Outlander will return to STARZ in just over a week for its sixth season, nearly two years after the fifth season finale. But if Starz has its way, the saga of Outlander is going to be getting much bigger. Variety is reporting that Starz is developing an Outlander prequel series. And according to this story, Matthew B. Roberts, the executive producer and showrunner of Outlander, has already been hired to write and executive produce the new prequel. Variety adds that “a writers’ room is currently being assembled with an eye to begin work in the coming weeks.”
Novelist Diana Gabaldon created the franchise in 1991 with the debut of her book Outlander. The story introduced readers to a World War II nurse named Claire Randall who mysteriously finds herself transported back to 1743 in the Scottish Highlands. After Claire’s arrival, she is taken in by the MacKenzie clan as a healer and encounters Jamie Fraser, the man who becomes her only true ally in this time period. Claire and Jamie’s romance and eventual marriage are the backbone of the franchise, even when they are separated by centuries. So far, Gabaldon has released nine novels in the series.
Gabaldon has previously written an Outlander prequel novella called Virgins, which focused on young Jamie and Ian Murray years before they met Claire. However, Variety states that the prequel TV series may be entirely separate from that story.
Because of the show’s time travel conceit via the the standing stones, the series has already confirmed that Claire isn’t the first person to use them to travel into the past. Potentially, the prequel could even intertwine with the original series via the standing stones, if they share any characters in common.
Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heughan headline the series as Claire Beauchamp Fraser and Jamie MacKenzie Fraser, respectively. The series also features Richard Rankin as Roger MacKenzie, Sophie Skelton as Brianna “Bree” Fraser MacKenzie, David Berry as Lord John Grey, and John Bell as Ian Fraser Murray.
Outlander season 6 will premiere on Sunday, March 6. It will be the shortest season to date at only eight episodes. Fortunately, the series has already been renewed for a seventh season with 16 episodes.