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Adrienne Jones

New And Returning Outlander Stars Explain Their Characters’ Priorities As War Approaches In Season 7

jamie and claire on the battlefield in outlander season 7

Sassenachs! Can you feel the excitement? Because today is the day we’ve been waiting for since early May 2022. The 2023 TV schedule has finally brought us Outlander! Fans have spent the past several months since the major cliffhanger of the sixth season finale (which saw Claire badly in need of saving after being arrested for the murder of Malva Christie) getting pumped for the time traveling drama’s new season and wondering just how Jamie, Young Ian and their allies will get Mrs. Fraser back home. But, let’s not forget that the story is now at the start of the American Revolutionary War, and several of the new and returning stars have now explained their characters’ priorities as war approaches.

While we already know that Jamie will be “like a bull” in the premiere of Outlander Season 7 when it comes to getting Claire back safely, the other major event that the characters will have to contend with is the American War of Independence, which will, obviously, continue to upend things as the battle lines are drawn. Part of the difficulty here is that the fight will be verra, verra personal for the Frasers, as Jamie’s illegitimate son, William Ransom, has joined the fight as a British officer. 

While speaking to the press about the penultimate season, John Bell (Young Ian), David Berry (Lord John Grey), and cast newcomer Charles Vandervaart, who plays our now-grown wee Willie, were asked about their characters' goals in Season 7, and Vandervaart confirmed that his duties as a soldier are paramount when we first meet him:

We all share some similarities, I think, all of us. We're all a family in one way or another. I definitely think that my character is quite passionate about the war, at least right at the beginning. And he's quite naive about it, because he's never been in war before. So I think he wants to fight for king and country, whether or not he actually knows what that means. That's still up for debate, but I think that's his priority right at the beginning of the season.

William, as we know, was raised by his uncle, Lord John, and currently has no knowledge of the fact that his uncle’s good friend, Jamie Fraser, is actually his father. With him not knowing that Jamie and Lord John are on opposite sides of the fight, and being “naive” about his paternity and the horrors of war in general, we’ve also been promised that he’ll have a “multi-layered journey” this season, so it sounds like Willie’s gonna be learning some things.

As you might expect from someone who’s now been a trained warrior for quite some time, and who has always been ride or die for his Uncle Jamie and Auntie Claire, Bell said that Young Ian is thinking about family and the war, as well:

I think the same with Young Ian, honestly, but for different reasons. That's where he starts off. That's his main mission. His main goal is to kind of see the birth of America, support his uncle and his aunt, but his priorities kind of change a little later. I don't know if I can say too much about that. There's certainly the winds of change for him too. Another priority appears for him.

Ooooh. Sounds a bit mysterious right? Well, seeing as how a large portion of Season 7’s events come from the seventh novel, An Echo in the Bone, I think many viewers can probably guess some of what’s to come for the ever faithful and tough Ian. That young man deserves some happiness, and he just might get it. Speaking of which, it’s no secret that some of what makes people happy is love, whether that be familial or romantic, and Berry noted that love of all kinds will be explored this season:

I think Outlander is always a great love story. Everyone has their own loves, right? And I think you [John and Charles] have your loves, and they all kind of develop... You've got your dog. [laughs] I have my son, I've got Jamie, and the way that those relationships develop through the dramas that happen. I think the story's always about love.

Obviously, with all of our favorite players being so interconnected, and in so many different (and sometimes secret) ways, the war is going to twist these characters into some intriguing knots. But, as Lord John’s portrayer noted, it’s also going to lead to all of these relationships developing in ways fans might not expect.

There will be even more familial love in Outlander Season 7, as the story will also bring us siblings Dr. Denzell “Denny” Hunter and Rachel Hunter (portrayed by additional newcomers Joey Phillips and Izzy Meikle-Small, respectively), two Quakers who were orphaned at a young age who will quickly be thrown into the war effort, and find their lives greatly impacted by Ian, William and others we know well. According to Phillips, Denny’s desire to join the war, which goes against their Quaker faith, and how it impacts his sister will be top of mind:

We see a lot of struggle from Denny. He basically believes that liberty is a gift from God, and so he wants to use his skills as a surgeon to join the Continental Army and fight for independence, which leads to Denny and Rachel having to leave the Quaker meeting, which just turns their world upside down, really, and they're thrown into this world of war and violence. He's really struggling to be sure whether that was the right decision. I think there's a lot of guilt on bringing Rachel out of the safety of their lives previously into this world where you don't know what's going to happen. It's very, very dangerous. He asks a question like, 'Can it be worth it?' We'll see a lot of that struggle with him, and we see the relationship that he forms with Claire. She becomes a mentor for him and someone that he can ask these questions of and someone that he can lean on. I think that's a really lovely relationship.

These two had to rely on each other growing up, so they are very close. This means that Rachel is also quite loyal to her brother, and Meikle-Small noted that we’ll see that play out this season:

For Rachel, I feel like her main priority is just Denny and making sure he's okay. They have a really unique bond and they're very loyal to each other. At one point, he's like, 'I can go off to war and you can say with the Quakers,' and she's like, 'No, no.' [laughs] 'I do not trust you to go off on your own. I will be coming with you.' I love their bond. I think it's very unique, and it's a really lovely dynamic to be able to play with.

If anything, I think it’s pretty obvious that Outlander fans will have a lot of action, intrigue, and family drama to enjoy now that Season 7 is on Starz. 

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