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Starz's Outlander Season 6 has wrapped production.
Season 6 will be largely based on the book A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
Season 7 is also a go—here's everything we know about season 6, including its premiere date.
Starz has announced the end of the most torturous Droughtlander ever: Outlander season 6 *finally* has a premiere date. The fantasy-historical-romance-drama based on Diana Gabaldon's book series will return in early 2022. The network shared the happy news on June, known to fans as World Outlander Day—the same date Gabaldon published Outlander in 1991.
"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,” showrunner Matthew B. Roberts said in a press release. Roberts also explained that it'll be a slightly slimmer season than originally planned. “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," he wrote.
Outlander wrapped shooting on season 5 waaay back in November 2019, and like many TV and film productions, production on season 6 came to a screeching halt in early 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. When we last saw Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe), the couple and the rest of their clan had gone to great lengths to protect Fraser's Ridge from a barrage of threats: Stephen Bonnet, the battle between Governor Tryon and the North Carolina Regulators, and terrifying locust swarms, just to name a few. Co-star Sophie Skelton wasn't kidding when she told Oprah Daily that "everyone has their own trauma" in season 5.
The season closed with Claire reeling from a terrifying kidnapping and assault at the hands of Lionel Brown and his men. Season 6 is sure to bring fresh catastrophes, new faces, and hopefully, some red-hot Jamie and Claire sex scenes. Here's everything else we know about Outlander season 6—and yes, there will be a season 7.
The premiere date is set for "early 2022."
While Starz hasn't announced an exact date yet, at least we know its release will come in early spring of 2022 at the latest.
It will be 8 episodes, cut down from 12.
While the slimmed-down season is a bummer, there IS a silver lining.
"With the challenges of filming in these unprecedented times, Season 6 will be eight episodes with production on an extended, sixteen-episode Season 7 beginning next year," the show announced on their Instagram account.
Production on Outlander season 6 wrapped in June.
"Annnnnd that’s a wrap!!!! .... what a season," Balfe tweeted on June 1. "A huge thank you to our amazing crew who worked so hard this season through really tough circumstances and also to our amazing fans who’ve stuck with us."
Things looked a bit different when the show's cast and crew first returned to film in Scotland in the winter of 2021. "Obviously, with all the new COVID protocols, we're making sure everyone is kept safe," Heughan told Oprah Daily in February, shortly after production had resumed. "We're very fortunate to be working right now."
No trailer yet, but there are photos.
Enjoy your first Outlander season 6 sneak peek below. Very concerned about that baby Roger's holding.
The Christie family will make waves on the Ridge.
Every season brings new characters into Jamie and Claire's orbit, and book readers are already familiar with a new family who'll turn up on Fraser's Ridge. While the Christie family actually debuts in the book that season 5 was largely based on, The Fiery Cross, that season's plot was simply too packed for their shenanigans.
Welsh actor Mark Lewis Jones portrays Tom Christie, "a fellow Ardsmuir prisoner and devout Protestant who arrives on Fraser’s Ridge seeking a place to settle... though not without some tension." If you'll remember, Jamie was imprisoned at Ardsmuir in season 3.
Jessica Reynolds plays Malva Christie, who—we're told—is Tom's daughter. Per the show's introduction, Malva "is captivated by Claire’s work and modern thinking, getting her into trouble with her conservative father."
Actor Alexander Vlahos rounds out the family as Allan Christie, Malva's brother. "Those of you who've read the books know that Allan has a very dark history," Vlahos says in a behind-the-scenes video shared to the show's Instagram. "But he's also trying to find his way in the world."
It's based on the book A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
Thus far, each season's been based on an installment in Diana Gabaldon's book series (while the ninth, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, is still in progress, you can read excerpts on Gabaldon's site). The events of season 5 were largely drawn from book five, The Fiery Cross, but toward the end it also took a storyline from A Breath of Snow and Ashes. Season 6 will continue to draw from that material.
You can read what happens in that book here (heavy spoilers alert!). If you want to remain unspoiled, just re-read this synopsis from Penguin Random House between rewatches until we have fresh episodes one day:
"The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown.
But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence—with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future."
The pandemic didn't affect the plot—or love scenes.
Rest assured Jamie and Claire won't be keeping six feet apart at all times. "I didn't want me or the staff changing what the story is for COVID," executive producer Matthew B. Roberts told Elle, saying the cast and crew are tested constantly. "We have a lot of intimate scenes—that's where we live and breathe."
poll id='c9efab01-417c-46a9-9ff5-3ef5737b169c_3eda7d5db32a3' type='text' question='Where do you watch Outlander?' answer1='Starz' answer2='Netflix'][/poll]
"I don't know how to write 'COVID-friendly scenes,' certainly not an Outlander scene, because we are going to have people next to each other, being emotional—you talk close to people, and that's where it transfers COVID," Roberts continued. "We had to figure out, how do we keep Outlander, Outlander?"
The solution involved tweaking the action in the original scripts as needed alongside U.K. producer Guy Tannahill and Mike Gunn, who replaces the show's longtime production designer Jon Gary Steele.
When it comes to creating a big gathering, like the wedding that began season 5, they'll lean digital effects over real-life extras. "Every year, Outlander has a big event and we're still planning that event," Roberts told Elle. "We'll film [the background extras] at a separate time, [then] put it all together in post, and it's seamless."
There won't be a significant time jump since last season either, despite the delay, because "there's a lot of story we need to connect," Roberts says. "There were a lot of things left in the finale of season 5 that we still have to tell."
The 90-minute season premiere is titled "Echoes."
That's not a reference to An Echo in the Bone, Gabaldon's seventh book in the series, Roberts tells Elle. "When you see the first episode, the title will speak for itself," he teases. "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."
The end of season 5 ended with an intensely traumatic situation for Claire; meanwhile, the colonies are on the brink of the Revolutionary War. "I think what's going on in the world at the time, 1775, is really similar to what's going on with Jamie and Claire," Roberts revealed to Elle. "There's going to be a revolution with them as well, and I think that's what's going on throughout the season: You have a foundation and when that foundation is shaken and there is a revolution, you have to deal with it. That's kind of the theme of the season."
Will there be a season 7?
YES! The Outlander cast confirmed the news on March 14, 2021. In a video posted to the show's social accounts, Heughan, Balfe, Skelton, and Rankin read fan tweets pleading for an update.
"Am I coming back to work next year, and can I have a bigger trailer?'" Heughan reads, in a tweet supposedly from one @CaitrionaBalfe. "I'm afraid, Caitriona, no you can't have a bigger trailer, however...you ARE coming back from season 7, yes!"
"So excited to continue this story and thanks to all our fans .... if you didn’t watch, we wouldn’t get to film!" Balfe tweeted following the announcement.
Starz jointly announced seasons 5 and 6 way back in May 2018, so the news has been a long time coming. Back in January 2020, TVLine reported that executive producer Maril Davis said at a Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour show, "There are still many more books to go. We're willing if the actors are willing." Still, this was said pre-pandemic, so it feels that much better to get official word.
"I hope we continue for years," Heughan tweeted during a fan Q&A in March of 2020. "There have been discussions. Just hope you all keep watching!"
"As long as the fans continue to crave the story, we’ll continue to have Outlander on the air,” Deadline quoted Jeffrey Hirsch, president and CEO of Starz, as saying. That means we'll hold out hope for a season 8, too.
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