‘Outlander’ Season 5: Does Frank Randall Return Next Season?

Outlander first premiered on STARZ during the summer of 2018. Since then, the show has continued to grow in popularity and has gained quite a cult following in the four seasons that it has been on TV.

The show is an adaptation of the historical fantasy-fiction novels written by Diana Gabaldon and tells the story of a young woman named Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) who has traveled through time and is caught in between two different eras — the 20th century and the 18th century — and, in turn, two different lives.

In the third season of this popular series, fans learned that Claire’s first husband, Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies), from the 20th-century timeline, has tragically lost his life in a car accident. Now that season 5 is fast approaching, there are rumors swirling around that Menzies’ character Frank — Menzies plays two roles in the show: historian Frank Randall and his 18th-century horrific ancestor Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall — will return for the new season. 

Tobias Menzies at the 2018 Winter TCA Tour.
Tobias Menzies plays Frank Randall, a 20th-century historian, and Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall, his brutal 18th-century ancestor on Outlander. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

So, is Frank Randall actually returning to the show? In the book series, Mr. Randall does not make an appearance again after his death. But if the show decided to bring him back, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that a screen adaptation changed the plotline slightly from the book version.

What is ‘Outlander’ about?

The story starts off with Claire and Frank Randall – who are both members of the British Army – taking a trip to Scotland in order to celebrate the fact that the second World War is finally over. The trip was going great until the couple stumbled upon an ancient ruin that had long been known to have magical properties.

One day, Claire decides to go back and visit the site by herself. When she does, she touched a magical rock that catapulted her back in time and she landed in 18th century Scotland. 

At first, Claire is terribly confused and scared and is trying everything in her power to get back home. Soon, however, she meets a handsome Scottish Highlander named Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and the two end up getting married and having a child together.

Throughout the entire series, Claire struggles with her feelings for Jamie and her feelings for Frank. She is sort of caught in the middle of a love triangle where her two loves have an age difference of about 200 years, which makes matters very complicated.

After Claire spends years in the 18th century with her new husband, she finally decides to return to her original spot in time. Jamie encourages her to go back, as he’s certain he won’t live and it’s the only way their child can survive.

When she returns, Frank is shocked to see that his wife, who disappeared into thin air years ago, has finally returned and is now pregnant with someone else’s baby. Frank and Claire’s relationship is never really able to return to normal because she is in love with another man. Frank raises Claire and Jamie’s daughter, Brianna, as his own.

Sadly, in season three, Frank dies in a car crash and leaves Claire and her daughter Brianna heartbroken.

Could Frank Randall return as a ghost?

Many fans have speculated that Frank Randall could be brought back onto the show as a ghost. The theory makes sense is that we have already encountered the ghost of Jamie on the show.

In the very first episode, while Frank and Claire are on vacation, at the hotel, we see the silhouette of Jamie standing outside of the hotel, watching Claire. When Frank sees him and confronts him, the figure seems to magically disappear into thin air. 

In a recent FAQ, creator Diana Gabaldon confirmed the figure was, in fact, Jamie’s ghost. However, she said how the ghost fits into the storyline will not be revealed until the last book of the series, which has not yet been written.

It is apparent that Gabaldon is not afraid to bring Claire’s love interest back by making them ghosts. So, can Frank Randall return?

Will Frank Randall be on the next season of ‘Outlander’?

Fans may or may not be happy to learn the Frank Randall will be making his return on the show next season. However, fans that are on team Jamie should not be worried that Claire’s first husband will try to win her back. He will not be returning as a ghost and he will not be magically brought back to life.

Instead, we will see Frank only when we get a glimpse into Brianna’s memories. This is not the first time that Frank has made an appearance on the show after his death. Last season, Frank made a return when Brianna kept having flashbacks of him. According to Town and Country, Gabaldon had confirmed that we will be seeing a lot more of Frank in the seasons to come.

“You might see Frank come to our shores again,” said Gabaldon. “In the books, there’s often flashbacks of Claire’s relationship and there are moments of Frank and Brianna’s relationship that we didn’t get to see. We love Tobias and I know not everyone is team Frank, but he’s so much fun to play with. So yes, we might see him again.”