Starz reassured Outlander fans that they would be seeing more of Claire and Jamie’s steamy romance for a couple more years when the network renewed the much-loved historical time travel drama for Seasons 5 and 6 even before Season 4 premiered.
The 13-episode Season 4 was still being filmed in Scotland when Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht confirmed in May 2018 that there will be Outlander Seasons 5 and 6.
“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,” Albrecht said in a statement released on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.
At the screening of the Outlander premiere that took place at New York Comic Con in October, Showrunner Ronald Moore also reassured anxious fans that the renewal of the series for Seasons 5 and 6 was a “fact.”
Executive producer Maril Davis added that the series writers were already working on Outlander Season 5.
“We’re already back in the writers’ room,” Davis said. “The writers are actually working not as we speak — hopefully they’re on the weekend — but we are already working on Season 5.”
Now that we can rest easy that Claire and Jamie, and the rest of the Outlander characters, will be back in Seasons 5 and 6 for new exciting adventures on the time travel drama, fans are asking questions.
They want to know when Outlander Season 5 will premiere, who is included in the returning cast, and what to expect of the plot and storyline of Outlander Season 5 and Outlander Season 6.
Here is everything we know so far about Outlander Season 5 and Outlander Season 6, including release dates, trailers, latest casting news, plot updates and spoilers.
Outlander Season 5 release date
Fans are bracing for a prolonged “Droughtlander” after Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire Randall in the Outlander TV series, revealed in May 2018 that they would be taking seven months off between filming of the Season 4 finale and the filming of the Season 5 premiere.
“We have an extended hiatus, we have about seven months off,” Caitriona told Digital Spy at the 2018 BAFTA TV Awards.
Starz later confirmed that Outlander Season 5 production will start in February 2019. Going by previous production schedules, filming is expected to last eight to nine months, that is, until the fall or early winter of 2019.
When we factor in the time for post-production, it means that the earliest likely release date for Outlander Season 5 is February or spring 2020.
The 16-episode Outlander Season 1 premiered in August 2014, while Season 2 premiered in April 2016. Season 3 of the series debuted on Starz in September 2017, while Season 4 debuted in November 2018, two months later than fans had expected.
Outlander Seasons 5 and 6 details
Outlander is developed and executive produced by Ronald D. Moore, alongside Maril Davis, Toni Graphia, Matthew B. Roberts and Andy Harries. Moore is known for having co-written the Battlestar Galactica (TV Miniseries 2013) with Glen A. Larson.
The production companies behind the Outlander series include Sony Pictures Television, Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Co. and Left Bank Pictures.
Outlander is based on the novel series of the same name by author Diana Gabaldon.
The series stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a British Army nurse from the World War 2 period, who travels back in time to Scotland in 1743, a few years before the 1745 Jacobite rising (the Forty-five rebellion) launched by Charles Edward Stuart at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands.
Claire meets and falls in love with the Highland soldier Jamie Fraser, although she is already married in her time to Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies).
The confirmation of Outlander for Season 5 and Season 6 did not come entirely as a surprise to fans. Talks for Outlander Season 5 has started before Season 3 of the series ended in December 2017, long before Outlander Season 4 premiered in November 2018.
“I can tell you there are early talks on us doing [Outlander Season 5] to absolutely not have an extended Droughtlander like we’ve had before,” Sony exec Chris Parnell told Entertainment Weekly Radio back in November 2017.
Starz CEO Albrecht had also promised fans and TV critics at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Press Tour in January 2018 that they needn’t worry about the delay in renewing the time-travel series for Season 5.
“I wouldn’t worry too much about that,” he said when asked why Outlander had not been renewed for Season 5. “There are ten books, and we are having very productive conversations about the future of the show.”
“We are certainly going to do it,” Moore also reassured fans back in March at the show’s For Your Consideration panel in L.A, according to Entertainment Weekly. “I have no doubt we are doing a Season 5.”
Outlander cast members celebrated the renewal of the series for Seasons 5 and 6
“So thrilled to announce that we have been picked up for not one but two more seasons,” Balfe shared excitedly on Instagram after Albrecht’s announcement in May.
“This series has been such a dream come true and to know that we will get to continue to tell the story of these characters that we love so much makes me so bloody happy.”
Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser, also confirmed on Instagram that a date had been set to start the filming of Outlander Season 5. He also shared his excitement about the renewal of the series with fans on Twitter.
Balfe also celebrated on Twitter.
Audience and critical response to the series so far
Outlander quickly established itself as a hit when it premiered on Starz in August 2014. Outlander Season 3, for instance, averaged 5.8 million viewers on multiple platforms and was the second most popular scripted series among women, coming only after HBO’s Game of Thrones.
On Rotten Tomatoes, Outlander Season 1 scored an approval rating of 91 percent based on 52 reviews, while Season 2 scored an approval rating of 96 percent based on 23 reviews. On Metacritic, Outlander Season 1 earned a “generally favorable” Metascore of 73/100 based on 34 critical reviews.
