Though the series has been in production, a key bit of casting news for Ronald D. Moore's Outlander adaptation is only just being announced. Starz put the word out today that Steven Cree has signed on to play the role of Ian Murray in the series, which is based on Diana Gabaldon's historical romance/adventure Outlander series.
Along with a photo of the actor, Starz posted the following on the Outlander Facebook page.
Spread the news, Outlanders! The watch for Ian is officially over. Steven Cree will be playing Jenny’s husband and Jamie’s best friend since childhood, Ian Murray. Ian lost part of this leg during battle with the English but that hasn't held him back in his life. He is very close to his wife and best friend, and welcomes Claire into the family.
For those unfamiliar with the book, the story centers on Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a WWII combat nurse who's on vacation with her husband in Scotland when she finds herself thrown back through time to the 18th Century. She's eventually forced to marry the gallant Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). As the above description notes, Cree's character Ian is the husband of Jamie's sister Jenny. He's a great character and one I'm glad to see will be featured in the series, especially since we hadn't heard who might be playing him.
Cree has a growing list of credits in notable projects, including the role of "Decapitated Greek marine" in 300: Rise of an Empire (kind of a spoiler alert in his character name there), and Overseer in Disney's upcoming villain-pic Maleficent. He also voiced the role of Young Macintosh in Pixar's Brave.
In addition to Cree, the Outlander cast includes Caitriona Balfe (Claire), Sam Heughan (Jamie), Tobais Menzies (Frank Randall/Black Jack Randall), Gary Lewis (Colum MacKenzie), Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie), Duncan Lacroix (Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser) and Lotte Verbeek (Geillis Duncah). And then, of course, there's Laura Donnelly, who's playing Jenny Fraser Murray, Ian's wife.
In terms of the premiere date, there's still no official news, but I'm thinking we might be waiting until August for this series to premiere, and here's why...
It's worth noting that Starz has aired their big dramas on Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. this year so far. There was Black Sails, which aired in the timeslot until last month. When the pirate drama wrapped up its 8-episode first season, Starz debuted Da Vinci's Demons, which returned for its second season and is currently airing in that Saturday/9 p.m. spot. That period drama will run through its 10-ep season until the end of May. Earlier this week, Starz announced that 50 Cent's new drama Power is taking over the Saturday at 9:00 p.m. timeslot as of June 7. The series is set to run for 8 episodes, which would free that slot up August 2.
So, unless Starz is planning on finding a different day and/or time to air Outlander, August 2 is the soonest available date for that timeslot. There's also the possibility -- note, I'm grasping at straws here -- that the brief gap in the schedule between Da Vinci's Demons' finale (May 24) and Power's premiere (June 7) is being left open so that Starz can premiere Outlander on Saturday, May 31 (taking advantage of the timeslot that's been freshly vacated by another period/historical(ish) drama) after which they intend to move Outlander to another time to give Power that spot. But like I said, that might be grasping at straws. That's Memorial Day weekend, which might be why Starz didn't put Power there. So if we want to be realistic, we might speculate that Outlander will have an August premiere. But just to be clear, Starz has not announced a date for the series, only that it is coming this Summer.