Outlander spoilers below.
Following Outlander season five’s extremely eventful and emotional final episode, all eyes are now on what happens next, so it’s good news that season six is officially on the cards.
“Fans can rest assured their beloved Claire and Jamie will be back facing new challenges, adversaries and adventures in seasons five and six as we delve into American history and continue the story of the Frasers as they settle in the New World,” said Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht.
Here’s everything you need to know about about the upcoming chapter.
Outlander season 6 release date: When will it air?
Filming has officially wrapped, which means we’re one step closer to getting our mitts on those brand new episodes.
The shoot wasn’t an easy one for Heughan – cold conditions combined with pandemic restrictions to create a strange vibe (via CheatSheet).
“It’s been challenging. I think shooting through a Scottish winter during a pandemic, it was weird. We would go to work, especially at the start, and we didn’t know what was going to happen. I’d just finished a movie in London which had similar protocols. But to be in Scotland and to see no one on the roads driving to work — and just to be in this world where it felt like we were the only people at work — it was kind of crazy.”
But the pain was worth it, the unusual circumstances led to a series to be proud of.
“I’m really pleased with this season,” he said. “It feels almost like early western vibe. And, you know, we’re building to the War of Independence. Obviously, there’s time travel as well and all the other elements. It feels like a small, but mighty season.”
And Heughan had trouble switching off after filming.
“It really is a sort of transitional moment,” Heughan said about finishing the shoot (via The Express).
“It’s sometimes hard to switch off, and for the first few days after shooting and completing a season of Outlander you’re still on this hamster wheel of getting things done and doing things.”
Speaking of getting on, early 2022 is the date we’ve been given so far for season six to get on our tellies, so plenty of time for a rewatch before then.
In honor of #WorldOutlanderDay, I’m excited to announce that #Outlander Season 6 has officially wrapped and is coming your way in early 2022 with a 90-minute premiere episode! pic.twitter.com/q0RV8QEFEv
— Outlander (@Outlander_STARZ) June 1, 2021
“We are excited to get into the editing room to work on bringing the fans one step closer to reuniting with the family back on Fraser’s Ridge,” said showrunner Matthew B Roberts in a statement.
“Filming in 2021 has presented an unprecedented set of challenges which led us to the decision to truncate the season in order to bring the fans the most vibrant and dynamic season as soon as possible.”
Roberts promised that they would film “an extended season seven with 16 episodes next year as life returns to normalcy”.
Outlander season 6: Can I watch it on Amazon Prime?
Outlander is a Starz show. It’s previously been available on Amazon Prime in the UK, but from season six it will be shown on Starzplay (which is available via Amazon Prime).
Outlander season 6 episodes: How many will there be?
Due to the filming delays caused by the pandemic, season 6 will only be eight episodes (a usual Outlander season is 12 to 13 episodes long).
That’s the bad news – the good news is that the first episode of the season will be movie-length, at roughly 90 minutes long. And season 7, which starts filming in the new year, will be much bigger, with 16 episodes.
Outlander season 6 casting: Who will be in it?
Expect to see these main players return in season six:
• Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall Fraser
• Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser
• Richard Rankin as Roger Wakefield
• Sophie Skelton as Brianna Randall
“Every season, every episode, there is always something that you don’t expect,” Heughan told Parade. “And I’m like, ‘OK, that’s what Jamie’s doing. That’s who he is.’ Actually, this season from what I’ve seen of the scripts, I’m excited because I think there is another side to him you haven’t seen before.”
Heughan also teased (via The Express) “a new character, but he’s not so new to Jamie”, adding: “Actually in Ardsmuir, Tom Christie is one of Jamie’s ancient foes. He comes to Fraser’s Ridge and tries to take a bit of power actually. So there’s a bit of power play and his daughter becomes a very, very special part of this story. I can’t give away more.”
“Outlander does baddies and villains quite well,” Balfe said. “[The Christies] aren’t your typical villains, which is great and refreshing.”
Balfe has been impressed by Outlander’s new blood, especially Jessica Reynolds, who plays Malva Christie, daughter of Jamie’s aforementioned ancient nemesis Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones).
“Claire and Malva build a great relationship and bond,” Balfe told EW. “It’s very destabilising for Claire. It’s a really heartbreaking, but a really twisted narrative that they all get embroiled in.”
In October, fans got their first glimpse of the new arrivals on Fraser’s Ridge via Outlander’s social media. As well as father Tom and daughter Malva, get ready to meet Tom’s son Allan Christie (Alexander Vlahos), who – if the series follows Diana Gabaldon’s books – has some dark secrets that could affect everyone on the Ridge if they are revealed this season.
— Outlander (@Outlander_STARZ) October 26, 2021
It has not yet been confirmed that fan favourite character Lord John Grey (David Berry) will return for season 6, although he does appear in the sixth book, ‘A Breath Of Snow and Ashes’. Berry’s fans were sent into a panic last year when he posted a photo from the Outlander set on Instagram with the cryptic comment: “Don’t like goodbyes, tears or sighs,” with some taking it to mean he had left the series forever, but it is more likely he was just signing off for the season. (We hope).
And rumours of a potential spin-off starring fan favourite Lord John Grey continue to circulate thanks to the fact he already stars in his own series of books, so it is very likely we haven’t seen the last of the dashing lord.
Actor David Berry told Digital Spy and others that this is something he’d be interested in pursuing.
“I think the character is a great character,” he said. “I really enjoy those novels. He’s sort of in the realm of hypotheticals so in a hypothetical world, yeah, I’d jump at the chance to play the character again in the right series.”
Outlander season 6 plot: What will happen?
