massive explosion that ended Season 3 in a cliffhanger and left viewers wondering whether Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) is alive or dead.
A clip posted to Yellowstone's official Twitter account features Yellowstone's special effects supervisor, Gary Elmendorf, taking fans on a tour of the runaway hit show's special effects workshop, which takes in an entire warehouse full of fabrication and metalworking tools and more. Elmendorf is a third-generation special effects artist who cut his teeth working on the 1978 film classic The Deer Hunter, and most of his experience is in feature films.
"So I try to bring that quality of what we do to the screen," he says in the video below, taking fans inside the process of creating visual effects for everything from scenes of a pickup truck demolishing a string of motorcycles to one of the characters being blown backward while trying to enter a trailer.
One of the pieces Elmendorf demonstrates is called an air mortar, which the special effects department uses when they don't want to employ pyrotechnics. It uses controlled, instant blasts of highly compressed air to simulate anything from a shotgun blast to the massive explosion in Beth Dutton's office that was one of the final scenes of Season 3, leaving fans to wonder if she had been killed as the Dutton family who own the Yellowstone ranch came under concerted attack on multiple fronts. That scene involved a small pyrotechnic device juxtaposed with a blast of air that scattered debris to simulate the explosion.
Another of the multiple cliffhangers that ended Season 3 involved Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) coming under attack as gunmen entered his office and opened fire. He flipped his desk to try to take cover in the scene, but as Elmendorf explains, the desk that the set decorators chose for the scene was irreplaceable, so he and his team had to replicate it. They took the opportunity to make the dummy desk significantly lighter than the original, which he estimates weighs hundreds of pounds. Small pyrotechnics simulated the bullets hitting the desk.
See all of the behind-the-scenes special effects wizardry in the clip below:
In addition to Kayce and Beth, Yellowstone patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner) was shot in the chest in the final moments of Season 3. A teaser clip the Paramount Network released for the upcoming Season 4 shows that John has survived the initial attack, though it's not clear what might happen from there. The clip does not hint at the fate of the other characters as Season 4 opens.
Yellowstone has become so successful that Paramount is developing two different spinoff series. Yellowstone: 666 has been announced, though very few details are available. Country music fans will be particularly interested in a Yellowstone prequel titled 1883, which stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill as James and Margaret Dutton, John Dutton's great-parents. The show follows their family as they head West on an arduous trek from Texas to Montana, where they will end up establishing the Yellowstone ranch that serves as the setting for the original show.
No air dates have been announced for the new shows, but Yellowstone is set to return for its much-anticipated Season 4 in November on the Paramount Network and Paramount+. Subscribe to the streaming service to make sure you don't miss out.