Yes, you read that title correctly — CarterMatt is writing today about Outlander season 6, even though we are perfectly well aware we are still only on season 3. The earliest this season could air is 2020, and it would be based (presumably) on the Diana Gabaldon novel A Breath of Snow and Ashes unless the show’s producers started to combine or condense the source material in some other way.
The context in which we’ve heard about Outlander season 6 as of late is simple: Many people who are clamoring for a season 5 renewal have also been angling to see the show ordered for season 6 in advance. Do we understand the sentiment? Absolutely, given that the show was given a two-season renewal just this past year and with the success of the series there is a certain degree of excitement that goes along with it. Everyone wants to see this franchise persevere for as long as possible — presumably so that it makes it to a season 10 and lasts as long as the Diana Gabaldon series.
Do we think it’s possible that an Outlander season 10 actually happens? Sure, but for now let’s focus on what is directly in front of us and that is the possibility of an Outlander season 6.
When it comes to Starz officially ordering it alongside a season 5 renewal, we do think that this is unlikely. There were some strategic benefits to ordering seasons 3 and 4 in tandem, namely in that it gave production an opportunity to plan ahead for the next 12-15 months. They were two seasons ahead of the curve with that renewal. Given that Outlander already has a season 4 renewal, you’d be asking production to think presumably more than 18 months ahead with ordering a season 6 — and we’re just talking about 18 months before the planning stage begins, let alone filming. That’s a big ask for a network. They’ll likely want to start seeing some of the season 4 ratings before making that decision.
Is there a precedent for a renewal this early in advance? Sure, but it’s somewhat rare. A good example is The Big Bang Theory getting renewed for seasons 8, 9, and 10 while in the midst of its seventh season — those renewals came in tandem, (though with contract negotiations) and Outlander isn’t anywhere near the point where they have to sign any regulars to new deals. Meanwhile, on the BBC late last year they renewed Call the Midwife for seasons 7, 8, and 9 — even before season 6 came on the air! That’s one of the earliest times in which we’ve seen this sort of massive renewal come out, but for them they’ve realized that the show is bigger than any one cast member and therefore there is less fear that they’ll lose viewers if something happens over the years.
The one scenario an Outlander season 6 renewal happens now
Starz wants to make everyone feels especially merry this holiday season. There’s no other reason for it right now beyond it being great material for a press release. They can renew for season 6 next year around this time and still be ahead of the production curve. While we’d want it now, patience is a virtue — we’ve learned that due to the length of some of the Droughtlanders already.
For more Outlander news…
We had a fun discussion last night regarding episode titles; head over to this link if you want to check that out!
Also, join our CarterMatt Facebook page to get some more Outlander scoop! It’s a great way to stay up to date with all of our coverage. (Photo: Starz.)