- Outlander -10 Storylines From The 'Outlander' Books That Still Might Be Huge In The TV Series
Even though Claire and Jamie Fraser have already lived a thousand lives on the Starz Outlander series, there are still a thousand more waiting for them — and every other character — in Diana Gabaldon’s books. Because, after all, there are a lot of books.
Not including her novellas and spinoffs, Gabaldon plans to have a total of 10 novels in the Outlander series, and she's currently working on the ninth, called Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.
That means that the show, which left off with Season 5, has the remaining three published books (novels six, seven, and eight) from which to pull material. The good thing is that A Breath of Snow and Ashes (ABoSaA), An Echo in the Bone (Echo), and Written in My Own Heart's Blood (MOBY) each happen to have a ton of excellent source material that would make great TV.
Plus, it’s worth mentioning that Season 5 took two significant plots from book six ... could this mean that the blending of novels and seasons is something we will see again in the future of the franchise?
As of right now, only one more season, Season 6, is guaranteed. (Starz hasn’t officially announced a premiere date, but rumor has it that it will return in spring 2021.) So, taking into consideration that there is now precedence for pulling plots from books that are technically ahead of where the plot is on the show, here are 10 big storylines from novels six, seven, and eight that deserve their moment in the spotlight on the screen in Season 6, and beyond. Will they make the cut?
(An obvious warning to those who have not read all the published novels: book spoilers are ahead.)
1. The Revolutionary War
American fans may not have heard of the Jacobite uprising or the Battle of Culloden before Outlander, but the show's next history lesson should be more familiar to viewers in the states — the American Revolution. Outlander showrunner Matthew B. Roberts confirmed to Deadline that the impending Revolutionary War will be a focus of Season 6, just as it is in ABoSaA.
Jackie Merrell runs the fan Twitter account @AngusAngels (named for the lovable Highlander who died back in Season 2) and she says she's interested in seeing all the historical moments from the sixth book — like, "Bree and Roger recounting the story of Paul Revere, Jamie seeing and signing the Lexington Alarm, Jamie and Roger attending the Committee of Correspondence, and finally the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge" — come to life on screen.
Since the war continues for two more books, buckle up for even more American history. It would be exciting to see our favorite characters interact with major American figures like George Washington and Benedict Arnold who, as Merrell notes, pop up in MOBY.
"Diana Gabaldon weaved Claire and Jamie’s story through historical fact so expertly that I hope we see at least some of that on-screen," Merrell says.
2. Claire Gets Accused Of Murder
Fraser's Ridge is home to more American colonists than just the Frasers. One family that hasn't been introduced in the TV series yet — but causes a whole lot of drama in the books — is the Christie family.
In ABoSaA, Malva Christie is Claire's assistant in her surgery. When she becomes pregnant, Malva falsely claims that Jamie is the father. (Despite her efforts, she was no Geneva Dunsany.) With the mystery of who the real father is still swirling, Claire finds Malva murdered. Richard Brown uses this opportunity to exact revenge for his brother Lionel's death by arresting Claire for the crime.
Fans have wondered if the series will skip the Malva storyline entirely, since the show has Marsali Fraser learning medicine from Claire rather than Malva. But Richard Brown hinted in the Season 5 finale that he wasn't finished with the Frasers, so that could be a sign Outlander will stick with this plot from the book.
Plus, the twisted actions of the Christie family throughout ABoSaA provide a heavy dose of suspense, so it would be surprising if the show passed on that.
3. Ian's Love Life
Season 5 teased that Ian Murray had been married when he was with the Mohawk, setting up Season 6 to explain exactly what happened to his family that has left him so hurt. Yet, fans of Young Ian can take comfort in the fact that, according to Echo, he'll find a new love interest in the form of Rachel Hunter.
As Merrell of @AngusAngels says, "The heart of Outlander is love and family, and Rachel’s introduction provides that element for Young Ian." Not only that, but Rachel catches the eye of another suitor in the form of Jamie's secret son Willie. A good love triangle is always juicy, but the secret cousin element really ups the ante as only Outlander knows how.
4. Roger Finds His Calling
It's an understatement to say that Roger Wakefield really has had a horrible time in colonial America — he was sold to the Mohawk and was later (unsuccessfully) hanged. But the Oxford professor finds his niche when he decides to become a minister.
The TV version of Roger has more room for development, so this minister plot from ABoSaA could help add depth to the character that satisfies fans.
Another potential nice moment for Roger? Claire pretty much confirms that Jemmy is his biological son.
5. The House Fire At Fraser's Ridge
Hey, remember the whole reason that Bree Randall Fraser went back in time to save her parents from dying in a house fire? Well, the long-awaited event takes place in ABoSaA (thus, the "ashes" in the title) and it's caused by Wendigo Donner — the time traveler who didn't help Claire in the Season 5 finale.