Outlander Season 5 production
Filming of Outlander Season 5 is set to start in February 2019 and it is expected to last eight to nine months. The renewal of Outlander for Seasons 5 and 6 covers 24 episodes, with each season consisting of 12 episodes.
Outlander Season 1 consisted of 16 episodes, while Seasons 2 and 3 were 13 episodes apiece.
Although the Outlander Season 4 story is set in North Carolina, executive producer Moore shared in August 2017 that most of the shooting took place in Scotland at Wardpark Studios, Cumbernauld.
He also revealed that locations in Eastern Europe were used to recreate some of the landscape of North Carolina.
The producers have so far shared only very few details about filming and filming locations for Outlander Season 5, but it is expected that they will continue to use locations in Scotland and Eastern Europe for the filming.
Outlander is based on the series of eight novels by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander Season 5 will be based on the fifth installment of Gabaldon’s Outlander books series, titled The Fiery Cross (2001). Outlander Season 6 will be based on the sixth installment of the series, titled A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005).
Outlander Seasons 1 and 2 were based on the first and second installments of Gabaldon’s book series, titled Outlander (1991) and Dragonfly in Amber (1992) respectively.
Season 3 and 4 were based on the third and fourth installments of the Gabaldon book series, titled Voyagers (1993) and Drums of Autumn (1996) respectively.
Outlander fans will be pleased to learn that the TV series isn’t likely to run out of Gabaldon books to draw inspiration from very soon. There are still two more books in the series — An Echo in the Bone (2009) and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (2014).
Gabaldon is currently working on another book titled Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone, which is expected to be published this year (2019).
If the Outlander TV series continues to follow the pattern since its inception of basing each season on a book from the Gabaldon series, Outlander’s run on Starz could potentially extend until Season 10.
However, the producers have hinted that they might reconsider basing each season on a book of Gabaldon’s series and instead split the books unevenly across seasons.
“Every year we approach it fresh,” Moore told Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
And yes! fans will get to see more of those steamy Jamie and Claire love scenes Outlander is famous for.
Outlander has a reputation for racy scenes. However, in an interview with Glamour, Balfe insisted she did not think that the series’ reputation is deserved.
“It’s funny, because there’s probably less sex in our show than people think,” she said.
“It’s just when we do it, we try to empower these two characters to represent this metaphysical and all-encompassing love, so we get branded as ‘It’s so sexy!’ But if you look at the amount of episodes that it features in, it’s not in every single one.”
Terry Dresbach leaves Outlander
The sad news broke in July 2018 that costume designer Terry Dresbach, married to the series creator Ronald Moore, was leaving the series due to health issues. As costume designer, Dresbach played a key role in the adaptation of the Outlander book series for TV.
She shared the news in a series of heartbreaking Twitter messages.
Dresbach has received two Emmy nominations for her work on Outlander.
Outlander Season 5 trailer
Starz has not unveiled a trailer for Outlander Season 5. Filming of the upcoming season is expected to start in February 2019, so a trailer is still months away. We will update this page as soon as the network drops an official trailer for the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, enjoy the trailer for Season 4.
Outlander Season 5 cast
Starz has confirmed that the series’ lead actors Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire Randall, and Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie Fraser, are returning for Outlander Seasons 5 and 6.
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht emphasized at the TCA Press Tour in January 2018 that they plan to keep the pair of Caitriona and Sam in their lead roles.
“I think our biggest problem will be making sure that we don’t kill Caitriona and Sam along the way,” he said.
Outlander executive producer Moore also confirmed in a March 2018 interview with Elle that Sophie Skelton would return as Brianna Randall Fraser for Outlander Season 5.
Moore revealed that in Season 4, Brianna will also be time-traveling to North Carolina, and that she will be with Jim and Claire in Season 5.
“The path that she [Brianna] takes to make that journey is very different than the path that Claire took,” he said.
“She goes for a different purpose, and in a different way than Claire did, and once she arrives there, she has a different set of problems than what Claire dealt with.”
Ceaser Domboy has also confirmed he will return as Fergus for Outlander Season 5, according to Digital Spy.
Starz has confirmed that that Richard Rankin, who plays Roger Wakefield, Brianna’s Oxford academic partner, will return for Season 5.
Other members of the cast expected to return for Outlander Season 5 include John Bell as Young Ian Fraser Murray, and Lauren Lyle as Marsali MacKimmie Fraser.
Starz is yet to confirm that Ed Speleers, who debuted as Irishman Stephen Bonnet in Season 4, will return in Season 5. Will he survive that long or will Bonnet die in Season 4? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Similarly, it has not been confirmed that actors who debuted in Season 4, including Maria Doyle Kennedy as Aunt Jocasta, Billy Boyd as Gerald Forbes, Tim Downie as Governor William Tyron, Caitlin O’Ryan as Lizzie, and Natalie Simpson as Phaedra, will return for Season 5.
However, fans can expect to see new faces in Outlander Season 5. We will update this page when new castings are announced.
EP Moore has hinted that Tobias Menzies could return as Frank Randall or his evil predecessor Black Jack Randall in Season 4, and in subsequent seasons, likely as flashbacks or memories.
