'Outlander' Season 6: When Is the Epic Starz Series Returning?

Outlander fans from Netflix may have something to look forward to soon, but others are in for a longer wait than usual for new episodes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the period between seasons known as “Droughtlander” is liable to stretch throughout 2021 and beyond.

Season 5 of the hit fantasy romance series ended back in May during the early weeks of the pandemic. While other shows and films have resumed production since then, Outlander‘s intimate nature has kept it on the sidelines.

All that said, here’s what we do know about Season 6.

Scripts for ‘Outlander’ season 6 have been in the works

Just because Outlander can’t film its famously intense sex scenes with COVID-19 in the air doesn’t mean work can’t be done. Sam Heughan confirmed to a fan on Twitter that he and the rest of the cast had received a script for Season 6 in March.

According to Digital Spy, Heughan gave an update on the situation as recently as November. In the comment, the actor revealed that plans were being made to allow the season to begin shooting soon, but that it was taking a long while due to the show’s sprawling nature.

“We have been delayed,” Heughan told This Morning. “We were supposed to start shooting by May. But we are gearing up. We’ve had [costume] fittings, we’ve got scripts, we are getting there. It’s just such an epic show it’s taking a while to get there, but we will be back for season six.”

Without an official start date, we can only speculate about when Season 6 will premiere. If plans come together and allow the series to resume production in early 2021, it could return as early as late 2021. For reference, Season 5 began filming in April 2019 and eventually premiered 10 months later in Feb. 2020.

The series’ fate is secure, for now

Outlander was renewed by Starz for seasons 5 and 6 all at once following the success of season 4. It’s not surprising that the network would go all in on the series, as it’s by far one of its most popular.

Like Season 5, the sixth will run 12 episodes, which is fewer than older seasons but more than a lot of hour-long dramas these days. It is set to adapt Diana Gabaldon’s sixth novel, A Breath of Snow and Ashes. The book picks up on the hints of political discord from the previous entry and sees the Frasier clan dealing with the early days of the American Revolution.

There are two more books in the series, An Echo in the Bone and Written in My Heart’s Own Blood, that can be adapted into further seasons. Gabaldon is also hard at work writing a ninth entry, Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone. The author has in the past suggested that she intends to end the series with book ten, meaning that the show could run through Season 10 if it remains popular enough.

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