Outlander Prequel Show In The Works For Starz

An Outlander prequel show is apparently in the works over at Starz, and the news has us a bit baffled. What could an Outlander prequel series possibly cover? The time-traveling period romance drama is one of the network’s biggest hits. This is in large part thanks to a well-established and avid fan base of the books that the show is based upon. So it’s not a huge surprise that Starz is willing to take a risk on a prequel show for Outlander. Let’s take a look at what we know and speculate on what this prequel series could be about.

Spoilers Ahead for the Outlander Book Series

Who Is Involved in the Outlander Prequel Show?

Ronald D Moore Disney+ Outlander Author Diana Gabaldon and Ronald D. Moore | Photo by Christina Ring via Wikimedia Commons

So far details on the Outlander prequel are scarce. Reports indicate that current showrunner Matthew B. Roberts is onboard to write and executive produce the series.  Original showrunner Ronald D. Moore will also continue to act as a producer for this prequel and the ongoing Outlander series. Moore’s creative partner Maril Davis is also set to executive produce.

According to Variety, a writer’s room is currently being assembled for the Outlander prequel over at Starz. Apparently the cable streaming network is determined to get started within the next couple of weeks. And that is literally all of the information we have about a prospective Outlander prequel show.

Are There Prequel Outlander Books for Starz Producers to Draw From?

Lord John Lord John Grey and Jamie Fraser | Photo by Aimee Spinks via Starz

Author Diana Gabaldon has written a few prequel and spin-off stories for Outlander in the past. Notably she has written several books about the fan-favorite character of Lord John Grey. I assumed that if anyone was getting a spin-off in the near future it would be him. Technically many of those titles like Lord John and the Private Matter or The Scottish Prisoner take place concurrently with the events of the Outlander series. These are not really prequel books.

In fact, the only prequel title that Diana Gabaldon has written is a novella called Virgins. This follows a young Jamie Fraser and his friend (and future brother-in-law) Ian Murray as they work as mercenaries in France. While this story could certainly be expanded into a limited series, there really isn’t enough in the way of plot to sustain an entire show.

What Will a Starz Prequel Series Be About?

Season 5 Sophie Skelton as Brianna Fraser and Richard Rankin as Roger MacKenzie in Outlander | Image via Starz

So how far back could a prequel series for Outlander go? I have a few ideas about what could make for a compelling prequel series for Outlander. Unsurprisingly, to explain them requires a lot of backstory.

The character of Roger Mackenzie has been in the Outlander series from the beginning. In the first book/season he was a young boy, adopted by a kindly old Reverend who helped both Claire and her erstwhile husband Frank. As an adult, Roger helps Claire solve the mystery of Jamie’s fate after the Battle of Culloden. He also falls in love with Brianna – Jamie and Claire’s daughter. Roger follows Brianna through the stones and travels back in time to find her, where they eventually they get married.

Outlander Prequel Geillis Duncan Lotte Verbeek as Geillis Duncan | Image via Starz

Roger also has several notable time-travelers in his family lineage as well. He is a descendant of Geillis Duncan and Dougal Mackenzie. Geillis was a friend of Claire’s in the first book/season of Outlander. Together they were tried as witches, and that’s when Claire learned that Geillis was a time-traveler as well. Dougal Mackenzie was Jamie’s uncle, the war-chief of the clan. It was he who actually forced Claire to marry Jamie, for her “protection.” He also later died at Jamie’s hands, on the eve of the Battle of Culloden.

Could The Outlander Prequel Series Focus on Jeremiah Mackenzie?

The bastard son of Geillis and Dougal – named Buck – does appear in the Outlander books (and recently appeared in the fifth season played by Graham McTavish – the same actor who portrayed Dougal Mackenzie). But way down the Mackenzie line is another notable time-traveler – Jeremiah Mackenzie. Roger’s father Jeremiah was a fighter pilot during WWI who mysteriously disappeared and was presumed dead. However, the books reveal that Jerry is still alive in the past. Roger actually meets him at one point, during his own time-traveling adventures.

Outlander Prequel Dougal Mackenzie Graham McTavish as Dougal Mackenzie | Image via Starz

There is still a lot that is unknown about Roger’s father Jeremiah Mackenzie. And here is where I think an Outlander prequel series could really expand on a minor character and give them a new story that eventually ties into the rest of the main characters. There actually is a book written by Diana Gabaldon that tells Jeremiah Mackenzie’s story – A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows. This story covers Jerry’s life during the war, his accidental time travel, and his ultimate tragic death. But most importantly, it ties into the main Outlander novels with Roger’s appearance in the past where he helps his father. This event should be seen on-screen in the confirmed seventh season of Outlander – if they follow the storyline of the books. A prequel series about Jeremiah would help explain that inevitable meeting and give viewers context for the character.

There Are Many Paths for a Prequel Series to Take

Outlander Has A Rape Problem Image via Starz

Obviously, this is just one of many directions an Outlander prequel series could take. There are certainly other possibilities. Maybe we’ll get a prequel show about Ellen Mackenzie and Brian Fraser – Jamie’s parents. Diana Gabaldon is apparently working on a novel about these two right now, so it is possible.

Or maybe a prequel series will explore Claire’s mysterious parents – who died in a car accident when she was a child. Why don’t we know anything about them, while we know the entire history and lineage of every other character?  What if we got a show all about Geillis Duncan and her witchy time-traveling rebel mission?  I would personally love that. Or what if we got a prequel series about the group of modern-day Native Americans who intentionally traveled back in time in hopes of saving their tribes from being wiped out. That last one would be wild and subversive to see, so therefore it is also the least likely option.

More Outlander Is Coming to Starz

Outlander Starz Prequel Photo by Robert Wilson via Starz

Right now, all of this is just wild speculation. The truth is there is no definitive book that would serve as a proper prequel for adaptation. Whatever route they take, it is a certainty that we will continue to see the world of Outlander persisting on Starz for some years to come.

Season 6 of Outlander is due to premiere on Starz on March 6, 2022.

Of course, we will keep you up to date as we learn more about any potential Outlander prequel. For all of the latest news and reviews, be sure to follow Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter today.

Emily O’Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.