Welcome to Outlander, Young Ian and Joe Abernathy!

Written by: Janet Reynolds

Assuming you're still on this side of the stones, you likely have heard that the Outlander family expanded this week with the announcement that young Ian Murray and Joe Abernathy have been cast. Murray will be played by John Bell while Joe Abernathy will be portrayed by Wil Johnson.

These two characters play pivotal roles in the upcoming seasons, Joe as Claire's medical school confidante and workplace spouse while young Ian is the reason a lot of the action that's coming occurs. (Book readers you know what I'm sayin', right?)

But while you may realize Bell and Johnson have been cast, you may not know that much about them. We've put together a fun little quiz to give you a bit of their history. Enjoy!

Before we get to the quiz, here's a short history of what these two actors have been up to before beginning their journey back in time.

John (Hunter) Bell: Hobbit watchers may recognize Bell for his part in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. But he first nabbed people's attention when he was 10 and won a competition on BBC's Blue Peter that gave him a small role on Doctor Who. (And thus, apparently making his appearance on Outlander part of his acting destiny since Diana Gabaldon has said it was a Doctor Who episode that gave her the idea of making Jamie a Scottish Highlander.)

Bell, who is 18, has also played Helius in Wrath of the Titans, as well as roles on BBC Scotland's Life of Riley and Midsomer Murders, and Hatfield & McCoys for the History Channel.

John Bell as Bain in The Hobbit.

Johnson, meanwhile, got his start at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, moving on to garner praise and recognition in the BBC's Waking the Dead (no, the L is not missing) as Detective Sergeant Spencer Jordan. He has also appeared in Clocking Off and played Marcus Kirby in the BBC drama, Waterloo Road.

Okay so here's your quiz. Answers are below. No cheating, Obsessenachs!

1. Which actor is taller?

a. Wil Johnson
b. John Bell
c. Neither; they are both the same height.

2. Which actor has driven a hearse and acted as a pallbearer in between gigs?

a. Wil Johnson
b. John Bell

3. Which actor had a speech impediment and regular panic attacks while in drama school?

a. Wil Johnson
b. John Bell

4. Which actor has also moonlighted as a DJ in UK clubs?

a. Wil Johnson
b. John Bell
c. Is this a trick question... the kid's only 18!

5. Which star has the  image below on his tumblr account?

a. Wil Johnson
b. John Bell


1. C. They are both the same height: 5'9"

2. A. Wil Johnson did that and a variety of other jobs while getting his acting career going.

3. A. Wil Johnson. He almost quit drama school but decided to stay after filling in for an absent student.

4. A. Wil Johnson spent his Saturday nights in 2015 as the Resident DJ at Porters Bar Dockside Chatham Kent, where it was promised he'd bring you the best in funk, soul, disco, R&B and club classic anthems.  Awesome! But we're guessing he won't need that job anymore. 

5. B. John Bell.

So Obsessenachs, how'd you do? Regardless, we imagine you might have a hankering to add these lads to your social media radar as we die-hard fans seem to do.  Wil Johnson (@1lwilakawiljohn) and John Bell (@JohnBell) are both firing on all cylinders and ready to play in the social media jungle! 

Who do you think they will cast next? Mr. Willoughby? Stephen Bonnet?


  1. Bonnet doesn't appear until Drums, so I doubt it'll be him. Other than Mr. Willoughby, we need (depending of course on how they adapt the book):

    - Hal Grey
    - Older Fergus
    - Duncan Innes
    - Marsali
    - Margaret Campbell
    - Archibald Campbell
    - Lawrence Stern
    - Father Fogden
    - Lord and Lady Dunsany
    - Geneva Dunsany
    - Ishmael
    - Murphy the cook? I got a kick out him, but they may not use him.

    I would guess adult Fergus would be the next announced.

  2. Was also going to say that Bonnet isn't in the novels until Drums of Autumn so they have lots of time to talk Charlie Hunnam into taking the role.:) I agree that Fergus will be next and also agree with the rest of the list! Add the Earl of Ellesmore and Geneva's sister.

    1. Charlie Hunamm would be SUPER as Stephen bonnet!

    2. Noooo. The only Bonnet for me is Matthew Goode. Ever since first reading DOA, I've seen Matthew Goode in my head for Bonnet.

  3. Deb---ah yes the Earl of Ellesmore and Geneva's sister....good reminder. I suppose you're right about Bonnet but I wonder if they'll play with his character and timing since they know they're doing two seasons. We shall see

  4. Thank You Janet for this post,they do a great job with the casting so far!I'd say
    Mr.Willoughby,Geneva,Isobel,Mr.Dunsanay&Lord Ellesmere might be coming,but mature Fergus will be the most important&Marsali.

    1. Zsuzsip: Mature Fergus is going to be critical--especially if we all get our wish for more seasons after 4. Marsali too--totally agree.

  5. Thanks, Janet! Great "bits and bobs" for us to get to know our newest Outlander cast members!

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