Although Black Jack Randall died in the Season 3 premiere and Frank died in Season 3, episode 3, Moore told Elle that “there’s a chance you might see Frank again.”
You won’t really be seeing Black Jack again this season,” Moore said, “but there’s a chance you might see Frank again.”
“It’s hard because obviously Frank is dead,” Davis also said. “But you know what, certainly in the book anyway, we always see flashbacks of Claire’s relationship with Frank. We love that.”
Frank appeared in a number of flashbacks in Season 4, episode 7 (Down the Rabbit Hole), aired on December 16, and we might see more of him in Seasons 5 or 6.
Outlander Seasons 5 and 6: Plot
The TV series is based on the novel series by Diana Gabaldon. Outlander follows Claire Randall, an ex-British Army nurse, who travels in 1946 — immediately after World War 2 — to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, with her husband Frank.
Outlander Season 1 summary
One day, Claire goes for a walk and comes across a circle of standing stones at Craigh na Dun. She walks through the mysterious standing tones and travels back in time to Scotland in 1743, at the time of the Jacobite rising.
She meets and falls in love with a Highland soldier Jamie Fraser, although she is married to Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies).
She also meets Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall, Frank’s evil ancestor, who captures Jamie and tortures him. Claire rescues Jamie and together they escape to France.
Outlander Season 2 summary
Outlander Season 2 is set in Paris and follows Jamie’s effort to sabotage the Jacobites, but he is unable to prevent the risings. Black Jack Randall also appears in Paris, and to secure the lineage of her 20th century husband Frank, Claire prevents Jamie from killing Randall so that he can marry and have a child.
Claire returns to Scotland with Jamie, and then returns to the 20th century pregnant with Jamie’s daughter Brianna.
Outlander Season 3 summary
In Season 3, Jamie Kills Frank’s ancestor the evil “Black Jack” Randall. Frank dies in an accident.
Claire learns through the Oxford historian Roger Wakefield that Jamie survived the Battle of Culloden in 1746. But when Claire returns to the 18th Century she finds that Jamie has remarried since she left him.
Claire and Jaime try to pay off Jamie’s wife by finding some hidden treasure. But while they try to retrieve the treasure, pirates kidnap Jamie’s nephew Young Ian and take him to the Caribbean.
Jamie and Claire follow them and save Ian, but while sailing back to Scotland, they are shipwrecked in colonial Georgia.
Outlander Season 4 summary
Outlander Season 4 picks up where Season 3 left off, after Claire and Jamie’s arrival in Georgia. Jamie and Claire are stranded in North Carolina, and after trying unsuccessfully to return to Scotland, they go to the slave plantation of Jocasta Cameron, Jamie’s aunt.
They later strike out on their own and settle on a piece of land, Fraser’s Ridge, where they clash with the native Cherokee.
Back in the 20th Century, Roger proposes marriage to Briana but she rejects him. She goes to Inverness and travels through the stones to the 18th century to visit her mother, Claire and to meet Jamie, her real father.
What to expect of Season 5
Outlander Season 5 will take inspiration from the fifth installment of Gabaldon’s Outlander book series, The Fiery Cross (2001).
Although the producers of the TV series have not released an official synopsis of Outlander Season 5, a description of the book on Gabaldon’s official website gives an idea of what to expect of the upcoming season.
The story is set in North Carolina, in the time of the War of the Regulation, the first tax-payer’s rebellion in the American colonies that preceded the American Revolution.
Jamie is required to join a militia to fight for the King, but he feels conflicted in his loyalty to the crown.
The story follows Jamie’s struggle to protect his family and his land, and build his community on Fraser’s Ridge. His efforts are partly hindered by his wife Claire who becomes the “conjure-woman” in the Fraser’s Ridge community.
Their daughter Brianna and her partner Roger MacKenzie also pose a challenge to Jamie. Jamie and Roger have an uneasy relationship. Jamie had once sold Roger to the Mohawk under the mistaken impression that he carried out an attack on his daughter.
What to expect of Season 6
Outlander Season 6 will likewise take inspiration from the sixth installment of Gabaldon’s Outlander book series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005).
A Breath of Snow and Ashes picks up where The Fiery Cross left off. The story follows Jamie’s personal struggle to find freedom in the New World while maintaining an appearance of loyalty to the crown.
Jamie and his family become caught up in the mayhem of the American Revolution and he is forced, at last, to declare his loyalty to the rebel cause although this means the loss of all that he has worked for.
A band of marauders attack Fraser’s Ridge and Jamie must fight to protect his loved ones. Amid the ravages and lawlessness of the war, Roger MacKenzie wants to become a Presbyterian priest.
Before his ordination, he receives news that his wife Brianna, Jamie and Claire’s daughter, has been kidnapped by the rogue Stephen Bonnet. He abandons his planned ordination and goes with Jamie and Young Ian to rescue his wife.
They end up in a bloody struggle with pirates on the island of Ocracoke.
Ocracoke is also the site of a small circle of standing stones that is focus of the moving resolution of the saga.