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After being canceled earlier in the year due to COVID-19, The Paley Center for Media has reconfigured its annual events, PaleyFest LA, as a virtual event. PaleyFest members and Citi Cardmembers can watch the panels now, and they'll become available to all on Aug. 10.
Ten series are being honored with panels featuring their writers and casts, including Starz's favorite, Outlander. From various locales around the world, the Outlander team Zoomed together to reminisce about the recently completed Season 5 and tease what's to come in Season 6 when production returns to Scotland, where the series is shot. Executive producer Maril Davis, executive producer/showrunner Matthew B. Roberts, and executive producer/novelist Diana Gabaldon connected with castmembers Caitriona Balfe (Claire), Sam Heughan (Jamie), Sophie Skelton (Brianna), and Richard Rankin (Roger).
The series was supposed to start production on Season 6 in May, but everyone has remained in lockdown. While Europe is starting to plan for controlled production in the near future, the Outlander team still doesn't have a return-to-work call yet. But the scripts have been written, and the book the season is based on, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, has been out in the wild since 2006.
Still not wanting to spoil fans of the show who don't read the books, Roberts shared small teasers for what's to come. He said that Jamie and Claire, who are healing after the terrible events of the Season 5 finale, are often too affected by trauma because they put themselves out there to help people, which puts them at risk. "You suffer," he said of those choices. "And it happens again. But there will be joys, there will be drama, suffering, tears."
Heughan said the last scenes of the Season 5 finale, which had Jamie consoling a broken Claire after her violent assault, showed that the two are finding a way to help each other through another terrible event. "He's been through trauma himself and understands," he said. "In that scene, we talked a lot about physical touch and when he can touch her. They're holding hands. They have each other, but they are about to face more in subsequent seasons."
Davis admitted book six is her second favorite of Gabaldon's series. "Jamie and Claire's love deepens," she says of the narrative. "And something fun and new happens with Roger and Brianna. Lizzie (Caitlin O'Ryan) has a great story. We're all excited to get back to work."
Skelton said she's looking forward to a more settled Brianna for Season 6. She and Roger have decided to stay in the past with their son, Jemmy, by the end of Season 5. The actress said that choice is about Bri wanting to stay there for herself and her family. "There's also relief that Roger is thinking of home there too," she added.
And Rankin joked sarcastically that Roger is absolutely ready for the coming Revolutionary War. Despite having quite a year of evolution from academic to killer, Roger still has a lot more to experience before war comes calling. But Rankin doesn't know what, exactly, that means, as he hasn't cracked into the pages of A Breath of Snow and Ashes yet. It's going to be his first year on the series that he hasn't read the book ahead of the scripts.