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Why Is Outlander Season 6 Going To Be So Short?

Starz's hit series "Outlander" is set for another journey into romance and adventure. The adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's novels enters its sixth season on March 6. A trailer for the next season was released in October (via YouTube), previewing the next chapter in Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire's lives in 18th century America.

It's all about family and personal connections for the long-running Starz series. Season 5 saw Jamie and Claire facing an unavoidable fate as a major historical milestone unfolded around them. An impending revolution threatened to push them apart while devastating choices tested Jamie's allegiances to allies. Claire also dealt with the physical and emotional impact of a savage attack from Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy). One of the series' other central couples, Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin), finally got married before trying to escape through the stones. Their unsuccessful attempt ultimately saw the couple resign themselves to their current situation.

Season 6 focuses on the triumphs as well as the challenges that await Jamie, Claire, and their friends and family in 1775. Executive producer Matthew B. Roberts spoke to Elle in February about his thoughts on the new story arc. "There's going to be a revolution with them as well, and I think that's what's going on throughout the season: You have a foundation, and when that foundation is shaken, and there is a revolution, you have to deal with it. That's kind of the theme of the season," he teased.

Although Season 6 will be telling a momentous story, the upcoming chapter's episode count is notably shorter than previous seasons, and there are two good reasons why.

An abbreviated run may work out well for Outlander

"Outlander" fans have been waiting a long time for Season 6; don't forget that Season 5 wrapped in May 2020. But they'll have to savor every moment of the Starz series even more because the upcoming season will consist of only eight episodes (via Deadline). It's a decision that may be a disappointment to fans, considering previous seasons have consisted of up to 13 episodes.

However, at least one cast member sees this short episode count as a positive. Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie, is confident that fans will find a lot to like about this abbreviated run. "It's a shortened season of eight episodes, but the episodes are much longer – the first episode runs for around an hour and a half," Heughan told The Scotsman in early November. "That extra time spent with the characters means they are really strong episodes, and there are a whole load of new characters coming in."

The reasons for an eight-episode Season 6 can be chalked up to two factors: COVID-19 and weather. As with many productions, accommodations for the lingering pandemic have set back start dates and slowed filming itself in adherence with rigorous safety measures. While necessary, the new standards have also been a major setback to established premiere dates (via CinemaBlend). Nature has another way of pushing back start dates — snow. Harsh winters have already made their mark on past seasons of the series, with cast and crew notably sharing their experiences among the elements (via Daily Record).

In a comment shared by Deadline in June, showrunner Matthew B. Roberts promised that the episode order for Season 7 will go back up to 16 episodes total, which should delight "Outlander" fans to no end.