Donner is still looking for a way to get back to the 1960s and he comes to the big house on Fraser's Ridge to get gemstones from Claire and Jamie at any cost. While Donner's crew is ransacking their home, Claire's ether (her new medical project after mastering penicillin) and Bree's matches make for a destructive combo that destroys their home.
On the plus side, the fire inspires Jamie and Claire to take a trip to Scotland in Echo.
6. Brianna & Roger Go Back To The Future
The penultimate episode of Season 5 saw Brianna, Roger, and Jem MacKenzie fail in their attempt to go back to their own time. However, Bree and Roger have a reason to return to the 20th century after they have their second child, Amanda MacKenzie.
Grannie Claire discovers that Mandy has a heart murmur that requires modern medicine, so the MacKenzies head back to the future in ABoSaA where they settle in Jamie's family home of Lallybroch in the 1980s. Their time traveling adventures continue in Echo and MOBY.
Jamie W., who runs the Instagram fan account Outlander Clan, says this is a plot that the TV show simply can't skip. "They have a real need and desire to return, and a lot happens when they do return," she says. "I love the idea of seeing them living in Lallybroch, and then there's the letters from Jamie and Claire they find."
Along with the letters from Jamie and Claire, Brianna also discovers correspondence from her adoptive father Frank Randall — which could very well mean the return of actor Tobias Menzies. As Merrell says, "Any excuse for a Tobias Menzies cameo is welcome in my book!"
7. The Return Of Jenny
Speaking of beloved characters we haven't seen in a while, Echo reintroduces Jamie's sister Jenny Fraser Murray when Jamie, Claire, and Ian travel to Scotland. When the elder Ian passes away, Jenny chooses to go to America with them. "[I] cannot wait to see Jenny back and in America. She's an amazing character," Jamie W. says.
Like Menzies, Laura Donnelly is an in-demand actor — she’s starring in Joss Whedon's forthcoming HBO series The Nevers. So if Donnelly couldn't reprise the role of Jenny due to scheduling, Merrell has a suggestion: "Perhaps Steven Cree's Ian could take her place."
8. Claire Gets Another Husband
Although the show's return to Scotland is a cause for celebration, Jamie and Claire's trip leads to a huge misunderstanding in Echo. Claire travels back to America without Jamie and then hears news that the boat Jamie and Jenny were supposed to be on has sunk.
Not knowing that they had actually missed their boat, she presumes they are dead and ends up marrying Lord John Grey to avoid being arrested for treason. "The dynamics of that marriage, especially with what are bound to be powerhouse performances from both Caitriona Balfe and David Berry, are near the top of my Season 7 wish list," Merrell says.
Yet, how much Lord John Grey will be a part of upcoming seasons could be up in the air since Berry seemed to announce in the comments of a May 2 Instagram post that he had left the show. But LJG fans shouldn't give up hope: there has been no official announcement of his departure.
9. Jamie Reconnects With His Son
Lord John Grey's involvement may be a question mark, but his adopted son should surely play a big part in future seasons since William Ransom becomes a main character in Echo and MOBY. Willie is now all grown up and a British officer in the Revolutionary War where he keeps crossing paths with Young Ian and even becomes Claire's stepson due to her marriage to Lord John Grey.
When Willie eventually comes face-to-face with Jamie again, he realizes the truth about his paternity and isn't too happy about being lied to all these years. "William spends a lot of time angry with Jamie, and that would make for some good drama," Jamie W. says. "It’ll pull at the heartstrings because poor Jamie has missed out on so much with both his children."
Besides some classic Outlander drama on-screen, the casting of Willie off-screen is likely to be intense too, since the Outlander team will need to find a Sam Heughan doppelgänger.
10. Jamie's Ghost
One aspect of Outlander that's a mystery for book readers and TV viewers alike is the presence of Jamie's ghost in 1946. In the very first episode, Frank Randall saw a ghost staring at Claire, and Gabaldon has confirmed that it was Jamie.
The author said that the last moment of the tenth and final book will address Jamie's ghost in the future.
"Just why was he in 1946? Supposedly before Claire time travels?" Jamie W. wonders. "I know Diana [Gabaldon] hasn't revealed this in the books yet and it will be the last thing in book 10, so we've still got a bit of waiting to do! But I can't wait to read it and then see it on-screen. It will just complete this epic love story across the centuries."
As for when, exactly, Season 6 will premiere, Jamie actor Sam Heughan revealed on Twitter that production for Season 6 had been postponed until fall 2020 evidently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While that means that Droughtlander will last even longer this time around, imagining how the show will adapt these storylines is certainly one way to stay occupied.
Images Courtesy of Starz