The 2021 Outlander panel | Source: the Pop Insider

It’s been nearly a year and a half since new episodes of Starz’ Outlander graced our screens. But for a brief moment at this weekend’s New York Comic Con (NYCC), the Droughtlander ended as a packed room of screaming Sam Heughan Outlander fans got a first look at the upcoming sixth season.

To be honest, the 1-minute teaser, which first aired at the panel before dropping on YouTube, doesn’t give away much at all about what is to come in the abbreviated season, which is set to debut early next year.

However, members of the show’s cast and creative team were also at NYCC, ready to talk — albeit in the vaguest terms possible — about the upcoming, eight-episode arc. The in-person guests were executive producer Maril Davis, Outlander author Diana Gabaldon, and Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser). Cast members Caitriona Balfe (Claire Fraser), Lauren Lyle (Marsali), César Domboy (Fergus), and John Bell (Young Ian) also joined the conversation virtually.

While the cast mostly avoided spoilers, the audience did learn that the Christie family from the novels will appear in Season Six and that the first episode is extra-long. It also sounds like this will be a very intense and action-packed season (when isn’t Outlander intense?), with most of the main characters dealing with personal struggles.

The key art for Season Six, which also debuted at NYCC | Source: Starz

Claire, of course, will be working through the trauma she experienced in the finale of Season Five when [spoilers ahead] she was brutally raped by Lionel Brown and his men. This trauma, Balfe said, impacts Claire in a way that her previous trauma has not. “Claire’s always been so good at compartmentalizing everything and she sort of puts a lid on things and moves on,” Balfe said. “But I think this is the first time she can’t suppress something, and this is the first time where she really has to deal with what happened. And we see her maybe being a little bit destabilized. And so that bleeds into, I think, every aspect of her life…  I think everybody is much more aware of what’s going on with Claire than she is.”

Jamie, meanwhile, has to juggle his many loyalties while maintaining peace at Fraser’s Ridge, preparing for the impending Revolutionary War (“It always seems to be coming, but it is coming!” Heughan quipped), and helping a struggling Claire. “I think Jaime and Claire have spent a lot of time building this community, and I think this is the season where we really see that disintegrate,” Heughan said of Season Six.

Marsali has a lot going on this season, too, according to Lyle. She has less time to work as Claire’s apprentice as she focuses on her role as a mother. “I would say Marsali and Furgus are in the darkest place they’ve been in…” Lyle said. “Maybe there’s one or two fights this season, and Marsali is slightly more run off her feet.”

Related: NYCC 2021: Chucky Is Not Just Child’s Play Anymore

When asked to describe the upcoming season in just one word, the panelists responded with “traumatic,” “unraveled,” “healing,” “intimate,” “cathartic,” and  “fabulous.” For what it’s worth, that “fabulous” came from Gabaldon, who also said this upcoming season is one of her favorites so far, just behind Season One.

Aside from giving these teasers about the upcoming season, the panel was full of some behind-the-scenes stories, an obligatory game that involved guessing the meaning of Scottish phrases, and fan questions. Lyle really stole the show with stories about wearing her pregnancy suit on set, being sent lots of pictures of fans’ cats named Marsali, and falling asleep during filming in a field after being called back to set straight from the Glastonbury Festival.

Check out the teaser trailer below, and stay tuned for more information about the long-awaited return to Fraiser’s Ridge!

About the author

Madeleine Buckley

Madeleine Buckley

Madeleine Buckley was a Senior Editor at The Pop Insider, The Toy Insider, and The Toy Book. She covered all things toys and fandom, and has appeared on Cheddar and a variety of regional news networks to talk about the latest trends in both. She is a movie score enthusiast, mediocre knitter, proud Syracuse alumna, and Marvel lover. You can usually find her at the movies or hanging out at home with her super-pup, Parker.