“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,” Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement in May of 2018.
And at New York Comic Con in October of 2018, showrunner Ronald Moore confirmed that additional seasons have been approved. “That is a fact,” he said, when asked about seasons five and six.
With that in mind, here’s what we know so far about what’s to come for Jamie and Claire:
Season five won’t premiere until Sunday, February 16, 2020.
Starz broke the news this summer that the show would return in early 2020. “Everything we do is based on delivery, trying to have something on the air to serve that premium female audience,” Jeffrey A. Hirsch, Starz’s chief operating officer told reporters.
“We have some shows coming before like Power that serve the general market. It’s more about scheduling around that digital experience.”
At the 2019 Television Critics Association Summer press tour, he also offered a bit more specific of a timeline.
“Finally, to calm social media down, we will bring the end of ‘Droughtlander.’ The highly anticipated return of the epic and acclaimed series Outlander will debut its fifth season early next year,” Hirsch revealed.
In late August, it was announced that the show will officially return on Sunday, February 16, 2020.
But for those who can’t wait, Starz recently published a first-look at what’s to come:
In April of 2019, actress Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire on the show, posted a sneak peek of the season premiere, albeit a spoiler-free one, on her Instagram account.
This isn’t the first time she’s offered fans a behind-the-scenes look at the season ahead—in March, she shared a video from set.
“And so it begins……. Season 5 (yep that’s 1, 2, 3, 4..FIVE 🙀 ) prep time !!!!” she wrote in the caption. “Excuse the shrill shouting but I was very very excited to catch @jongarysteele on the incredible new set he and his team of genius artisans have built !!! Get READY!!”
And more recently she shared this tweet featuring one of her four-legged castmates.
Balfe’s costar Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie, also recently posted about the upcoming season.
“Getting ready for season 5!!!!! Excited to be working with this talented family again. I’m so lucky! 😊” he wrote on social media, alongside a picture of several key players for the series, including showrunner Ron Moore.
The season will be based on Diana Gabaldon’s novel The Fiery Cross.
Starz has confirmed that the show’s next chapter will be based on Gabaldon’s fifth book in the Outlander series.
“In season four, Jamie and Claire’s decision to remain in the New World changes the course of their life together. After being struck by the beauty of the North Carolina wilderness – untamed and uncultivated – they choose to call it home: Fraser’s Ridge.” executive producer Matthew B. Roberts said in a statement.
“However, what is a ‘dream’ for some is a ‘nightmare’ for others. Being at the center of the birth of America is often a bloody and violent and heartbreaking matter. Now, in Season Five, Jamie and Claire’s duty is not only to their loved ones, but to the community of settlers forming part of the ever-increasing Clan Fraser.”
If you’re not too worried about spoilers, Gabaldon’s website features a summary of the book here.
There’s also a small chance that the show’s writers will deviate from the one-book-per-season model.
“Every year we approach it fresh,” Moore told EW in March of last year. “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.”
But the story will continue to stray, at least in part, from the books.
Notably, Murtagh, a character who was killed off in the book series will continue to play a role on-screen. And as always, there’s more in Gabaldon’s story than there is time to cram in to a 12-episode season.
“What we realized after keeping [Murtagh] alive is, it does affect a lot of the story going forward,” producer Matthew Roberts told Parade.
“At the end of four, when he’s still alive and he’s a regulator and he’s being hunted, it shades how we tell the story in season five, and I will say that it definitely is a part of season five.”
Diana Gabaldon herself recently weighed in on changes from the book in the forthcoming season.
“Naturally (given the length of FIERY CROSS), they can’t stick exactly to the book, but what they’ve essentially done is to take specific pieces and do those quite faithfully (original dialogue and all), with smaller bridges to make it coherent, but not wild-ass whole-scale invention,” she said in a post on TheLitForum.com.
“(And they did have to do stuff with Murtagh, having decided to keep him, but you know, decisions have consequences… . I will say they used that stuff to pretty good effect, to make the War of the Regulation explicable/understandable.)”
Expect the Frasers to get caught up in the American revolution.
As always, Claire and Jamie’s story is intertwined with history, and in season five, that means a rebellion in the colonies.
“Last season was the bridge between our old world and this new world, and now that we’re settled in, there’s a lot of events ramping up,” explains Balfe in the clip below. “You know, history has a way of pulling the Frasers into it.”
But Jamie might not be on the side you’d expect. After fighting against the British in Scotland, he will side with the red coats in the war.
“He’s actually on the opposite side of the side where his allegiance really is and his loyalty lies, but he knows he needs to do it,” Heughan told Parade. “He needs to do it for his family and for his tenants. He has to secure this land and make it a safe place for them, so he goes in league with the British.”
The cast for season five includes a furry new member.
In May, the official Outlander Twitter account revealed a new member of the Fraser clan: a cat named Adso. Get all the detail on the kitten here.
In addition to the kitty, most of your favorite Outlander actors—including Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, David Berry, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin, and Duncan Lacroix—are all expected to return to the series for season five.
As are a few new faces. It’s been announced that Leonard Cook and Mark Barrett are joining the show though at this point, it’s unclear which roles they will play.
Similarly, a set of twins has also been cast, likely to play one of Jamie’s grandchildren.
Balfe and Heughan are taking on new roles this season.
Don’t worry, they’ll still be playing Claire and Jamie, but they’re also serving as executive producers on the series.
“It’s important to have a say. We’ve built these characters from day one, and I think we feel—especially when so many of our core writers are not on the show anymore and we’ve got new writers coming in—it’s [important] to retain that through-line throughout all the seasons,” Balfe told Harper’s Bazaar of the change.
Actress Sophie Skelton suggests that there’s still drama to come for Brianna and Roger in season five.
If you recall, season four ended with an emotional reunion for the couple, but they might not have found their happily ever after just yet.
“I have a feeling there will be some difficulties, but obviously we don’t know any of that yet,” Skelton shared in an interview with TV Line.
“They haven’t really sat down and had any conversations yet,” Skelton said. “They left on a big fight, and they haven’t even talked that out, and now they’ve got a baby to think of, too…They could put everything that happened aside, or it could complicate things and make things harder.”
Unfortunately season five will only have 12 episodes.
It’ll be a bit shorter than previous seasons, which featured 13.
Need to catch up on previous seasons?
We’ll be sure to update this post as soon as we know more about season five, but in the meantime, click the link below to watch previous episodes of Outlander, or, count down the minutes until Sam Heughan’s new podcast launches:
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