From a big wedding to one of the best season finales in series history, the stars and producers of Outlander are promising a whole lot for Season 5. The cast and executive producers gathered in Hollywood for STARZ's West Coast premiere of Outlander’s fifth season first episode, “The Fiery Cross.” The red carpet had plenty of glitz and Highland tradition as a piper played the show’s theme song as the sun set over Hollywood Boulevard.
Stars Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin, Duncan Lacroix, Maria Doyle Kennedy, David Berry, and more walked the carpet before they joined a huge crowd of fans inside the Hollywood Palladium to finally break the 12-month #Droughtlander, or what fans call the period between seasons they have to wait for new episodes.
SYFY WIRE was on the carpet, and we learned that the 12-episode season starts with an episode called “The Fiery Cross,” featuring the wedding of Brianna Fraser and Roger MacKenzie at Fraser Ridge. But be warned, the season’s moving toward one heck of a finale too.
“This season is about family and being drawn apart by all these forces with the Revolutionary War coming. Jamie has divided loyalties,” Sam Heughan teased of Jamie’s protection of his wanted Regulator godfather, Murtagh (Lacroix) but his oath of loyalty to the Crown. “It’s an amazing season and one of the best finales we’ve ever done.”
Executive producer Toni Graphia concurred and said that while the writers are already deep into writing Season 6, the Season 5 finale, crafted by her and showrunner Matt B. Roberts, is “pretty special.”
But before then, audiences get to witness that wedding that was finally teased in photos last week. Graphia says that the nuptials take place among a traditional Scottish clan gathering in the book that goes on for a large portion of the opening of Diana Gabaldon’s The Fiery Cross novel.
“I think [showrunner] Matt Roberts did a great job compressing The Gathering into this opening episode,” Graphia teased. “We knew a huge part of the front of the book is taking place over three days, is all in one place, and is going to be one big party. We’d love to go too, but we don’t have three episodes to do it if we’re going to get to the rest of the juicy stuff in the rest of the book.”
But the wedding also allows Claire and Jamie to take stock of their expanded, unconventional family as they watch a new romance bloom in front of them. “[The MacKenzies] are a different couple, and we wanted to incorporate Jamie and Claire’s pride [into it]. Jamie never thought he’d even meet Brianna, so the fact that he sees her get married and that he has a grandchild is really special.”
Caitriona Balfe said she’s excited that Claire gets the opportunity to really weave her medical expertise into Season 5. “I think the writers did a really good job finding some really great scenes for me, and especially towards the end of the season, we have a really great storyline for Claire,” she enthused. “And I really love that the show has opened up and we’re getting to tell more character stories. The beauty of Diana’s books is that they don’t stay still. If we only saw the whole world through Claire’s eyes constantly, it would be boring!”
One of the characters really supporting Claire’s endeavors this year is Marsali, Jamie’s stepdaughter. Actress Lauren Lyle was excited to tease how these two women interact more. “Marsali is woman of her time and she’s butchering animals, which isn’t what most expect a small, blonde girl would do. It’s a real skill she would have to have to survive. And Claire is a woman of one time in the 1960s who’s a surgeon. The blend of the two is a wonderful blending of relationships, and they have to work together. Then it’s like they love it, and want it.”
Last but not least, fan favorite character Lord John Grey is going to take part in this season despite his lack of physical presence in the book. Actor David Berry explained, “Lord John isn’t in [The Fiery Cross] except in epistolary fashion. But Matt and [executive producer] Maril (Davis) wanted the character in the season. I was very gratified and humbled by that. But they didn’t want to shoehorn him in. We have to find him something to do.” Berry isn’t sure how much of his character makes it into the final edits yet, but he added, “Lord John has an important role to play this season certainly with how things pertain to Brianna and her safety.”
And for fans wondering if a Lord John Grey novel could get adapted in the future, Berry said if one were, he’d love it to be Lord John and The Private Matter. “A lot of people I know like The Scottish Prisoner, but if you are more focused on Lord John, he’s better serviced in The Private Matter. I would be really keen to see that one explored.”
Looking at Season 5 as a whole, Graphia teased that much like the book, which has a lot of separate stories that aren’t always interconnected, “All the episodes are very, very different. Every writer had a favorite part of the book they were dying to write. And when you have writers that are really passionate about parts they want to right, and the stuff they want to enhance and go a little further down the path that Diana started, and add what inspired them about her story, you come up with the best blend of her brain and our brains building on her foundation. We did it a lot this season, and hopefully the fans are happy with it.”
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, STARZ subscribers can watch “The Fiery Cross” now only on the STARZ app and STARZ On Demand. Season 5 episodes will air every Sunday on STARZ.