STARZ RENEWS OUTLANDER FOR SEASONS 3 AND 4!

Written by: Blake Larsen


It's official ladies and gents.  Outlander has been renewed for seasons 3 AND 4.  I know it was a seemingly long wait, but boy, I have to admit - getting a commitment for two more seasons makes it well worth the wait.  To be honest, I don't want to say I told you so - but, too bad, I told you so.  So, rest easy and hit the jump for more details about what season 3 and 4 will bring you and what STARZ has to say about them...




OK seasons three and four are on the way.  What a relief.  Actually, I am a tad surprised that both seasons were announced, but I have a theory on why they may have done it this way - more on that in a bit.

In keeping with the book-per-season method that has been employed for the first two seasons, it looks like season 3 will be adapted from Diana Gabaldon's third novel, "Voyager" and the fourth season will be adapted from the fourth book in the series, "Drums Of Autumn."

This is very exciting news as we approach the back quarter of season 2, and it can certainly quell a lot of fear/ insecurities about the renewal of this hit show for STARZ.

 The funny thing is that STARZ, and it's CEO, Chris Albrecht, certainly do know the power of their most valuable IP and clearly did not have a problem renewing their order of the Tall Ship Productions/Sony Television produced series.  Even Albrect acknowledged the uncanny strength of their show when he discussed the reason for renewal:

'Outlander’ is like nothing seen before on television. From its depiction of a truly powerful female lead character, to the devastating decimation of the Highlander way of life, to what is a rarely seen genuine and timeless love story, it is a show that not only transports the viewer, but inspires the passion and admiration of its fans. On this 25th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the U.S., we are thrilled and honored to be able to continue the story that began with author Diana Gabaldon, and is brought to life by the incredibly talented Ronald D. Moore. There are no better storytellers for ‘Outlander’ than this team, both in front and behind the camera.

Notice a couple of interesting tidbits mentioned by Albrecht:

1. He mentions the devoted fans - which is an acknowledgement of your amazing power as a collective group, but it's also a veiled acknowledgement that you have brought in tons of subscriptions, and that he hears your passionate voices as it relates to the renewal.  In other words - crap, if I don't renew - we're going to lose all these brand new viewers we just got!


2. The 25th anniversary - the delay in the announcement is clearly a calculated PR move.  They certainly wanted to bring more light to the show, but also capture all the book readers at the same time who are celebrating "Outlander Day."  But here's another idea - it's also a little bit of a solid for Diana Gabaldon too - not only does it bring more eyes to the books, but it also highlights Diana herself too.  Not only is the show being celebrated, but now Diana (who seems to have been a little bit at odds with some production choices) is also center stage too.  Smart.  Very smart.

There is also a precedent for this too - Paramount wanted to capitalize on the 50th anniversary of STAR TREK this year, and despite a rushed production, they have produced, shot and will be releasing STAR TREK BEYOND this year.


3. Ronald D. Moore - Notice how he calls out RDM specifically?  This is a big shot in the arm for fans who were worried about RDM and the new limited Phillip K. Dick series.  Albrecht is essentially telling you that RDM and the team he has assembled isn't going anywhere ANY time soon.


With all that said, it's really a no brainer that STARZ renews Outlander.  Season 1 averaged over 5 million multiplatform viewers per episode, and it currently owns the record for the highest rated premiere ever on STARZ as well.

But here is a little prediction for you, and this is when we get back to why I think both seasons were announced:

I think the renewal is a HUGE benefit to RDM and company because it gives them a set amount of episodes to tell their story.  Of course, we all know that there are more than just four books, but that doesn't mean there has to be more seasons to tell the rest of the story.

 Is it possible that Outlander pulls a Game of Thrones move, and crafts their own ending of the story between Jamie and Claire, under the guidance and suggestions of Diana Gabaldon?

