'Outlander' Season 6 Cast: 2 Characters Were 'Impossible' to Bring Back, EP Says

Outlander Season 6 will be the STARZ series’ shortest season with just eight episodes. This leaves questions about how much plot from Diana Gabaldon’s sixth Outlander book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes they can fit in. And it also raises questions about who will be in the Outlander Season 6 cast in this truncated season. While most of the Outlander Season 5 cast returned for season 6, executive producer Matthew B. Roberts revealed the characters that were “impossible” to fit in.

‘Outlander’ Season 6 cast

Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Jamie Fraser. When the Outlander came out in August 2014, their characters were in their twenties. Four seasons later, the show has jumped ahead decades. Heughan and Balfe’s Jamie and Claire are in their 50s in season 6. Their daughter, Brianna, is in her 20s, and her husband, Roger, is in his 30s. They share a toddler son, Jemmy, who might get a sibling in season 6, if the show follows the books.

Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin have played Brianna and Roger since Outlander Season 2. Other Outlander series regulars have included Tobias Menzies (Frank Randall/Black Jack Randall), Duncan Lacroix (Murtagh Fitzgibbons), Graham McTavish (Dougal McKenzie), David Berry (Lord John Grey), César Domboy (Fergus), Lauren Lyle (Marsali), John Bell (Young Ian), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Aunt Jocasta), Laura Donnelly (Jenny Murray), Steven Cree (Ian Murray), Caitlyn O’Ryan (Lizzie Wemyss), and more.

According to IMDb and videos from the set of Outlander, there are plenty of returning cast members for Outlander Season 6, plus a handful of exciting newcomers. Heughan, Balfe, Skelton, and Rankin are of course returning. As are Domboy, Lyle, Berry, Kennedy, and O’Ryan. Sadly, Murtagh died in Outlander Season 5, so Lacroix might not return.

Outlander newcomers include Mark Lewis Jones as Tom Christie. Tom’s children, Allan and Malva Christie, are played by Alexander Vlahos and Jessica Reynolds, respectively.

Jenny and Ian Murray likely won’t be in ‘Outlander’ Season 6

One pair fans shouldn’t hold out hope for seeing is Jenny and Ian Murray, Jamie’s sister and brother-in-law. During a recent episode of the official Outlander podcast, Roberts revealed having Donnelly and Cree back for Outlander Season 6 was “impossible.” Roberts said:

“I think quite a bit is on the actor and their teams, so to give two examples Laura and Steven, they had bigger parts in season 1 and the story dictated that we went away from their characters, so to retain them over eight years was just impossible to do for us and also for them.”

Outlander could contractually ask its actors to keep their schedules available. But as producer Guy Tannahill noted, “Outlander can be the worst enemy because you give a boost to somebody’s career and they become less available for you later, which is a good thing.”

Indeed, Donnelly and Cree moved on to exciting new projects after playing Jenny and Ian in Outlander. Donnelly won an Olivier Award for The Ferryman and is now starring in HBO’s The Nevers. And Cree now stars in A Discovery of Witches, soon releasing its third season.

“They’re both very successful actors who’ve gone onto different things, different shows, different plays,” Roberts said. “And so for them, themselves they would want to do other things so we can’t just option them for the rest of their career thinking we might use them later on the show.”

Will Laura Donnelly come back to ‘Outlander’?

Outlander Season 6 is based on A Breath of Snow and Ashes. It could also pull from book seven, An Echo in the Bone. (Outlander frequently combines different book plots into one season.) Jenny and Ian aren’t in the sixth book, but they are in the seventh. That could be the one way the couple appears in season 6.

Unfortunately, based on Roberts and Tannahill’s comments, it seems that won’t be happening. What’s more, Donnelly isn’t interested in returning. Speaking with SYFY, Donnelly shared her excitement over Outlander‘s season 7 renewal and commented on her possible involvement.

“Jenny is like a great grandmother by the time they go back,” she said, referencing the Echo in the Bone plot where Jamie and Claire visit Scotland. “And I’m not sure playing a great grandmother is where my heart lies.”

A January 2021 tweet from Cree pretty much confirms Ian Sr. won’t be in season 6.

Sharing an article from Showbiz Cheat Sheet about fans wanting to see him and Donnelly, Cree tweeted, “First I’ve heard but I know @SamHeughan⁩ misses me.”

Outlander Season 6 premieres in early 2022.

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