Put on your kilts and break out the bagpipes in mourning: “Outlander” is coming to an end. The hit Starz TV series has been renewed for an eighth and final season, the premium cable channel announced Thursday. The news comes ahead of Season 7 of the series, which will premiere in Summer 2023.
The news makes it unclear if the show, which is based Diana Gabaldon’s series of historical fantasy romance novels, will adapt the most recent installment, 2021’s “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.” Each season of “Outlander” has thus far roughly adapted one book in the series, with the upcoming seventh season set to cover 2009’s “An Echo in the Bone” and Season 8 presumably covering 2014’s “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.” That said, Season 7 is set to have an extended 16-episode run, while Season 8 will consist of 10 episodes, so its possible that longer length can help cover all three books. Gabaldon reportedly plans to wrap the story of the novels up with a 10th installment, which she is currently writing.
Luckily for fans of the epic romantic series, Season 8 won’t mark the end of the show’s television universe. Starz also officially ordered “Blood of my Blood,” a prequel series from the OG series’ executive producer Matthew B. Roberts, on Thursday. What a “prequel series” means for something like “Outlander” — which engages extensively in time travel — is a little tenuous, but we know that it will be 10 episodes and focus on the parents of 18th-century Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), Brian and Ellen.
“‘Outlander: Blood of My Blood’ is, at its heart, a love story. It will explore what lengths a person will go to find love in a time when love is considered a luxury, and when marriages are made strategically, often for political or financial gain,” Roberts said in a statement. “The title is a nod to Jamie Fraser’s marriage vow to Claire and there will be several names and faces that ‘Outlander’ fans will know and recognize. Jamie and Claire’s TV story may be coming to an end with season eight, but Diana is continuing on with their literary journey in her wonderful book series and is working diligently on book ten. With Jamie and Claire, and now Brian and Ellen, there is still so much more to come in the ‘Outlander’ universe, and we cannot wait to continue sharing these stories with our dedicated fans.”
“Outlander” also stars Caitríona Balfe as Claire Randall, a 20th-century nurse who gets transported to the 18th century, where she meets, falls in love with, and eventually marries Jamie. The show follows the two navigating their relationship and historical events of the era, such as the Jacobite uprising, before more time-travel shenanigans lead to them hopping throughout history.
Released in 2009, “An Echo in the Bone” focuses on two storylines, with Jamie and Claire living in 18th-century America during the Revolutionary War, while their daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and her husband Roger (Richard Rankin) adjust to life in the 20th century after being transported through time. Several new cast members have joined the series for its seventh season, including Rod Hallett as real-life American soldier and notorious traitor Benedict Arnold, Gloria Obianyo, Chris Fulton, Charles Vandervaart, Izzy Meikle-Small, and Joey Phillips.
In addition, two new actors will portray two characters already seen in the series: Kristin Atherton will play Jenny Murray, a character previously played by Laura Donnelly; while Diarmaid Murtagh will take over the role of Buck MacKenzie, the son of Graham McTavish’s Dougal MacKenzie. McTavish actually played Buck in Season 5; he’ll return to play Dougal this season alongside other returning cast members John Bell, David Berry, Caitlin O’Ryan, Paul Gorman, Nell Hudson, Steven Cree, Andrew Whipp, Layle Burns, and Lotte Verbeek.
Ronald D. Moore developed “Outlander” for television; he executive produces with Roberts, Maril Davis, Toni Graphia, Luke Schelhaas, Andy Harries, and Jim Kohlberg, as well as stars Balfe and Heughan. Tall Ship Productions, Left Bank Pictures, and Story Mining & Supply Company produce the series in association with Sony Pictures Television. Moore and Davis are also on board to executive produce “Blood of my Blood.”