‘Outlander’ Season 5 Will Have Fewer Episodes Than Earlier Seasons

Filming Of Netflix Series Outlander Takes Place In Glasgow
Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty Images

While Outlander Season 5 is still filming in Scotland, cast members have confirmed that they have all taken a longer-than-usual hiatus, which means that the newest season of the show will air months later than usual.

Digital Spy caught up with series star Caitriona Balfe at the BAFTA awards and learned that the Outlander leads have taken a break to take part in other projects, and it will delay the premiere of Outlander Season 5.

Balfe shared that even though the fifth season got underway in February, other delays will mean that the show won’t be back again until January or February of next year — or later.

When Digital Spy caught up with Balfe, she confirmed that the hiatus would be lengthy during this shooting season.

“We have an extended hiatus, we have about seven months off,” she explained.

Seasons 5 and 6 will also have a maximum of 12 episodes instead of 16 like the earlier seasons. Season 5 is based on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novel, The Fiery Cross, and a description of the plot is on the author’s website.

“Set against the War of the Regulation in North Carolina (the first tax-payer’s rebellion in the American colonies, and a precursor to the full-blown Revolution), the story deals with Jamie Fraser’s efforts to protect his family, build a community on Fraser’s Ridge, and keep his land.”

For Season 5, Claire continues to serve as the healer to Fraser’s Ridge, and Gabaldon writes that she is a help and a hindrance to Jamie, while their daughter, Brianna, continues to struggle with her straddling of different time periods.

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht promises Outlander fans that they need not worry about the writers killing off either of the leads anytime soon, because they are the bread and butter of the series. During an appearance at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, Albrecht promised that even though Balfe and Heughan are working on other projects, they will be back to Outlander, and Sophie Skelton will be back too.

“Our biggest concern is making sure that we don’t kill Caitriona and Sam along the way,” Albrecht said.

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But Outlander fans shouldn’t expect that Brianna will take the same path as her mother, as she is a different person, and approaches going back in time in a different way than Claire.

There are two other former cast members who have a big question mark over them as to whether they will return for future storylines from the Outlander series of novels. Ed Speelers, who played Stephen Bonnet, was last seen in prison, and could make his return, if the Starz series follows the books, and Tobias Menzies, who played both Frank and Black Jack Randall, could also come back as one or the other.