SPOILERS FOR THE SHOW AND FOR DIANA GABALDON'S NOVEL DRAGONFLY IN AMBER (AND MORE) BELOW
Yesterday, the final piece of the casting puzzle fell into place when Starz announced that relative newcomer Sophie Skelton had won the key role of Brianna Randall Fraser MacKenzie in the second season of its time-traveling drama Outlander. Fans have been waiting to see who would be playing Jamie and Claire’s strong-willed daughter ever since the show premiered on Starz back in 2014. Even after mid-December, when Richard Rankin was cast as her future husband Roger Wakefield MacKenzie (Sam Heughan will face stiff competition in the hunk department this year, I tell ya), it took more than a month and a half until we finally got our Scarlett O'Hara Claire Randall Brianna.
When Season 2 begins, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) arrive in France hell-bent on infiltrating the Jacobite rebellion led by Prince Charles Stuart (Andrew Gower), aka Bonnie Prince Charlie. Helped by Jared Fraser (Robert Cavanah), a prosperous wine merchant and Jamie's cousin, our power couple will be thrown into the lavish world of French society and the Court at Versailles, where there will be plenty of intrigue! and lots of parties! and awesome costumes! but political gain is hard to come by. Armed with Claire’s knowledge of the future and the events leading up to the dramatic Battle of Culloden on April 16, 1746, Claire and Jamie are in a race to stop the doomed Highland uprising and the end of Scottish life as they know it.
Trying to alter the course of history ain’t an easy thing to do (just ask the Doctor). The endeavor soon weighs heavily on Jamie and a pregnant Claire. But when Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) returns very much alive and kicking, after seemingly being trampled to death by Highland cows during Jamie's dramatic rescue from Fort William, it strains Jamie's relationship with Claire to the limit.
Below is a list of the new main characters who will appear in the upcoming Season 2. Other actors who've been cast but are not included are Marc Duret in the role of Monsieur Joseph Duverney, the Minister of Finance to Louis XV and Jamie's chess partner; Michèle Belgrand-Hodgso as Madame Elise, the owner of the brothel where Jamie, armed with a verra large sausage (I'm not making this up), finds the young pickpocket Fergus; Audrey Brisson as Sister Angelique; and Gaia Weiss (Vikings) in the undisclosed role of a French aristocrat.
Season 2 of Outlander will feature even more sex and time-travel drama, as well the return of season 1 fan-favorite (and not-so-fan-favorite) characters. I’ve also included a gallery of pics (via Far Far Away Site) below, as well as a sneak-peek video of the new season. Outlander season 2, which is based on Diana Gabaldon's second novel in her Outlander series, Dragonfly in Amber, is set to premiere in April after the third season of Black Sails wraps.
Brianna Randall Fraser MacKenzie (Sophie Skelton)
Jamie and Claire's daughter, Brianna is often described in Diana Gabaldon’s books as a striking, redheaded, strong-willed (heck, who am I kidding? She's stubborn as a rock. She's a Fraser, after all) and intelligent young woman. She's first introduced as Frank Randall's (Tobias Menzes) daughter at the beginning of Dragonfly in Amber (the second book in author Diana Gabaldon's amazing Outlander series). It's a timey-wimey twist since the story takes place in 1968, before readers are taken back to 1744 Paris. There, Jamie and Claire attempt to infiltrate the Jacobite rebellion led by Bonnie Prince Charlie in a desperate attempt to stop the destruction of the Scottish Clans.
A relative newcomer, Sophie Skelton appeared on DCI Banks, Waterloo Road, Foyle’s War, Casualty, and Forsaking All Others. She’s about to tackle the title role in an online fantasy action-adventure series titled Ren.
Roger Wakefield MacKenzie (Richard Rankin)
Intelligent, kind-hearted and charming, he is the adopted son of Reverent Wakefield (James Fleet). Remember the little cutie with big blue eyes who handed a plate of cookies to the Reverend in Season One? Yep. That's him. Alllll grown up. After the death of his parents during World War II (his father’s plane went down, and his mother was killed in the Blitz), Roger was raised by the kind Reverend with the help of his housekeeper, Mrs. Graham (Tracey Wilkinson). Now an Oxford professor with a keen interest in history and a wonderful singing voice (trust me, this is important), Roger is first approached in 1968 by Claire Randall and her daughter Brianna, who seek his help in solving a mystery. He later becomes the husband of Brianna and the son-in-law of Claire and the Great Scot (Jamie).
