Outlander actress Laura Donnelly lands lead role in new HBO drama

Outlander season 4

You know Laura Donnelly best either from her role on Outlander as Jenny or her work on the stage. Now, though, she’s getting an exciting opportunity like no other.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Donnelly has been cast in the upcoming drama The Nevers over at HBO. This is a science-fiction period-project that is from executive producer Joss Whedon. He is co-writing the project with Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie, and will also serve as a showrunner and director. Per the official logline, this series is set in the Victorian era and will revolve around women “who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies and a mission that might change the world.” On the surface, this feels like one part superhero project, one part period piece. It’s a little more modern than Outlander, but we’d hardly call it contemporary.

For Donnelly, it’s been a long time coming that she had a chance to take on a lead role in a project like this. She’s had a prominent role in a number of notable UK projects, including The Fall, Missing, Casualty, and Britannia. This is a chance to showcase her talent to a larger degree, and with a project that has a lot of mystery around it. The fact that HBO gave The Nevers a straight-to-series order is a huge signal of their confidence in it; this is not a network that takes chances, as they’ve got a robust lineup of potential quality programming including a potential Game of Thrones prequel, a Watchmen series from Damon Lindelof, More Westworld, and then possibly another season of True Detective. We’re also not ruling out more Big Little Lies, though it could be a while after the second season wraps up before any more is ordered. This is a network that has a way of constantly finding extraordinary television and putting it on the air, we have a feeling that this is a trend that is not ending anytime soon.

Of course, given the timing of this news, we don’t expect to see The Nevers until at least 2020.

What does this mean for her future on Outlander?

Technically, there’s nothing that really prohibits Donnelly from coming back as Jenny other than her schedule. She was unable to return for the fourth season due to some scheduling conflicts. We know that there is still an important role for Jenny in some of the Outlander books to come, but with there being so much going on with the show, it’s always hard to speculate as to what the series is planning to do for events down the road. Much of the notable story for this character, if it’s touched on, would take place in either season 6 or season 7. It’s not something that would be taken on immediately.

Are you happy for Laura Donnelly, and excited to see this project on the air soon? Be sure to share right now in the comments.

Photo: Starz

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