‘Outlander’: Will There Be Love Scenes in Season 6?

Outlander was forced into a much longer production hiatus than usual thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, after nearly a year since the premiere of season 5, the show’s sixth season is finally filming in Scotland, putting the end to “Droughtlander” just over the horizon.

Of course, due to the circumstances of its delay, Outlander has had to implement safety guidelines and change the way that it approaches certain things. This has led some to worry: will the sixth season feature any love scenes at all?

How many episodes are in season 6 of ‘Outlander’?

Sam Heughen and Caitriona Balfe in 'Outlander.'
Sam Heughen and Caitriona Balfe in ‘Outlander.’ | Starz

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With filming underway as of a couple of weeks ago, it’s reasonable to expect that Outlander might be able to return as early as late 2021. As reported by TV Line, the sixth season will consist of 12 episodes, the same amount as season 5. A major series for Starz, it was renewed for both seasons in the same order.

As an epic romance story, Outlander has made a name for itself with its plentiful love scenes. Far from mere titillation, the intensity and intimacy of these scenes are viewed by many as vital to its storytelling. The bond between Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) might not come off as strong without them.

Naturally, many fans have wondered if COVID safety guidelines would force these scenes to be absent from season 6. It might be hard to strike a balance between intimacy and social distancing, after all.

Well, fans might not have any reason to worry. In an interview with Elle, showrunner Matthew B. Roberts made some promising comments about the concerns.

“I didn’t want me or the staff changing what the story is for COVID,” Roberts told the magazine. “We have a lot of intimate scenes—that’s where we live and breathe.”

What precautions is the series taking?

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So, how exactly is Outlander continuing to shoot under a worldwide pandemic while not altering its famously steamy content? According to Roberts, the answer is rigorous and consistent enforcement of its safety guidelines.

“We had to figure out how to make sure we tested everybody a million times before they walked onto set and keep that bubble as safe as possible,” the showrunner explained. “That was our main focus—making sure everybody feels safe walking onto a set in the studios and locations.”

“We put a lot of people in scenes, and keeping everybody safe is paramount. We’ve tried to limit the amount of SAs (supporting artists), and we’re trying to utilize visual effects. In the deep, deep background, we can use digital people instead of what we would normally use, real extras.”

Balfe and Heughan are returning for season 6, while also taking on new roles as producers. Other returning players include Sophie Skelton, who plays Brianna Randall, the daughter of Claire and Jamie, and Richard Rankin, who plays Brianna’s husband, Roger Wakefield.