Richard Rankin is a Scottish actor who recently starred in American Odyssey, The Crimson Field and Burnt with Bradley Cooper. Tall and dark, at 6 feet tall, he's actually a good match to the way Roger is described in the books. In fact, he was my Personal Head Canon (I kid you not) before the actor had even been cast in the role.
Le Comte St. Germain (Stanley Weber)
The Comte St. Germain is a wine merchant and a member of the French Court. He has quite the reputation for being ruthless...and for dabbling in the occult. Claire runs afoul of the Comte as soon as they touch land in France (are you even surprised?). The charming Comte is a bit of a villain, although he never comes close to Black Jack Randall’s (Tobias Menzies) levels of villainy. The character will appear in most of the episodes that will take place in Paris and will no doubt make some viewers swoon.
Stanley Weber is a French actor you guys may have spotted in the international TV series Borgia (not The Borgias with Jeremy Irons) and Sword of Vengeance. He shared the screen with former Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Iain de Caestecker in the romantic comedy Not Another Happy Ending.
Jared Fraser (Robert Cavanah)
Jared, a successful wine merchant, is Jamie’s Scottish cousin on his father’s side. He lives in Paris, and like Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish), he is a true blue Jacobite. While Jared travels to the West Indies, Jamie and Claire manage Jared’s business, live in his fabulous house and entertain Gay Paree society in order to root out the rebellion. The first time Claire (and the book readers) meets Jamie's cousin is at his warehouse on the docks of Le Havre, where Claire runs afoul of the Comte St. Germain.
You may have already seen Scottish actor Robert Cavanah in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and in Sahara.
Fergus (Romann Berrux)
Fergus (or Claudel, as he is first named) is a French street urchin who has no clue as to who his true parents are. Jamie meets him in Dragonfly in Amber at Madame Elise’s brothel in Paris, where the young Claudel lives. Taking the boy under his wing, Jamie hires him as a pickpocket and gives him the Scottish name of Fergus, as he finds the name Claudel not very manly. Jamie later adopts Fergus as his own son, giving him the name of Fraser. Fergus is a fan-favorite character among book readers and features in the rest of the book series.
The young 14-year old French actor is already somewhat of a veteran, with 10 acting credits to his name -- excluding Outlander.
John William Grey (Oscar Kennedy)
William Grey -- as he is first known in Dragonfly in Amber -- is a young British soldier who stumbles upon Jamie and Claire when the two return to Scotland from their mission in Paris. Assuming that Claire, who is a fellow Englishwoman, is Jamie’s captive, the sixteen-year-old gallantly tries to save her from the ruthless Scots, even though he's under-armed. This encounter will have repercussions for the rest of the Outlander books, when William Grey becomes Lord John Grey. He plays a very important role in the lives of Jamie, Claire, and their family for decades, but you’ll have to wait until Season 3 to see the grown-up, noble blonde (and gay) officer who later becomes Jamie Fraser’s BFF. (If you're looking to cast someone as an older John, Starz, may I propose Reign's Toby Regbo?) John became such an important secondary character in the world of Outlander that author Diana Gabalbon has given him his own series of historical mysteries, the Lord John novels and novellas. They are awesome. Pick them up. William Grey will appear in Episode 9.
17-year old Oscar Kennedy was seen in Hunted, The White Queen and Great Expectations. The pic above is from 2013, in case you think he looks pretty young to be 16.
Alex Randall (Laurence Dobiesz)
The younger brother of Black Jack Randall, Alex Randall is nothing like his darkly sadistic older brother. Described as a gentle, loving and kind man, he is a curate and a secretary for the Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow) who falls impossibly in love with the sweet and innocent Mary Hawkins. Alex is the only person Jack Randall actually loves in a not-weird way.
Laurence Dobiesz has appeared on Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Testament of Youth.
Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day)
Sweet, supershy and beautiful Mary Hawkins -- whom Claire takes a strong liking to -- is the daughter of a minor baronet, the niece of merchant Mr. Silas Hawkins and the goddaughter of the Duke of Sandringham. She is engaged to marry a member of the French nobility (that'd be the elderly Vicomte Marigny) and struggles with a nervous stammer. A pawn in the power plays of her family, she falls in love with Alex Randall.
