[Mild SPOILERS ahead for the Outlander books.]
Colin McFarlane has joined the Outlander season 4 cast in a key supporting role. Outlander's third season wrapped up in December, with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Hueghan) finally wrapping up their business in the West Indies, finding Young Ian (John Bell), and heading home to Scotland. Of course, nothing ever goes smoothly for these time-travelling lovers, though, and the final moments of 'Eye of the Storm' saw their ship caught in a hurricane. The two were not separated, thankfully, but now find themselves in Georgia, in the new colonies.
Fans of the Outlander book series will know that the fourth season (based on 'Drums of Autumn') is the first of many set in the colonies, as Claire and Jamie start to put down roots and build a real home for the first time. They also meet a relative of Jamie's; Jocasta Cameron, who will be played by Maria Doyle Kennedy. Now, another new face for the fourth season has been announced.
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British actor McFarlane will be playing Ulysses, Aunt Jocasta's loyal butler at her Riverrun estate, EW has revealed. Ulysses is a slave, but a well-treated one. He is educated and valued for his skills, and acts as manager of the other slaves at Riverrun, as well as personal butler to Jocasta since her sight began to fail. He will also presumably be a part of the show for the next few seasons, as he is still around in the most recent book.
McFarlane is probably best known for his turn as Comissioner Loeb in Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, but he has also appeared in Doctor Who, Torchwood, and many other British TV series, and has also done voicework for various animated series and videogames. He certainly looks the part of the dignified and imposing Ulysses, although it will be interesting to see if he alters his British accent at all for the role.
Ulysses as a character is an interesting addition to the series, which first introduced the concept of slavery in season 3. Claire, on arrival in the West Indies, is shocked and appalled by the slave trade flourishing there, especially with how the men and women are treated on the slave block. She even ends up buying a slave herself, in order to free him. In the colonies, and especially at Riverrun, Claire is going to see a very different part of the slave trade, and will struggle with how to cope with an era where slavery is the norm. Ulysses, with his close relationship to Jocasta, is going to be a fascinating addition to the way that Outlander chooses to address this difficult subject.
Outlander season 4 does not yet have a premiere date.