Outlander fans are eagerly awaiting the third season of the genre-spanning historical/fantasy/romance series, whose first two seasons landed it a People’s Choice Award last month (Favorite TV Show). New images from the upcoming season debuted in September of last year, when production began in Scotland, but since then Starz has been all quiet on the Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) front.
Today, Starz announced the official air date for the first episode of the upcoming season, a little later than some fans were hoping for, as well as a location change for several episodes to come.
Season 3 will begin in September of 2017, with a 13-episode season that will cover the entirety of ‘Voyager’. The Outlander team has also been announced for San Diego Comic-Con this year, after production wraps in June. In addition, the network announced that production would be changing location for several months of filming — from Scotland to South Africa.
“In March, production and filming on the current season moves from its home base in Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa, to shoot pivotal sea voyage scenes on the former sets of the STARZ original series “Black Sails.”
The release date in September is a little later than expected, with last season having aired in the spring (April 2016). Many fans hoped that the third season would follow suit with another spring premiere, but President of Programming Carmi Zlotnik tells fans that the extra time is required to do this latest adaptation justice.
“We feel it is important to allow the production the time and number of episodes needed to tell the story of the ‘Voyager’ book in its entirety. The scale of this book is immense, and we owe the fans the very best show. Returning in September will make that possible.”
The season will also be the same length as season 2, which means that it will presumably run until sometime in December. As fans of the books know, ‘Voyager’ takes place on the high seas as well as in Jamaica (and of course, Scotland), so it’s safe to assume that Cape Town will be used to film the island scenes.
Of course, this is sad news for fans who were hoping to enjoy Outlander‘s third season sooner rather than later. Nicknamed ‘Droughtlander’, the gap between seasons is definitely longer than that for most shows, and can be frustrating for fans who were expecting their fix during the comparatively quiet spring/summer TV season. Moving the air date back to September puts season 3 right in the middle of the busy fall season, but considering how many people chose to watch on their own schedules, it’s a good bet Outlander won’t miss a beat.