Here's what I mean - they have two more seasons to tell the story they set out to tell from the beginning.  And STARZ wanted to give RDM the confidence in knowing he has that much time left.  Let's say there will be between 10-13 episodes per season from here on out.  That would give us between 20 and 26 more hours to tell this story.  Let's go even further and say that perhaps we get a couple 2 hour episodes in the fray as well (many shows have done this in their final seasons: 24, The Walking Dead, LOST, Battelstar Galactica just to name a few) then we may end up with as many as 30 more hours of Outlander.

Can 30 more hours tell the story of a pared down Outlander?  Well, without knowing the books, it's hard to say - but if you can adapt Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows into a 4 hour epic, then you can certainly accomplish your own SPECIFIC story you set out to tell with Outlander.

Keep in mind, while subscription are indeed at an all time high, money is coming in for STARZ, and the show is certainly running at a creative peak right now, Outlander IS an expensive prospect for STARZ and Sony.  It may make fiscal sense to keep the show at four seasons and not drag it out longer than it needs to be.

Another aspect of this too is the creative team behind the show - Ron Moore is currently 51.  Certainly not old, but definitely not young (in terms of show running) either.  If he commits to adapting every book into a season of television, he's got AT LEAST another 7 more years of showrunning this HUGE, complicated, expensive, and geographically diverse show.  By committing that time, he is essentially forfeiting the rest of his creative career to realize Diana's vision of Outlander.  Will he want to move onto another series before he turns 60? Does he want to do something original? Does he want the stresses of finances, travel, and coordination of this show to impact his year and family that far into the future?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  Only RDM knows the answer.

One solution would be to move into only an Executive Producer role - kind of like Carlton Cuse does on Colony, Bates Motel, and Jack Ryan -  and leave the SHOW RUNNING to someone else of his picking.  But, do we really want to watch an Outlander not run by Ron Moore?  I'm not so sure.


NOTE: STARZ has never renewed a show (after season 2) with a two season order.  AND they have never renewed a show beyond season 4.  I'm not saying they don't have faith in Outlander, clearly STARZ does believe in it's power, but this is entirely possible.  Also note that RDM's previous most famous show, Battlestar Galactica, also had a four season run.


It may or may not be true - but we clearly have two more seasons, and RDM has never been shy about putting his own stamp on the material.  Book readers may not like this idea, but it would certainly separate the show from the book, and it wouldn't spoil the ending of the written series for the devout book readers, but would possibly serve as a happy medium and satisfying ending for both watchers and readers.


Are you happy about the renewal of seasons 3 and 4? Do you think we'll only get 4 seasons of Outlander?

30 comments

  1. No, No, and No on ending the series after Season 4. I think that is not likely to happen. A "new ending" for Jamie and Claire would make Episode 2.08 and the Laoghaire changes look like chopped liver in comparison. Crafting a "new ending" different from the ending that Diana has publicly stated she has already decided on for Book 10??? No. I don't see it. Plus, as you said, it would be a MAJOR spoiler for the end of Diana's successful series. For any author, it would be Katie-bar-the-door on letting that happen. Instead I see a wildly successful Season 4 (Bree and Roger story line will add new interest) and more seasons after that. Outlander has been a FIRST for Starz in many ways. And, I think this continues. It will get a 5th season and more unless they start siphoning off viewers with more ill conceived jump the shark moments. However, Ron Moore may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night. I think he gets it. Nice try, Blake. Don't think this theory will hold true. However, we will have a long time to wait before we find out. Excited for two more seasons -- amazing Voyager and the Roger and Bree story line in Drums. YAY!!!

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    1. I'll echo the no, no, no with a HELL no. I don't want to spoil it for non-book readers, but ending after Season 4 - even if you tried to rewrite it - would be worse than Ralph Bakshi ending his attempt at LOTR after the Battle of Helm's Deep. Much, much, MUCH worse.

