Outlander fans are well-versed when it comes to delays affecting the release dates of each highly anticipated season, to the point where even the waiting has its own nickname in "droughtlander." Considering a large chunk of 2020 delayed the productions of nearly every show on TV, it's no surprise that Outlander Season 6 will arrive later than originally intended. However, the hit drama's producers made quite an impressive and expensive decision in an attempt to ensure the most limited delay possible.
The powers that be behind Outlander dropped over $200,000 on the construction of a private COVID testing facility that was built in the parking lot of Wardpark Film Studios, the Lanarkshire location in Scotland where the Starz drama films its non-location scenes. While it might sound somewhat extreme for a TV show to construct its own medical testing site, it speaks to how dedicated the producers are to the idea of avoiding any potential filming delays that might occur due to anything pandemic-related. While at the same time potentially making Season 6 look and feel like past seasons without limiting cast interactions and group scenes.
Cast members like Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, as well as crew members, will be given rapid lateral flow tests at a rate of up to three times a week, according to the Daily Record. Only those whose test results come back negative will be allowed to work, while those who test positive will obviously be quarantined away from everyone else. Here's how the situation was explained by a source for the publication:
The makers of Outlander are taking no chances and invested heavily in this purpose-built lab. The total bill, including the vast amount of testing, is going to be huge. They’re taking COVID very seriously as they not only want to ensure the safety of the cast and crew but they want to ensure there are no filming delays.
Outlander is already a pretty expensive TV show to begin with, what with all the locations, the time-period costumes, the gorgeous cinematography, the effects, and so on. This would have been a good time for author Diana Gabaldon to have introduced a major plotline in the novels where Claire and Jamie just sit around the house playing board games and cooking and dabbling in other inexpensive acts. But it looks like Season 6 might actually incorporate big moments from several different novels, helping to shake things up quite a bit.
Pre-production for Outlander's sixth season started up in early January, and it's expected that Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe and the rest of the cast will begin filming new scenes before this month has ended. One can only hope that the COVID test site's construction will serve as a successful maneuver in limiting production delays going forward.
No release date is set yet for Outlander Season 6, but fans can hopefully expect for it to begin at some point later in 2021. While waiting to hear more, don't forget to check out Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish's road trip series Men in Kilts, and then head to our Winter and Spring TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are popping up soon.