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Grab your tri-corner hat, Starz's hit 'Outlander' in filming season 6. Can the pandemic destroy our favorite love saga?

‘Outlander’ season 6 is filming: Celebrate with Jamie’s best moments

As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down TV & film production across the globe last spring, Outlander joined the list of series postponed as the industry determined how to make entertainment safely. “It was really heartbreaking in a lot of ways,” showrunner & executive producer Matthew B. Roberts told Elle. “Understandably, the health of the world was way more important than a television show. We knew that too.”

Outlander wrapped shooting on season 5 way back in November 2019, and like many TV & film productions, making season 6 came to a screeching halt in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, Outlander is officially back in production, filming in Scotland with safety guidelines in place, and Roberts is adamant the delay won’t affect the content of the new season.

Pandemic precautions

“Obviously, with all the new COVID protocols, we’re making sure everyone is kept safe,” Sam Heughan remarked to OprahMag.com. “We’re very fortunate to be working right now.”

The pandemic isn’t the only obstacle to contend with in this shifted production schedule. “We’re getting there. It’s kind of tough with both that, and the weather – it’s winter in Scotland, so that’s been pretty tough. But we’re just happy to be back,” Roberts shared.

Intimate action

When we last saw Jamie (Sam Heughan) & Claire (Caitriona Balfe), the couple and the rest of their clan went to great lengths to protect Fraser’s Ridge from a barrage of threats: Stephen Bonnet, the battle between Governor Tryon and the North Carolina Regulators, and terrifying locust swarms, just to name a few.

Rest assured Jamie & Claire won’t be keeping six feet apart at all times in season 6. “I didn’t want me or the staff changing what the story is for COVID,” Roberts noted, saying the cast & crew are tested constantly. “We have a lot of intimate scenes—that’s where we live & breathe.”

“I don’t know how to write ‘COVID-friendly scenes’, certainly not an Outlander scene, because we are going to have people next to each other, being emotional – you talk close to people, and that’s where it transfers COVID,” Roberts continued.

“We had to figure out, how do we keep Outlander, Outlander?” The solution involved tweaking the action in the original scripts as needed alongside UK producer Guy Tannahill & Mike Gunn, who replaced the show’s longtime production designer Jon Gary Steele.

Guarding the gathering

When it comes to creating a big gathering, like the wedding that began season 5, they’ll lean digital effects over real-life extras. “Every year, Outlander has a big event and we’re still planning that event,” Roberts observed. “We’ll film [the background extras] at a separate time, [then] put it all together in post, and it’s seamless.”

There won’t be a significant time jump since last season either, despite the delay, because “there’s a lot of story we need to connect”, Roberts declared. “There were a lot of things left in the finale of season 5 that we still have to tell.”

So far, each season’s been based on an installment in Diana Gabaldon’s book series. The events of season 5 were largely drawn from book five, The Fiery Cross, but toward the end it also took a storyline from A Breath of Snow and Ashes. Season 6 will continue to draw from that material.

Revolving revolution

“I think what’s going on in the world at the time, 1775, is really similar to what’s going on with Jamie & Claire,” Roberts noted. “There’s going to be a revolution with them as well, and I think that’s what’s going on throughout the season. You have a foundation and when that foundation is shaken and there is a revolution, you have to deal with it. That’s kind of the theme of the season.”

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