British actress Rosie Day has appeared frequently on television and in movies over the years. Her resume includes Black Books, Doctors, the excellent Heroes-like series Misfits, Ironclad: Battle for Blood and The Seasoning House.
Charles Edward Stuart, a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie (Andrew Gower)
Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) lived in exile with his father in Rome until he instigated the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Going to Paris to seek money from his cousin King Louis XV in order to fund his rebellion, he befriends Jamie, who unbeknownst to him, is working against Charles to try and stop the Rising from ever happening.
Andrew Gower is mostly known for playing the vampire Nick Cutler on Being Human (the UK one) and has also appeared on Monroe with Jekyll's James Nesbitt, Misfits, The White Queen, and A.D. The Bible Continues, where he played Caligula.
Mother Hildegarde (Frances de la Tour)
Mother Hildegarde is a key character in Dragonfly in Amber. Described as an intelligent, tall, gaunt woman with a deep and powerful voice, she is the commanding Mother Superior who runs l’Hopital Des Anges in Paris, where Claire works. Mother Hildegarde comes from a well-connected aristocratic family and is followed everywhere by her faithful dog, Bouton.
Frances de la Tour is mostly known for her role in the Harry Potter movies and in the comedy series starring Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi, Vicious.
King Louis XV (Lionel Lingelser)
With Claire and Jamie trying their darn best to stop the Jacobite Rising (by thwarting the financing of Charles Stuart's cause) and the Battle of Culloden -- and moving around members of the French court at Versailles -- both will come across King Louis XV as they endeavor to ingratiate themselves in the French Court. The King of France does have a taste for the beautiful ladies, and being a king, he’s pretty much used to getting what he wants. Including a certain someone.
Louis XV is played by French actor Lionel Lingelser who has exclusively appeared in French movies and TV series, including Joséphine, Ange Gardien. Outlander will be his first English-speaking role.
Annalise de Marillac (Margaux Chatelier)
Season 2 will introduce Jamie’s fomer love Annalise de Marillac, a beautiful French aristocrat who was the object of Jamie’s affections when he studied at the University of Paris in 1739. Smitten by the beautiful Annalise, Jamie even fought a highly illegal duel with another young man, Charles Gauloise, over her. Even though Jamie won the duel by drawing first blood, Annalise (who watched the duel) rushed to a wounded Charles and married him a month later, wounding our young Scotsman’s heart.
Margaux Chatelier is a French actress who has starred in movies such as Paris-Manhattan, Tenderness and Belle & Sebastien. This will also be the actress’s first English-speaking role.
Louise de Rohan (Claire Sermonne)
Louise de Rohan is another historical figure who appears in Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber. A frivolous and lively member of the French Court who befriends Claire, she becomes the lover of Charles Stuart even though she's married to Jules de Rohan, Prince of Guéméné. Although both women come from wildly different worlds, Louise and Claire do strike up a genuine and warm friendship, which leads to a pretty hilarious scene in the book that I really, really hope Starz kept. I’m just going to leave you with this: “What d'ye think I am, a man or a bumblebee?” – Jamie Fraser.
Of French and Russian ancestry, Claire Sermonne is a graduate of the Conservatory of the Dramatic Arts in Paris, and the Moscow Art Theatre, where she's said to have been trained in theater, song and dance. She starred in the Russian TV series The Rights and Laws and in the French movie Inferno d'August Strindberg.
Master Raymond (Dominique Pinõn)
One of the most mysterious figures in the Outlander series is without a doubt Master Raymond, an apothecary who forms a special bond with Claire in Paris. He is a healer with a lot of knowledge in secret matters, both political and occult, who harbors a great secret (and I’m putting this mildly). A very small man, he is often described as looking like a toad.
Most of you guys will know French actor Dominique Pinõn from his roles in Delicatessen, Alien: Resurrection, Amélie and Metal Hurlant Chronicles.
Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat (Clive Russell)
A real historical figure, Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat (known as the Old Fox), was the manipulative fictional father of Brian Fraser and grandfather of Jamie Fraser. At the request of Charles Stuart, Jamie goes to meet with his grandfather Simon for the first time in order to negotiate sending troops to support the Stuart cause.
A veteran British actor, Clive Russell has appeared in countless movies and TV series including Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Thor: The Dark World, Wizards and Aliens, Ripper Street and Game of Thrones, where he shared the screen with Black Jack Randall himself, Tobias Menzies, in the role of Brynden “Blackfish” Tully.