We're looking down the barrel of the longest Droughtlander yet, but the beloved cast and crew of Outlander are intent on keeping us apprised of the latest from set (and, er, Zoom) in the meantime.
Below, everything we know about season 6 of the hit Starz series—from what's going on with pre-production to what to expect for Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Jamie (Sam Heughan), Brianna (Sophie Skelton), and Roger (Richard Rankin) when the show returns.
Season 6 will largely pull from Diana Gabaldon's A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
Though season 5 depicted several plot points from book six in the Outlander series, including the death of Stephen Bonnet and a brutal attack on Claire, most of the content of the new season will still come from that installment, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, which tracks the Frasers through the years just preceding the Revolutionary War.
Here's how publisher Penguin Random House describes it:
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.
Executive producer Maril Davis expanded on this in an August 2020 PaleyFest interview, per Parade:
The original Outlander is my favorite, but A Breath of Snow and Ashes is my second favorite… There is so much for everyone in it. Jamie and Claire, their love deepens; Roger and Brianna, they have their own journey, and something fun and new happens with them. Caitlin O’Ryan, who plays Lizzie, has a great story, and she is such a phenomenal actress. There are just so many exciting things.
Gabaldon has published eight books in the Outlander series so far, with a ninth, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, "close" to finished.
There are 12 episodes in the new season.
Just like season 5.
Filming on season 6 has been postponed due to the coronavirus.
On May 3, 2020, Heughan tweeted that season 6 was supposed to start filming that week.
We were supposed to start this week. We have scheduled for Fall. Will just have to see... 🤞 https://t.co/NxLusL0hWV
— Sam Heughan (@SamHeughan) May 4, 2020
But pre-production is underway.
The cast of Outlander shared a holiday treat on December 25: a behind-the-scenes look at the show's costume department, where pre-production work is taking place. Balfe, Heughan, Skelton, and Rankin all make appearances in the three-minute clip and drop hints about the season along the way. "We're very excited to bring the show to you as soon as possible," Balfe says.
— Outlander (@Outlander_STARZ) December 25, 2020
"We have to dress a lot of people, because there are many, many more settlers coming to Fraser's Ridge," Heughan notes. He also teases a new conflict with Tom Christie, "one of Jamie's ancient foes" from his Ardsmuir Prison days. "There's a bit of a power play," he says.
As for Bree, Skelton says, "We're gonna see a lot more this season of the modern Brianna…her inventor cap will be on."
And Balfe contributes an ominous hint: "Things are coming to the Ridge that will even challenge Claire Fraser's medical knowledge."
Yes, a war is coming.
That's one thing we can count on. The Revolutionary Way is on the horizon, and the Frasers will, of course, get swept up in the action.
"I think we've always done really [well] with the action sequences," Heughan told ELLE.com of shooting battle sequences back in May 2020. "Certainly I think it's one of my stronger points in the show. It's nice when we get a bit of everything."
Season 6 will address Claire's recovery from the traumatic events of the season 5 finale.
The season 5 finale, titled "Never My Love, saw Claire kidnapped and raped by a group of men furious that she inspired their wives to demand agency. "For Claire, this is going to be an ongoing journey of recovery," Balfe told ELLE.com after the finale aired. "She will probably try to plow on and get back to normality, but I don't think she's fully aware of just how difficult, subconsciously and psychologically, that's going to be for her."
In the Outlander End of Summer series that aired last September, Heughan expanded where we find the Frasers at the end of the finale: "When we left Season 5, the whole family is fractured," he said. "They are together but Claire still has some healing to do."
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