With things heating up in season six of the TV show and the ninth book ‘Don’t Tell the Bees’ already a best seller, Diana Gabaldon has already begun work on her Outlander prequel novel.
The prolific writer has several projects on the go at the moment, including writing some scenes for season seven and working on the as-yet-untitled tenth and final book in the Outlander series.
However, it was her news in summer 2020 that really got fans excited.
The 70-year-old revealed she has started work on an exciting prequel that will focus on the lives of, and the love story between, Brian and Ellen Fraser, Jamie’s parents and two popular, if little-seen, characters in both the books and the show.
What is the name of the prequel?
Diana confirmed at the start of February that she wouldn’t be posting too much new info any time soon on the new book as she’s “barely begun working on it”.
So the name of it being confirmed may still be a little while off.
What will the Outlander prequel story focus on?
As mentioned already, it will feature the blossoming romance between Brian Fraser and Ellen MacKenzie, both of whom had died either before the current Outlander story began (Ellen) or during the earlier seasons (Brian).
Speaking to Town and Country Mag Diana confirmed she’d been carrying the prequel story around in her head for “quite a while”
Adding: “I know quite a bit about it, and I’ve just started serious work on it, you might say. So I have actual scenes, things like that.”
What events will the Outlander prequel cover?
The story is set to take place just after Jacob MacKenzie, the chieftain of the MacKenzies of Castle Leoch, has died.
This will lead up to the Great Gathering, which is then called to decide on Jacob’s successor for the title of clan chief, and the meeting between Ellen (Jacob’s oldest offspring) and Brian, the illegitimate son of Lord Lovat, Simon Fraser.
It’s likely that their plans to secretly elope and Ellen falling pregnant with Jamie’s older brother, William.
What other characters will appear in the Outlander prequel?
After a fan asked if the now-legendary Murtagh (played by Duncan Lacroix) will appear in a Twitter thread about the books, Diana confirmed: “Oh, you’ll see him in the Prequel….”
This admission may have been a little obvious to any fan of the books but it was nice to have it confirmed nonetheless.
As fans will know he is the third part of a love triangle with Brian and Ellen, and after she chooses the other man, Murtagh takes it in good grace promises he will look after her son.
(We aren’t sure we can handle the scenes where Murtagh finally gets his heartbroken).
Having been in love with Ellen for years, Murtagh later confesses to Claire that he worshiped Jamie’s mother, and in a bid to impress her at the Gathering, killed an impressive boar with just a dagger.
Having taken the tusks as his prize, he turned them into beautiful bracelets and gifted them to Ellen, a fact we only discover later in the books.
We know that when she eventually chose Brian, Murtagh continued to love her and even transferred that love to his godson Jamie when she sadly passed away.
Has Diana Gabaldon shared any excerpts from the prequel?
Posting on her social media, the 70-year-old shared an exclusive clip from the new book, which ma or may not be the opening line: “Ellen MacKenzie, eldest of the children of Jacob Ruadh MacKenzie, chief of Clan MacKenzie—well , the late chief, if only by moments, but she’d think about that later—grabbed Ailidh Watt from behind and dragged her out of sight, clapping a hand over her slobbering mouth to stifle her cries.”
When will it come out?
As mentioned above Diana has only just started work on it so it may be a while before we see the finished version but thankfully, it gives us something else to look forward to once we’ve finished book 10.
Will the Outlander prequel be made into a TV show?
If there is still interest in the Outlander Universe by the time the current TV show is finished and the books have been written then it could be highly likely.
Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch recently told Entertainment Weekly that there has been some discussion around the possibility of new Outlander shows, he said: “We continue to talk on a regular basis about developing the story line around Outlander.
“It’s something that we are aware of. We want to continue to serve that audience with what we think are the best stories.”
While, speaking on the ‘TV’s Top 5’ pod, in February last year, when asked about the possibility of season seven being confirmed as well as am spinoff, original showrunner Ronald D. Moore said: “I think both those things are probably going to happen and hopefully we’ll be able to say something about it before too long.”
Well, we already know that season seven is happening so it could be good news for any possible spinoffs too.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.