Brianna and Roger will present a united front in Outlander's sixth season / Picture Credit: Starz
Brianna and Roger will present a united front in Outlander's sixth season / Picture Credit: Starz

Outlander fans have never had such a long wait between seasons of the show. Making sure that the sixth outing for the series is as good as it can be, coupled with the pressures and time restraints forced upon production by the coronavirus pandemic, has meant it’s been almost two years since Season 5.

Fortunately, the Season 6 premiere is now right around the corner. To celebrate, we spoke to Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin - who play Brianna and Roger in the show - to find out a little bit about their experiences on set, filming in Scotland and, just what we should expect from the couple’s story moving forward.

The sixth season of Outlander is right around the corner and it looks as though our favourite characters will be going through some of the most challenging moments of their lives! What should audiences expect as they try to navigate life in America as it lurches towards revolution?

Sophie: They should expect a lot of new faces causing disruption and the weight of time travellers being in an era where people didn’t know the revolution was coming. The responsibility of that’s put on their shoulders in how they deal with it, amidst the action of the revolution that’s looming as well.

Richard: The weight of Roger’s beard. That’s new in Season 6! I misjudged that. I wildly misjudged that.  Iwas left to my own devices on that front and, I know this is nothing to do with your question but I just thought of it. I had an idea of what that looked like in my head and then when I saw it on screen, I thought ‘oh my God, that is much larger than I ever thought!’ 

Nothing wrong with a large beard, it works! Everything’s larger on camera, right?

Richard: The camera adds 10 pounds alright! Why didn’t you ever tell me Sophie that my beard was twice the size of my head?

Sophie: Well it’s fine, I had a lymph node problem this season any way so my face was chubby too, so between Brianna and Roger they’ve just been enjoying married life and eating too much cake!

What should we expect to see from Bri and Roger’s relationship in this upcoming season?

Richard: I think Roger and Bri are a real team this season. I think there’s a support and a love between the two of them that I don’t think we’ve quite seen the strength of [before]. I think it must always have been there, they’ve endured so much, but I think we really get to see them and why they’re a couple, why they fell in love and why they’re married; I think we get to see a real different side to that relationship this year.

I think all they took with them through Season 5, all they endured through that part of the story has strengthened them even further, and galvanised them as a team. I really enjoyed playing that this season and, I think that the fans will enjoy seeing it.

Sophie: I think until this point, Roger and Brianna as a couple have been very different to Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe), in that Roger and Brianna fight amongst themselves and, Jamie and Claire deal with external circumstances as a team.

It almost flips this season, it’s like Roger and Brianna are a really united front this season, which we haven’t really seen in them before. They’re dealing with the external problems whereas, Jamie and Claire have a little bit more, internal issues. It’s a cool little switch and to see how the couples deal with it differently, it will be really interesting for the fans.

Will Roger and Brianna swap peacekeeping duties with Jamie and Claire? / Picture Credit: Starz
Will Roger and Brianna swap peacekeeping duties with Jamie and Claire? / Picture Credit: Starz

As this non-conventional family tries to forge a path, should we expect to see internal family struggles and drama in Season 6?

Sophie: The Frasers are just a dysfunctional family really aren’t they! (laughs) As most families are. I definitely think there’s always something that’s gonna disrupt the happy family moments. We do have some lovely moments this season where we actually have all the family together which is quite rare.

We’ve got Marsali (Lauren Lyle) and Fergus (César Domboy) in as well, so we have some very peaceful family moments but yeah, we’re definitely gonna see some family tension and crumbling.

Richard: But they are kind of lending themselves into situations in their surrounding family, well Roger and Bri are anyway. There’s a potential drama that unfolds with Marsali and Fergus, and there are certain questions that hang over Jamie and Claire as Season 6 goes on, and that’s just a few. But we see Roger and Brianna lend a hand with these other relationships and family moments, rather than having their own internal conflicts constantly turning over, so that’s an interesting new dynamic I think.

Can you tell us a little bit about how filming changed due to the global pandemic and how you found that?

