I Waited in the Rush Line For the Outlander Season Premiere, and it Paid Off

Season 7 debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival, and fans were…passionate

Play me a song of the ‘Outlander’ season premiere (photo: Rebecca Kurson).

The place to be on Friday night was the Rush line outside the OKX Theater. Tickets to the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Outlander season 7 had sold out in minutes, and this intrepid reporter was simply too sanctimonious to grovel for one. So that meant the Rush line, armed with a sandwich and a prayer. From 5 to 8, it rained twice and the painted bricks of the building offered little protection. There was a group of hardcore fans who’d been waiting since 10 AM and there was another fan who pre-gamed the line too hard and was quietly vomiting into a paper bag. A woman with a tartan throw shook out 200 years of dust into the rain. But by 7:30, the cast was arriving and the red carpet was directly next to the Rush line. Diana Gabaldon took photos with everyone, and a fan played a tinny iPhone version of the Skye Boat Song every time a black SUV drove past. A real bagpiper showed up. By 8:30, they’d even seated the stragglers.

The Outlander cast was there in full force, from author to Executive Producer Maril Davis and cast members Catriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Richard Rankin, and an extremely blonde Sophie Skelton. John Bell and David Berry were there but were not part of the panel. Once again, ABC meteorologist Ginger Zee led the question session after the episode.

Season 6 ended with Claire accused of murdering Malva Christie. The Fraser enemy, Richard Brown, captured Claire and Jamie after a delightfully modern shoot ‘em up at Frasers Ridge. Jamie has been rescued from the Browns by Young Ian, but Claire is in jail for murder. Since the Revolutionary War is about to begin, the colonies are in flux and Claire could be imprisoned indefinitely. She’s accompanied to the prison by Tom Christie, who promises to protect her.

The new episode begins with a meh new version of the theme song and a bedraggled Claire in a filthy prison in Wilmington. She’s not there long before she is ordered to a mysterious ship, cloaked in fog, where the colony’s governor and pregnant wife are in hiding. Claire must nurse them both through their terror – but the smart viewer knows that she won’t be there long. Jamie and Young Ian are searching for her. Claire makes a list of medicine she needs and sends it to Tom Christie, slyly adding Vir Meus to the list. Christie makes it happen.

Rescues ensue, Tom Christie reveals his motivation to help, and tells Claire that Malva deliberately poisoned her during last season’s epidemic. Knew it! Christie also reveals his love for her. Did not know it! The episode ends with a phenomenal but unresolved showdown between Jamie and Richard Brown – no clue how it ended, but the OKX Theater was rocking.

The panel that followed gave plenty of insights into to the rest of the season. There will be 16 episodes for the penultimate season of Outlander. Starz will air eight this year and eight in 2024. There will be multiple timelines, and likely Brianna and Roger will return to their time. Before they go, Brianna will likely meet her half-brother, William. There was much hinting that both William and Lord John may change their allegiance away from the Crown. George Washington will return, along with the Marquis de Lafayette and Benedict Arnold. The cast promised battles, heartbreak, and claim that every episode will feel like a movie.

Speaking of movies, Maril Davis is open to the idea of a movie to follow Season 8, and the audience suggested that Catriona Balfe direct–which she has started already. Other revelations reveal that John Bell uses Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift to prepare for scenes, and that the much-missed Tobias Menzies used to do loud vocal exercises before becoming Black Jack Randall. Also–be prepared for a bone-chilling moment in episode two.

The new episode airs June 16 on Starz.

The author and ‘Outlander’ creator Diana Gabaldon.

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Rebecca Kurson

Rebecca Kurson writes about literature, pop culture, television, science fiction and music. Her work has appeared in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Observer, The Federalist and Rodale's Organic Life.

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