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  2. Long Time Fan, first time commenting! Blake regarding your renewal theory, I could get *on board* if they had not specifically stated that season 3 is based on Voyager and season 4 will be based on Drums of Autumn. But I am not dismissing your theory completely, I do think that they will cut out a lot of the *fat* that are in the books. I think we get a least five seasons! Starz has changed its whole *system* this past year, so that also plays into my doubt we will only get two more seasons. Loving the podcast!!!
    Love from NOLA

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  3. Cue speculations of a completely uneducated television fan -

    It's definitely uncharted territories for Starz, but I don't see them stopping at 4 seasons. Not going to 10, yes, and cutting out some of the story from 4-10 (let's be honest we love that narrative but not all of it is necessary for the OVERALL story of Claire and Jaime). I just don't see them stopping the cash flow at 4 when there is so much more possibility for the story. I guess it'll depend on how tv audiences respond to the dramatic shift in setting.

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  4. Perhaps you are correct, sir, and RDM will bow out after 4. But then that makes space for awesome Maril. From PA to Showrunner, she would have total support!

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  5. If it was known there would be a season 3 & 4 could some of the episodes been less rushed? Could some have been expanded into 2 episodes. We seem to be rushing toward the revolt. Having not read the books is there still enough material for 2 more seasons?

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    1. Oh yes!!!!! I can't give you any clues without spoiling it,BUT there is a whole lot more. Here is some perspective, you haven't even met half of main characters yet!!!!!!!!!! There are 8 books and she is working on the 9th. Actually IMO there is material for at least three more seasons!!!!
      The journey has just started!!!!!

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    2. Enough material (giggle/snort). Ahem. There's so so SO much more. As others have said, I don't want to spoil it, but suffice to say that after the Jacobite Uprising, life does go on, and life for the Frasers is, er, interesting. To put it mildly.

      I can't wait to see Voyager and Drums come to life on the screen. Awesome adventures and characters ahead!

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  6. Without spoiling anything...all I can say is hell to the no at ending it at Season 4 if they are doing Drums of Autumn. There is a LOT more to the story...it might be different if DG was "ending" her books at book 9 with a presumed publication in 2017... But, she isn't...she has already said there will be a book 10...and that might be the end. There are so many adventures beyond Drums. Can some of the later books be consolidated...somewhat;) But...why would Starz kill off such a golden goose? I think the two season renewal gives the production crew and actors a better and more economical way to make plans with sets, filming and casting.

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  7. They really can't end at 4. It's more like 1-3 is a set .. and then 4-6 is a set. So if we go to 4 .. I think we will at least go to 6.

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    1. That is true! IF they said they were splitting up book 3 into two seasons, I could see them ending it after season 4. They specifically said season 3 is based on voyager and season 4 will be based on drums of autumn. Why would they say that? They do not have the time to introduce the next main characters and tell their journey in two seasons only.

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  8. Blake, given that you are not a book reader and have no concept of where this story goes I forgive you such blasphemy. Clearly they want to do a book per season and there is no conceivable way the story could end at the end of book 4. As it is, Voyager is so complex and will challenge RDM even more than Dragonfly in Amber to hit the critical story points, not to mention the production challenges which will make Season 2 look like a walk in the park, trying to further condense and collapse this story so that it ends at the end of Drums of Autumn is IMPOSSIBLE. From what I understand both Sam and Cait are under 7 year contracts and Richard and Sophie are under 5 year contracts. That means, they are planning for 7 years IF STARZ continues to renew. As someone else said, this is the goose that lays the golden eggs and they know that there are a total of 8 very successful books with a storyline proven to excite the fans. Why would they throw that away? Who says a replacement project wouldn't be just as expensive to produce without a built in fan base?

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    1. I hadn't heard about the seven year contract commitment. That's a long time, but good news if it's true!

