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Laura Hurley

How Did Outlander's Newest Stars Prepare For The 'Big Undertaking' Of Season 7? Here's What They Told Us

Outlander's new Season 7 cast members Charles Vandervaart, Izzy Meikle-Small, and Joey Phillips

Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 4 of Outlander Season 7, called “A Most Uncomfortable Woman.”

Outlander may have said goodbye to two major characters in the 18th century with Brianna and Roger returning to their own time, but the latest episode gave a much larger role to William Ransom (Charles Vandervaart) – a.k.a. Jamie’s secret son – and introduced siblings Rachel (Izzy Meikle-Small) and Denny Hunter (Joey Phillips). All three newcomers are marching toward war, although not all on the same side. When the new Outlander cast members spoke with CinemaBlend, they opened up about the undertaking of joining a show that has already been running for the better part of a decade. 

As of the end of “A Most Uncomfortable Woman,” William’s loyalties are entirely to the crown, and even a near-death experience and very close call with losing his hand haven’t discouraged him from trying to complete his secret mission from his superior officer. He also seems to have formed a connection with Rachel Hunter, and it remains to be seen if king and country remain his top priorities as he experiences more of the realities of war. 

William of course had been featured on Outlander prior to the seventh season, but Charles Vandervaart plays the aged-up version of the character. When I asked the Canadian actor how he prepared to join a show that’s already very deep into its lore in Season 7, he explained: 

I think it's normal to jump in a show of this scale to have a bit of impostor syndrome right away, but these guys have been really, really welcoming. You just have to trust the work that you've done, and kind of trust the people around you, and we have an amazing cast and crew. So it was definitely a lovely show to come into. We have the best fandom in the world. We have the best cast and crew in the world. So I feel very lucky to be here.

William is also in the center of a big secret shared by Jamie Fraser as his biological father and Lord John as the father who raised him, although he’s unaware of the sky-high stakes between the two men. For his part, Charles Vandervaart only had good words for the cast and crew who welcomed him into Outlander. After William’s exploits in the swamp in Episode 4, the character doesn’t seem quite as lucky as the actor feels! 

The fourth episode also introduced Rachel and Denny Hunter, a pair of Quaker siblings who were forced to leave their community because of his support for the rebels’ pursuit of liberty. New cast members Izzy Meikle-Small and Joey Phillips discussed their characters’ priorities with war approaching. The actress went on to share her experience with preparing to join Outlander

It's a big undertaking! [laughs] It's a little bit overwhelming, but in the best way. It's great. There's already so much material for you to be able to dive into the world. You can watch all the previous seasons, and you can read the books and I feel like you can just immerse yourself in the world, and that's the best preparation there is.

Although the Hunter siblings have only appeared in one episode so far, it’s a safe bet that they’ll only become more important as the super-sized Season 7 continues. Rachel and Denny certainly seem to come as a unit, and Joey Phillips echoed what his co-star said about her preparation to join the show. The actor explained:

Yeah, for sure. And everybody who works on Outlander is so talented. All the cast and the crew and just anybody who has anything at all to do with it, I think, are just some of the best people in the industry. So it feels like such a wonderful team to be joining. I feel very lucky.

The consensus among the Outlander newcomers seems to be that they feel very lucky to have landed their roles, with Izzy Meikle-Small saying “Me too” in response to her on-screen brother’s comments. Their characters may need all the good fortune they can get, as Episode 4 ended with the Hunters intending to join the Continental army to put Denny’s skills as a surgeon to good use. 

On William’s part, his cause for king and country in the Colonies is doomed to fail, although only the time-travelers and those in on their secret know that at this point! While the stakes are certainly more life-and-death for the characters in the 18th century than Roger and Bree back in the 20th, stars Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin had a fun debate about the Jacobite Gold and whether their characters should go after it. 

The promo for the next episode indicates that there are whole new dangers ahead: 

Keep tuning in to Starz on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of Outlander Season 7, or stream the episodes on Fridays starting at midnight ET via the Starz app. Although the season received an order for 16 episodes, the back half will be saved for 2024, so not too many are left this year!

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