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‘Outlander’ Season 3: Everything You Need to Know Before Returning to the Scottish Highlands

Claire and Jamie have much to endure before they’re reunited.

Sam Heughan, "Outlander"

© 2017 Starz Entertainment, LLC

The “droughtlander” has lasted for over a year, but at long last Starz’s epic time-traveling drama is returning on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. ET for its third season. Diehard fans of the books may already have a general idea of events that will happen, since this season is based on Diana Gabaldon’s “Voyager,” the third book in the series. Some of the information gathered from interviews and official Starz materials below, however, will offer clues as to when they will happen, without any major spoilers of course.

Here’s what you need to know before tuning in on Sunday:

Where We Left Off

With an impending battle threatening to harm her pregnancy, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) had to leave Jamie (Sam Heughan) behind in the 18th Century, believing that he will die in battle. She went back to the 1940s and resumed a life with Frank (Tobias Menzies), and later in 1968, when her daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton) is grown, Claire discovers that Jamie didn’t die after all.

Parallel Lives in Separate Timelines

Season 3 goes back and picks up at the point when Claire left Jamie. We’ll see how the next 20 years plays you for each of them in their respective timelines until Claire finds out about Jamie’s real fate and decides to travel back in time to rejoin him.

Jamie’s Hairy Ordeal

Tobias Menzies, "Outlander"

Tobias Menzies, “Outlander


At Comic-Con this summer, Menzies revealed that the season begins during the Battle of Culloden, the final confrontation in the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Jamie’s old rival Black Jack Randall (also Menzies) will be there also.

“We begin the season at Culloden, between Jamie and Black Jack. It won’t be entirely what people expect from it,” said Menzies.

The battle took two weeks to shoot and involved Jamie lying on a pile of stunt men covered in fake blood, according to Variety. At one point, he also sees an apparition of Claire walking through the battlefield.

Caitriona Balfe, "Outlander"

Caitriona Balfe, “Outlander”

© 2017 Starz Entertainment, LLC

After Jamie survives the conflict, he won’t have an easy time of it and during the intervening years, he’ll take residence in a cave and grow an unruly beard.

Sam Heughan, "Outlander"

Sam Heughan, “Outlander”

© 2017 Starz Entertainment, LLC

At another point though, he begins working in a print shop, where production designer Jon Gary Steele says to keep an eye out for hidden Easter eggs hinting at the future.

Sam Heughan, "Outlander"

Sam Heughan, “Outlander”


Claire’s Feminist Journey

While Jamie is busy being dealing with his pre-Industrial Revolution life, Claire is making waves through the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. We’ve already learned that she is a surgeon in 1968, but in Season 3 we’ll begin to find out how she got there, beginning with how her decision to attend medical school was controversial, taking classes and even doing surgery. Take a look at a sneak peek of her journey below:

On a more personal level, Claire will have conflicts with her husband Frank, who can see that she’s still pining over a man they both believe to be long dead. Later, when Claire and Brianna realize that Jamie is alive, the relationship between mother and daughter becomes closer.


Claire and Jamie will finally reunite at some point in the season, under what circumstances remain to be seen. But out of the 13 episodes, seven of the episode titles have been revealed, which may offer some clues:

Episode 1: “The Battle Joined”
Episode 2: “Surrender”
Episode 3: “All Debts Paid”
Episode 4: “Of Lost Things”
Episode 5: “Freedom & Whisky”
Episode 6: “A. Malcolm”
Episode 7: “Creme De Menthe”

At Comic-Con, Heughan also did mention that since the characters are apart for so much of the season, that a reunion “would almost make a man faint.”


Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan behind the scenes, "Outlander"

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan behind the scenes, “Outlander”


Also, at some point, once Claire and Jamie are back together, the couple will find their way overseas in Jamaica.

At Comic-Con, Ronald D. Moore revealed that the show had the challenge of moving all of its production from Scotland to South Africa so that they could shoot using the “Black Sails” sets. Filming took almost four months there. Perhaps this is also where we’ll see Jamie use a bow and arrow.

Sam Heughan behind the scenes, "Outlander"

Sam Heughan behind the scenes, “Outlander”


New Blood

Ian Fraser Murray: John Bell joins the cast to play Jamie’s nephew Ian, named after his father and Jamie’s brother-in-law. Young Ian is a fierce 16-year-old who has a penchant for getting into trouble.

Marsali MacKimmie: Lauren Lyle plays Marsali, the oldest daughter of Laoghaeire, whom viewers might recall had a crush on Jamie in Season 1. At 18, Marsali is incredibly strong-willed and will pursue her interests no matter what the cost.

Joe Abernathy: As seen in the video about Claire’s journey above, Wil Johnson portrays Joe, a fellow Harvard medical student who must contend with being one of the first African-Americans in a predominantly white field. He and Claire bond over their outsider, trailblazing status.



© 2017 Starz Entertainment, LLC

Semi-Familiar Faces

Fergus, all grown up: In Season 2, the French urchin Fergus (played then by Romann Berrux) became a sort of son to Jamie and Claire while also acting as a pickpocket and errand boy for them. This year, Cesar Domboy portrays a grown-up Fergus, who is just as devoted to Jamie as ever.

Lord John Grey: We first met English soldier William John Grey (Oscar Kennedy) in Season 2 when he tried and failed to kill Jamie, who allows William to live. In Season 3, William is back but is now Lord John Grey (portrayed by David Berry here), a man who must deal with a scandal from his past and unrequited love.

“Outlander” premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.

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