BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

Outlander Season 6: Everything We Know

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We’re looking down the barrel of the longest Droughtlander yet, but it’s finally official: Outlander will return with season 6 in early 2022 on Starz.

The network announced the big news on June 1—known as “World Outlander Day” to fans—with a caveat: season 6 will be shortened to just eight episodes, while the forthcoming season 7 will be extended to 16. The premiere episode of season 6 will run at 90 minutes long.

“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,” Outlander showrunner Matthew B. Roberts said 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. Dinna fash, we will then film an extended season 7 with 16 episodes next year as life returns to normalcy.”

This isn’t unprecedented—the first season of Outlander, which premiered in 2014, was also comprised of 16 episodes and aired in two parts.

Below, everything we know about season 6 of the hit Starz series—from the latest from set 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, slated for release on November 23, 2021. You can pre-order it right now.

Season 6 will finish filming the first week of June.

Starz made the announcement on June 1, and Heughan shared some photos the same day to announce that he wrapped on Friday, May 30.

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On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, Starz announced that season 6 of Outlander is currently in production in Scotland. Executive producer Matthew B. Roberts told ELLE.com that “keeping everybody safe is paramount” while shooting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: “We had to figure out how to make sure we tested everybody a million times before they walked onto set and keep that bubble as safe as possible.”

Here’s how the network describes the new season:

The sixth season of Outlander sees a continuation of Claire and Jamie’s fight to protect those they love, as they navigate the trials and tribulations of life in colonial America. Establishing a home in the New World is by no means an easy task, particularly in the wild backcountry of North Carolina—and perhaps most significantly—during a period of dramatic political upheaval. The Frasers strive to maintain peace and flourish within a society which—as Claire knows all too well—is unwittingly marching towards Revolution. Against this backdrop, which heralds the birth of the new American nation, Claire and Jamie have built a home together at Fraser’s Ridge. They must now defend this home—established on land granted to them by the Crown—not only from external forces, but also from the increasing strife and conflict in the community within their care. For the Frasers and their immediate family, “home” is more than simply a site in which they live, it is the place where they are laying the foundations for the rest of their lives. If Season 4 asked “What is home?” and Season 5 asked, “What are you willing to do to protect your home?” then Season 6 explores what happens when there is disharmony and division among the inhabitants of the home you’ve created: when you become an outsider, or an ‘outlander,’ so to speak, marginalized and rejected in your own home.

And the Scottish weather has been far from accomodating, according to Heughan. He told the U.K.’s This Morning in March that the Outlander cast and crew have had to contend with snow and rain during filming. “We started in January and it’s going well; obviously it’s been tough with COVID protocols, but also the weather in Scotland has been pretty horrendous,” he revealed. “The snow has been bad but it feels like the spring is finally here, there is hope around the corner!”

The Christies have been cast.

Book readers know the Christie family cause nothing but trouble for the Frasers, and on March 19, Starz released character descriptions for Tom (Mark Lewis Jones), Allan (Alexander Vlahos), and Malva Christie (Jessica Reynolds).

the christie family on outlander
Meet the Christies: Malva (Jessica Reynolds), Tom (Mark Lewis Jones), and Allan (Alexander Vlahos).

Robert Wilson

Here’s how Starz describes their characters:

Tom Christie, a fellow Ardsmuir prisoner and devout Protestant, arrives on Fraser’s Ridge seeking a place to settle. As de facto leader of the Protestant settlers who arrive with him, Tom’s strong opinion and convictions begin to create tension on the Ridge.

Allan Christie travels to the Ridge with his father Tom and his sister Malva. Headstrong and wary of strangers, he is highly protective of his family as they settle into this new environment.

Malva Christie is Tom’s young, spirited daughter. She is captivated by Claire’s work and modern thinking, which gets Malva in trouble with her conservative father. She struggles to toe the line between what she wants to do and what is expected of her.

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    There are 8 episodes in the new season.

      “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 Outlander Twitter account announced in June.

      Filming on season 6 was postponed due to the coronavirus.

      On May 3, 2020, Heughan tweeted that season 6 was supposed to start filming that week.

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      Thankfully, pre-production was underway by late 2020, and the cast shared a holiday treat on December 25: a behind-the-scenes look at the costume department. 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.

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      “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.”

      A Breath of Snow and Ashes

      bookshop.org

      $9.19

      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.”

      Jamie and Claire’s relationship will undergo a “revolution” of its own.

      Roberts teases big changes for the Frasers in the new season: “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,” he told ELLE.com. “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.”

      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 on 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.”

      The show and the cast have shared many behind-the-scenes photos and vides on their social media accounts.

      On March 29, the Outlander Twitter account premiered a minute-long video teasing Outlander season 6. In addition to new behind-the-scenes footage, the cast teases “new faces, new families…lots of new characters, lots of new relationships, lots of potential drama.”

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      The cast has also kept busy with content.

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      Vlahos has been particularly prolific…

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      Hopefully they’ll all keep the updates coming.

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