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  9. This is a whole lotta speculating going on. Can't we just be happy that they renewed for two more seasons and have made it clear that they are based on books 3 and 4, rather than start the worry train and rumors that Season 4 will be it? One of the things that I think would make Outlander a more interesting project to produce/showrun than many others is the variation of settings and "looks" - from bucolic Scotland to Versailles to war scenes to long scenes on a boat, the West Indies, etc. No to mention different time periods. Lots to keep up the interest from a production standpoint. The biggest issue to my mind is not the production team but the actors. These long series hamstring the main actors in a big way, but unlike when Dan Stevens left Downton Abbey (Matthew Crawley), this show could not survive the loss of any of the main characters. So, their contracts are strict, but short term - usually 3 seasons to begin with. Perhaps they've extended to 4 seasons, perhaps they've gotten commitments from the actors for 5 seasons. The actor's have stuck with Game of Thrones for now six seasons - but none of them do the kind of heavy lifting that Cait and Sam do. Anyway, let's just enjoy it!

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    1. Linda I agree. Why rain on our parade with unsubstantiated speculations when we just all took a big sigh of relief. Last year early in Season 1 Sam Heughan said he was under a 7 year contract which means Caitroina Balfe must be as well because the series would be over without them. This is not unusual for Network TV shows. Nathan Fillian and Stana Katic on "Castle" were both under 7 year contracts. Aiden Turner who plays Poldark is under a 5 year contract (12 books in that series that are much shorter than DG's books.) When you are basing a series on a book series, you have to lock in your principal characters. For relative unknowns like Sam and Cait, I am sure they were thrilled to sign up long term.

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    2. Don't forget after Dragonfly, the main storyline divides somewhat, where's Jamie and Claire and there's Bree and Roger. So in theory this should free up some time for Sam and Cait to do some other projects should they want to. I know from interviews with other TV actors they often welcome long contracts (think The Good Wife which was 8 year run for the main character) as it gives amazing job security that is difficult to come by in this industry. I seriously think there will be more than 4 seasons.

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  10. I could see them ending after 4 seasons if they were splitting Voyager up into 2 seasons, because that would close out a perfect story arch, and, frankly, I think it's what they should do, because Drums of Autumn is when I start wanting to grab characters by the shoulders and shake some sense into them. The Paris section of DIA taught us nothing if not this: If it's boring to read, it's boring to watch.

    That said . . . if they're doing DoA, well . . . there's no natural ending there, unless they tack on the first 250 pages (felt like a thousand) of TFC.

    We'll just have to see.

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    1. Lol...It took me a month (or two) to get *through* The Gathering!

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    2. I couldn´t agree more. The 3 first books are definitely the best and make a natural ending. After that the story spreads out in a way that makes it sometimes hard to follow, and the characters are getting more annoying (if still entertaining !). If they split book 3 in two seasons that would give them time to tell the story without the rushing we´ve seen i the beginning av this season, and I think that would make just GREAT TV! So I hope this is what they will do.

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  11. I agree with the comments that book 4 would not make for a great ending. However, I think a season 5 would depend on a lot of factors, i.e. actors' commitments to continuing, producers' commitments to continuing, etc. But, most importantly going forward will depend on ratings. I intend to just sit back and enjoy the rest of this season and the next two. Love the show!

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  12. Wonderful news,thank you Blake for this post!This made my day,actually Voyager is one of my favourites in the books I like the adaptation its the visual OL which I love & couldn't imagine anyone else for the leads!

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  14. I like everyone's conjecture, but here's a little more. We might want to have a conversation about show alone - which will be even more interesting when we see who shows up by the end of this season (those words give me a panic attack, not from book knowledge, the coming attractions are killing me enough.)
    There's no saying the show will follow the books as we know them at all. I just wrote a DG length comment after Teddy's article about how much more financers get involved after a wildly successful season. I think we started to see some fundamental changes before season 2 that made this season a super shaky one and showed signs of either suspect meddling or a kidnapped creative team ��. I have hopes that the show will be able to refocus on something solid that keeps me engaged, but it may be awhile before we see a Jamie and Claire story that harkens back to the couple that hooked me in.
    Were they telling us in the first episode that we would get a Claire and Frank story? With not much time they've also been dropping mountain sized hints about Brianna and Roger. On the other hand, RDM loves boats and pirates, so who knows!? Maybe Blake will come up with a prophecy!

