Cole Hauser is psyching up fans for the imminent release of Yellowstone's fifth season. Hours ahead of the episodes' Sunday debut, Hauser posted an Instagram photo of himself in complete Rip Wheeler garb with the caption, "Hope y'all are happy that's it's finally the day for S5! Thx to all of you that have support us over the years and made us the success we are." Hauser's character of Rip has been the focus of intense speculation among Yellowstone fans after the series posted a tribute video for the character's birthday in September and teased, "Get ready, Yellowstone TV fans. Something big is coming." The "something big" was interpreted by viewers as a spoiler about Rip's death.
During an interview with TODAY, Hauser, who plays Rip in the series, tried to put some of the rumors about his character's fate to rest. "My mom's told me a couple of them and I said, 'Mom, I do the killing. Don't worry about it,'" he said. "I think we're OK. For now." In addition to his observation that "Rip" has a "darkness," he added, "but there's also, kind of, this real passion and love that he has for Beth (Kelly Reilly) and I thought that's a really good juxtaposition as an actor to be able to play that." He also spoke to Us Weekly about how Rip and Beth Dutton's marriage will affect their relationship. "[Fans will see] more of Beth and I married, obviously," the 47-year-old said. "Some pretty amazing stuff, cowboy wise. … The actors and I got to do a lot of stuff that we've never been able to do before. I think we've earned the trust of [creator] Taylor [Sheridan] and he's allowed us to go and really cowboy for the first time. So that's been really cool. And then I think Rip being kind of thrusted into being the foreman without John (Kevin Costner) around is a new experience for the character as well."
The season 4 finale saw Rip and Beth wed as her dad prepared to become Montana's governor. "I don't think it'll affect anything when it comes to decision making," Hauser said of life on the ranch after the wedding. "I mean, he still listens to John. I mean, he's his boss, but same time too, John has put a lot of responsibility on him this year." In response to why the couple resonates with fans, he cited their "imperfect" pairing. "And I think Taylor does a great job of putting that on paper. And then Kelly and I take it and we put our spin on it," Hauser explained. "And where there's moments that, maybe, there would be anger, there's love instead. And there's a lot of levels to the characters that Kelly and I have just found throughout the years. And I think it's wonderful that people actually still care about the two of them the way they do."
While Hauser has been portraying Rip since the 2018 premiere, he said he's "completely opposite" of the character. "But I think going and spending time with Taylor, getting him back on a horse in Texas, usually it just starts to bleed into Rip a little bit and talking with them and sparking the creative conversation again about the year," he said. "And usually being away from the family for months at a time too, and just being focused on the journey of that year and the character." Season 5 of Yellowstone will premiere on Paramount Network Sunday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. ET.