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SYFY WIRE Outlander

Starz is developing an 'Outlander' prequel TV series - so what could it be about?

Today, Variety had the exclusive that Starz is formally developing an Outlander prequel. We speculate on what it could be about.

By Tara Bennett
Outlander Season 5 Never My Love

As soon as Starz's series adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander book proved itself to be a global hit, there's been speculation about how long the series would run and if any other characters in the world would get a spin-off series. Today, Variety reported that Starz is actually going the back in time route for more stories, developing a prequel series to Outlander. 

Current Outlander showrunner and executive producer Matthew B. Roberts is set to write the pilot and executive producer the series. A formal writer's room is being staffed now. Outlander series creator, Ronald D. Moore and executive producer Maril Davis and their Tall Ships Productions banner will executive produce, with Sony as the studio. 

There's certainly no shortage of Gabaldon stories and characters that could fill multiple series. She's written several novellas centered on the life of Lord John Grey, who is played by David Berry as a recurring character in the Outlander TV series. She's also currently working on a prequel novel focused on Jamie Fraser's (played by Sam Heughan in the series) parents, Ellen MacKenzie and Brian Fraser. However, it's less likely that the author would allow a series to be made before she published her own story. 

Of her existing work, there's the novella Virgins, which tells the adventures of 19-year-old Jamie Fraser and his friend Ian Murray (who will eventually marry Jamie's sister Jenny) in 1740s France. It's sets the stage for how older Jamie navigated Paris so ably in Season 2 of Outlander, and allows them to capitalize on telling more fan-favorite Jamie stories. It would also allow for casting of a new Jamie, which are hard shoes to fill considering Gabaldon's love of what Heughan is doing with her character and how much the fans love him.

If the unexpected route is what they plan to pursue, they could build a series around Roger MacKenzie’s (played by Richard Rankin in the series) parents which is told in the novella, "A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" which is a spookier tale set within the mythology from the George R.R. Martin edited anthology, Songs of Love and Death

Gabaldon has also hinted at a full novel about Master Raymond (played by Dominique Pinon) who was an enigmatic, mystical character who impacted Claire's life greatly in Season 2 of the TV series. It was implied he might also be a stones traveler which would allow the mysteries of that particular time travel device to be explored in full, and follow an outline that the author could have provided to the show's writers. 

There's also the chance that Tall Ships and Roberts could create am original prequel series independent of Gabaldon's writings based on a myriad of characters already introduced in their narrative mythology. it's unlikely, but never say never.

Outlander Season 6 returns to Starz on March 6, 2022.

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