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  15. Selfish and greedy fans. What makes you think these fine actors want to be locked in to this series forever? 4 years is great with me and I pray our actors and crew get multitudes of awards for their deserving work!

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    1. I was thinking about the actors as well! Especially after seeing that some of the choices made regarding what did and did not go into the last episode had to do, in part, with availability of some of the secondary cast.
      Particularly, Caitroina and Sam who are now in a new world professionally. I hope they get whatever work they want fit giving me such a wonderful Claire and Jamie, even when it's occasionally despite the material - which is always pay off the job! Good on the whole cast for that matter!!! 👏

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    2. Well, since Catriona has been quoted as saying she wants to play Claire "forever," I'd say that's what makes me think so.

      Seriously, do you have any idea how much actors relish 1. A great role and 2. A steady job? Sam Heughan spent 19 YEARS working, hoping and praying for his big break. The vast, vast majority of actors want employment rather than "freedom," as "freedom" generally means trying desperately to find another role.

      Catriona spoke about that in an interview some months ago, saying she couldn't understand how actors could ditch a great TV show, and noting that several who did so were never seen again.

      Not to mention that an acclaimed, short-season show is not indentured servitude. The producers, writers, set designers, etc. will put in insane amounts of time, but the actors, though they work hard, can't match that. Catriona is appearing in "Money Monster" as we speak, and Tobias Menzies reportedly will be back on Game of Thrones. The actors have time for other projects. (And not to spoil it, but as time goes on, Claire and/or Jamie don't carry EVERY scene, so Catriona and Sam will have less of a time commitment.)

      Lastly, though as has been pointed out, there is a case to be made for ending after Voyager, ending after DOA would be nearly impossible. If the show continues to be acclaimed and receive good ratings, little doubt that Starz will renew it.

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  16. Just a general comment: I remember Sam saying somewhere in an interview that he's so grateful for the opportunity given to him with Outlander (yeah, I bet GOT people are kicking themselves!!) and he's always cognizant that it could all go away in a second. Those weren't his exact words, but that was the sentiment. I think, of course I can't know, that he and Caitriona probably breathed a big sigh of relief when they found out about the two year renewal. Sure they're tired after months of filming (and not just any filming - filming that included monumental emotional, mental, and physical efforts EACH AND EVERY episode IMHO)and sure they may not always get to do all the outside projects they want, but if it wasn't for Outlander they might not be getting those projects anyway - who's to know.

    And, aside from all the awesome accolades and recognition they're receiving (and my guess is will continue to receive) for their fantastic acting (which is RIGHTLY deserved) they're breaking down barriers in television and raising the bar (again imho) more than any other show out there right now as far as addressing real issues of sex, violence, love, loss AND the aftermath of those things- not to mention showcasing strong female roles both in front of AND behind the camera. I mean, whatever anybody's opinion about certain scenes or dialogue or parts added or parts taken away or even the overall flow of Season 2, this is an unmatched production in terms of writing, acting, and producing. My brother's college football team won their league championship last year and his head coach, in the locker room, used to tell them before each game that the proof was in the pudding. Silly, I know, but I feel the same with this show.

    I don't know what happens after Season 4 (like others I could do without the Gathering that had no ending...LOL!!) and Blake, love ya, but hope you're not right this time and not because you do the "I told ya so" dance...HAHA, but whatever happens, I'm so happy the series was even made and grateful for whatever time it continues.

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  17. They probably renewed it for 2 seasons this time because A: It is such a big hit and B: They can shoot the 2 seasons without as much wait so that Starz doesn't have to wait as long for their biggest show to come back on the air. Its not the first show to be renewed for two seasons at a time, that went on for years to come. Just look at shows like Supernatural and NCIS. To speculate that this is the end at season 4 would be premature. Ron and the gang have never suggested that they planned on ending it with 4 seasons. Diana has sure never said anything like that.

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