Outlander Season 6
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Credit: Starz

Starz cuts 'Outlander' Season 6 short, but plans beefed up episode count for Season 7

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Jun 1, 2021, 12:46 PM EDT

Good news/bad news, Outlander fans. Which one do you want to start with? ... Ok, let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. Starz confirmed Tuesday that it was forced to shorten the sixth season of the time-traveling fantasy drama due to unprecedented production obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premiering sometime next year, Season 6 will only comprise eight episodes (instead of the usual 12), with the premiere clocking in at 90 minutes. Here's the good news, though: Season 7 will stretch across 16 episodes in order to make up for the sixth season deficit.

 "We are excited to get into the editing room to work on bringing the fans one step closer to reuniting with the family back on Fraser’s Ridge,” showrunner Matthew B. Roberts said in a statement published by Deadline. “Filming in 2021 has presented an unprecedented set of challenges which led us to the decision to truncate the season in order to bring the fans the most vibrant and dynamic season as soon as possible. Dinna fash, we will then film an extended Season 7 with 16 episodes next year as life returns to normalcy."

“We are committed to telling the story fully with gripping and bold storylines in the upcoming eight-episode season that introduces viewers to new characters including Tom, Allan and Malva Christie (Mark Lewis-Jones, Alexander Vlahos and Jessica Reynolds) who create tension on the Ridge,” added Christina Davis, President of Original Programming for Starz. "We can’t wait for viewers to see the exciting sixth season that reflects the Starz #TakeTheLead initiative through unapologetic storytelling and powerful female characters."

Season 6 of the show will be based on A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005), the sixth novel in Diana Gabaldon's best-selling series of Outlander novels. As Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and James (Sam Heughan) attempt to put down roots in the New World, a revolution brews on the horizon of a fledgeling America. Here's the problem: the Frasers are living on land gifted to them by the Crown, and we all know that North American colonists of the 18th century weren't big fans of British royalty.

Check out some fresh production stills from the upcoming season in the gallery below...