Outlander season six will be loosely based on Diana Gabaldon’s sixth book, ‘A Breath of Snow and Ashes’.
However, that doesn’t mean upcoming episodes will stick rigidly to the source material, as we’ve already seen for the most recent season. Executive producer Ronald Moore discussed this in more detail with EW: “Every year we approach it fresh. Should we keep it a book a season? We’ve done that up until now. But we’ve talked about splitting books, and we’ve talked about combining them.
“We want to be free in the writers’ room to pick and choose and do what feels most comfortable that year.”
The season-five finale could give us an idea of where things might go in future episodes – and we have lots of questions.
Will Marsali, for example, experience any guilt from that poison injection?
Now that Brianna knows she has a half-brother called William, will she get to meet him? And will Roger’s ascendant, Buck Mackenzie (the son of Dougal and Geillis Duncan), show up to cause trouble?
Graham McTavish, who played Dougal in the first two seasons of Outlander then returned to play his son Buck in season 5, wouldn’t reveal whether he has returned to the set for season 6.
In an exclusive interview with Digital Spy earlier this year, he said: “Buck… I don’t know. I know he’s in the books – I think he is in books seven and eight – but I don’t know… Well, listen, I’ll tell you one thing about this business is that the actors are the last to know!”
Claire has also been through horrific trauma, having been beaten and sexually assaulted by a group of men before being rescued by her husband Jamie. Viewers saw her explain to Jamie that she can’t let the rape shatter her – and the final scene sees her telling him she feels safe in his arms – but there will no doubt be lasting effects as she deals with this in the next season.
“It is a really hard line that we have to tread,” Balfe told Harper’s Bazaar. “Obviously, we try to stick as faithfully to the books as possible, and [rape] is something that creeps up quite often in Diana’s novels. When you have eight or nine books out in the span of 20 years, it probably doesn’t feel like there’s as much, but when you’re compressing all of that down for TV, it becomes quite difficult. We can only try to do it as respectfully and as, I suppose, empoweringly as we can.”
Balfe revealed that they did discuss not showing the attack on-screen, but she felt that it was important to include it: “I felt that if we’re going to do it at all, we have to make it have a point, and have it say something about the experience that can maybe add something positive to the conversation.”
There was also the season five twist that Jamie’s family are not the only time travellers. “It feels like the universe is opening up a bit,” said Heughan (via Deadline).
Meanwhile, Skelton’s character Brianna survived a harrowing sexual assault in season five, before discovering her attacker was unexpectedly still alive and potentially still in pursuit of her.
“Brianna’s pretty much been through everything that could happen to a person,” Skelton said. “But I know that there’s so much more happening next season that will be exciting to see what we’ve got, what the writers do, because it’s always amazing.”
All of this will undoubtedly be tackled further in season six, but what about Outlander’s future beyond that?
Assuming that everything goes well with season six and seven, further renewals seem likely too. Deadline reported that Jeffrey Hirsch, president and CEO of Starz, is open to the idea of developing future seasons: “As long as the fans continue to crave the story, we’ll continue to have Outlander on the air. We are constantly talking to our partners at Sony and the show continues.”
Gabaldon recently revealed the title of the ninth book in the series, set to be released on November 23. It’s called Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, and this is the official synopsis: “The past may seem the safest place to be… but it is the most dangerous time to be alive.
“Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1743, and it took them 20 years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same.
“It is 1779 and Claire and Jamie are at last reunited with their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children on Fraser’s Ridge. Having the family together is a dream the Frasers had thought impossible.
“Yet even in the North Carolina backcountry, the effects of war are being felt.”
We know that the opening episode of season six is called ‘Echoes’ – could it be a reference to the seventh book An Echo in the Bone?
“It is not,” Roberts told Elle. “Which is funny, and I know people are going to leap all over that.”
“When you see the first episode, the title will speak for itself. Each character will be dealing with something from their past and it will help us tell stories going forward. There was a different title on my very first drop. Sometimes that happens. You read it again and you go, wait a minute, hold on a second, there’s something better here.”
We do know one thing – there isn’t going to be a massive time jump.
“No, not significantly, because there’s a lot of story we need to connect. There were a lot of things left in the finale of season five that we still have to tell. It wouldn’t make sense to a new viewer, especially with a lot of the new viewers coming on to Outlander.
“We know we had one of our most successful, most-viewed seasons ever in season five, so we know we’re getting new viewers and a lot of them have not read the book. Those viewers have to be told the same story and get something from it as well as the book readers who know everything that happened – or think they know everything that’s going to happen. Certainly, we keep them on their toes and move things around a little bit so they don’t know exactly when it’s coming.”
Outlander season 6 trailer: When can we see it?
There isn’t a full trailer yet but this teaser trailer was released last month at New York’s Comic Con. It hints that war is coming to Fraser’s Ridge, which will force Jamie and his family to make choices and take sides once again.
Outlander spin-offs: Are there any in the works?
“We are definitely talking about it,” exec producer Ronald D Moore told Variety. “There’s nothing official but we’re in conversations about it.”
During a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, he echoed that and sounded hopeful about a seventh season: “Conversations are underway on both season seven and on a spinoff and I think we’re going to have good news on both those fronts before too long so I feel very optimistic about it.”
We’ve already mentioned the rumours about a Lord John Grey spin-off, but while there has been no official comment on that, Gabaldon has confirmed she’s working on a prequel book about Jamie Fraser’s parents, Ellen and Brian Fraser.
Obviously, that won’t be hitting screens anytime soon, but it’s exciting to know that there are no plans (at least on Gabaldon’s part) to stop the Outlander party just yet.
Outlander season 5 airs on Starz in the US.