For fans of any television show, nothing is worse than that inevitable hiatus between seasons. For some fandoms, like Game of Thrones and now Outlander, that hiatus stretches much longer than we all may like, but that time gives producers and writers the chance to bring something epic and satisfying. With Outlander moving on to the third book in the series, Voyager, this extended break between seasons better brings us all the best damn season ever after Starz’s recent announcement about Claire and Jamie and their story.
The collective teeth-gnashing of Sassenachs grew even fiercer when Starz announced that their award-winning original series Outlander, based on the best-selling series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, will return in September 2017. Fans everywhere had long held out hope that the show would return in the spring or summer of 2017, but the long shooting schedule meant that a mid-year premiere was unlikely. Starz put us all out of the collective speculation game by announcing a premiere month, but still no premiere date. That information is still forthcoming.
Season two’s finale, which introduced us to the timeline that will pick up in season three, aired July 9, 2016, which means that it will be over a year since Sassenachs had a new episode when the show finally returns in September.
Tide Us Over Then
While we all wait for new Outlander episodes, Starz will air the first two seasons every Friday evening at 9 pm Eastern (8 pm Central) starting this Friday, March 3rd. The series’ first episode, “Sassenach,” will kick off this weekly trickle to the premiere of season three. Because the channel will air both seasons over the next twenty-nine weeks, this is a great chance to revisit the series or suck in new fans if you know of someone who hasn’t had a chance to catch Outlander from the beginning.
Additionally, one great way to distract you from the seemingly interminable length of Droughtlander is to reread Gabaldon’s novels. Her next Outlander novel, Go Tell the Bees I Am Gone, may not be out until next year (no official release date is set), but the collection Seven Stones to Stand or Fall is due out in June. This collects several Outlander-related novellas, including Virgins, which tells the story of Jamie Fraser and Ian Murray as young mercenaries in France; A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows, which tells the story of Roger Mackenzie’s parents during World War II; The Space Between, a novella which reveals something very interesting about the Comte St. Germain, Claire’s villainous rival from season two; and more, including a couple of Lord John Grey novels. This newest collection from Gabaldon will be available in hardcover and ebook June 27th.
New Cast Members for Season Three
This new season will cover the third book of the Outlander series, Voyager, picking up where we last left these characters in both the hours before Culloden and in 1968, twenty-two years after Claire’s return to Frank and the 20th century. In the last episode of season two, we met Brianna Randall (Sophie Skelton), Jamie and Claire’s daughter that forced Claire’s return to the 20th century, and adult Roger (Mackenzie) Wakefield (Richard Rankin), the nephew of Reverend Wakefield, Frank Randall’s good friend. This new season adds more faces to the Outlander family and has us saying hello to two faces from season two, both now grown to adulthood:
- Gary Young (Mr. Willoughby) – Jamie’s mysterious Chinese friend is part of his entourage of interesting people he’s managed to accrue during his twenty-year separation from Claire.
- Charlie Hiett (Captain Thomas Leonard) – When a kidnapping forces Jamie and Claire to brave a journey from Scotland to the Americas, they encounter a ship named the Porpoise, filled to the gills with problems for both of the Frasers.
- Hannah James (Geneva Dunsany) – When Jamie Fraser is finally paroled from prison for his role in the Jacobite Rising, he is sent to Helwater Estate to serve as a groom for the Dunsany family. There, he has the misfortune of meeting Geneva Dunsany, who blackmails him into one night of intimacy with far-reaching consequences.
- Tanya Reynolds (Isobel Dunsany) – Isobel is Geneva’s sister; though her part in Voyager is small, she plays a role in the story to come so undoubtedly the producers wanted to go ahead and familiarize audiences with this young woman.
- Lauren Lyle (Marsali) – The dreaded Laoghaire returns in season three along with her daughters, who count Jamie Fraser as one of their male influences. Marsali is the oldest, who also harbors feelings for another Fraser, the adopted French one.
- César Domboy (adult Fergus Fraser) – When we last saw Fergus on the day of Culloden, Jamie has sent him off to deliver the deed of sasine, which signed the rights to Lallybroch over to Jamie Murray, Jenny and Ian’s oldest child. In season three, twenty years later, Fergus is grown to adulthood and still fiercely loyal to his adopted father and family.
- Wil Johnson (Joe Abernathy) – With Frank gone and the knowledge that Jamie survived Culloden still fresh, Claire has to decide what to do with her future. Joe Abernathy is one of her fellow surgeons and a trusted friend to her in 1968 Boston, who becomes much more important to the lives of both Claire and Brianna after their return from Scotland.
- John Bell (Young Ian Fraser Murray) – Jenny and Ian’s youngest child Ian has an adventurous start in life thanks to his uncle Jamie and never seems to lose his restlessness that pushes him toward helping Jamie and Claire on a treasure hunt. While he’s at it, though, he gets kidnapped by pirates, thus pushing the Frasers away from Scotland and toward the New World.
- David Berry (Lord John Grey) – We first met Lord John Grey as a teenager who has snuck into the Jacobite camps and gets his arm broken by one Jamie Fraser. That meeting prompts a chain of events that sees Jamie’s life spared after Culloden. The two meet again when Jamie is sent to prison for treason and, from then on, their lives are forever intertwined in one way or another.
The actors selected for these roles, a number of which are crucial to the story of Jamie and Claire going forward, look like they fit their parts rather perfectly, something the producers have been great at doing thus far. I look forward to their debuts in these roles in September.
Here Be Speculation
Last year, Starz announced that it was moving its original series to Sunday nights to compete with the popular lineups on channels like HBO, which have made that evening the go-to spot for must-see TV. As part of Starz’s cache of original programming, Outlander will also be moving from Saturday to Sunday nights. With the last episode of season two likely airing on September 15th, this puts the season three premiere either September 17th or that next Sunday, September 24th. As of today, this is only speculation; no sources can corroborate the dates I name here. However, with Starz announcing September as the premiere month for the newest season of Outlander and the channel’s decision to air one episode of the series each Friday night starting this week, the sixteen episodes of season one and the thirteen of season two work out to the last episode coming Friday, September 15th. With that in mind, the only two possible Sundays left in September for the show to have its first episode of this new season are the 17th or the 24th. It will be interesting to see if/when Starz confirms a premiere date.
Look for more news about Outlander, including casting news as well as an update on the season three premiere here on Sister Geeks.
(Photos Courtesy of EntertainmentWeekly.com)
What are your thoughts on the long hiatus between seasons and the possible premiere dates? Let us know in the comments!