Brace yourself for more Droughtlander: come May 10, Outlander will air its fifth season finale, and with it comes both good news and bad. The good? Starz has already greenlit Outlander for Season 6, so it's not a question of if the show will return, but when. The bad? An official premiere date has not yet been announced, and fans may need to wait a little longer than expected before returning to Fraser’s Ranch.
Though the show generally follows a somewhat regular release schedule, the fact that pretty much all TV production has been halted amid the coronavirus pandemic obviously complicates things. Prior to the pandemic, Season 6 hadn't even started filming, though star Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) revealed in a March tweet that the writers were already writing the scripts. Caitriona Balfe (Claire) reiterated that sentiment in mid-April, tweeting during an online Q&A that "the writers are still at work."
But once that part of the process is over, there's currently no way for Outlander's cast and crew to get back to work safely. So it seems very likely that Season 6 won't air until at least 2021.
That being said, the premise of the sixth season is already starting to take shape. Though the season will be based on the sixth installment of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, some of those storylines have already been introduced in Season 5. Stephen Bonnet's death, Claire's abduction, and Briana and Roger's journey through the stones all take place in the sixth book, and will surely be more deeply explored in the new season.
"Given what [the producers are] dealing with in terms of constraints and space, I think it makes all kinds of sense because I have storylines that can stretch out for three or four books," Gabaldon told Town & Country of the changes. "It's a coherent storyline, so I don't see any problem really in lifting pieces of the storyline from one book and condensing them with the earlier pieces from another book in order to make a contiguous line."
So while the finale may not be enough to fully quench your Droughtlander thirst, it will at least give you a better idea of where Jamie and Claire's journey will go when Outlander returns...eventually.