Sophie: It’s funny even looking back now, because even the simple things like testing, this was a time when the world was locked down so, people weren’t really taking lateral flow tests, or PCR as much as maybe they are now, now that people are travelling, testing before they go to places and events and things. So, we were being tested extensively, every day, even on our days off we’d have to go in and get tested. It was all very strict and stringent and, that was a very bizarre side of it initially, just because it wasn’t really something we were used to, it was such an unorthodox thing to be faced with. But we quickly got into the rhythm of it and it just became the norm to be honest, to the point where then when other people had gone back to work and things in different industries, saying ‘oh we’ve got these tests and they suck!’, it was like, ‘yeah, we were having those at 4am every day!’ (laughs)

It doesn’t make for great scenes when your nose is running and you’ve got a tickly throat from having cotton bud in there but, in terms of just being back, I think we just felt exceptionally lucky to even be able to go to work, not just because our industry was struggling in terms of productions being shut down left, right and centre and shows being cancelled and, things not being able to shoot, but the fact that people were locked down at home and couldn’t see anyone.

Not only did we get to go to work and be outside and be in Scotland, we actually got to see our Outlander family which is, our family away from family given how much time we all spend together. To be honest, we just felt exceedingly fortunate, so going back to work was a blessing really.

An incredible cast comes together for the much-loved series / Picture Credit: Starz
An incredible cast comes together for the much-loved series / Picture Credit: Starz

Some of the locations where you film look absolutely incredible on camera, so we can only imagine what it’s like to be there in the moment. Where have been some of your favourite places to film the show?

Sophie: I think where we filmed the Stones [Callanish Standing Stones, Craigh na Dun] is just beautiful. It’s one of those places in Scotland where you can really feel the energy of the place. It just has this really bizarrely calm, still, silent aura to it, doesn’t it Richard?

Richard: Oh yeah, not always! The first time we tried to film at the Stones it was some of the worst weather we’d had on set. There was lighting rigs falling down, there was flags flying all over the place, but the second time when we went back to reshoot that scene, it was like being in a studio. There was not a breath of wind, there was moonlight, there was deer galloping in the distance. We were going, ‘this is not real, this isn’t happening.’

Sophie: The natural moonlight actually looked so artificial that we had to wait for that to move past, so we could bring in the lighting to make that scene. Sometimes Scotland’s so beautiful people don’t believe it, just like how the weather changes in a day.

One of my other favourite ones was when we were doing Season 2 and we went to Loch Katrine and, in the same day we shot a scene of us in the car, and a scene of us by the Loch, and in the car there was so much snow around us and, by the time we got to the Loch there was nothing and we had to reshoot it because they were like, ‘people just won’t believe that this is [anything but] bad continuity’, but it is actually Scotland! You do get four seasons in one day! It’s almost too good to be true and you have to redo things, but that was a beautiful location.

The Outlander fandom is an extremely passionate one. What’s it like having such fiercely loyal fans of the show and your individual characters?

Sophie: It’s really surreal and touching, especially when you get to meet the fans in-person, you just feel that passion and the support is immense. It doesn’t even just stay with Outlander now, once they start to support your character and you as an individual, they follow all of your projects and the passion just extends to anything that you do, which is really rare and a beautiful thing, and I don’t think a day goes by when we’re not just really grateful because of that. It’s very unique.

Have there any been any gifts from fans, or moments with fans that really stick with you, that have been really memorable?

Richard: They are very thoughtful and considerate. They do, like Sophie was saying, support everything you do, but they kind of like to care for you and look after you at the same time! So often, if you come out and say that you are interested in something or like something… recently I came out and said ‘I enjoy a sock, I like a pair of socks!’ A good, comfortable sock, right? You can’t beat a good sock. I don’t know why the socks have been singularised, I don’t know when that happened or what the purpose of it is but anyway, most recently I’ve been given about a dozen pair of socks.

Before that I made, maybe not necessarily a mistake because I did enjoy it for the most-part, but I think way back in one of my first ever seasons, maybe Season 2, I said that I like a biscuit much like my character, because Roger likes a biscuit. Then, the amount of biscuits I received for the following year was an astounding amount of biscuits.

Sophie: That’s why you had to grow the beard, to hide the biscuit weight! (laughs)

Richard: That’s why I grew the beard! So they like to kind of look after you and make sure your requirements and needs are catered to. When nine million of them are doing that, that adds up to a lot of biscuits!

Outlander Season 6 premieres March 6th on STARZPLAY.

RELATED: Outlander Season 6: Check out the trailer for the return of the epic Starz series

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