The countdown is finally on for the return of Outlander for Season 6 well over a year after the emotional end to Season 5, and the recent premiere date announcement wasn’t the only good news for fans. Starz released the opening titles for the sixth season, and there are more differences this time around than the usual changes from year to year. In fact, the song reveals a major change in the first few seconds of the titles, and raises questions about what it means for what’s to come. No longer is Outlander just singing a song of “a lass that is gone,” but now “a lad” as well!
The version of the “Skye Boat Song” used for Outlander’s opening credits has gone through plenty of changes over the seasons so far, with versions ranging from French to Caribbean to Colonial, with even one Season 2 version including Jacobite drums. No matter how the background music was tweaked or how many chorale voices were added, however, it was always a song of a lass that is gone, not a lad. So, what does this mean for Season 6?
Well, the title song does go on to also include a line for the “lass that is gone,” so the change shouldn’t be taken as a sign that Outlander is about to switch from centering on Claire to centering on Jamie or Roger or Young Ian. And it is worth noting that the original lyrics for the “Skye Boat Song” were about a “lad,” and were changed to “lass” for the Starz series.
But if the change to the song for Season 6 is more meaningful than just Outlander trying something new, then the addition of a male vocalist as well as the usual female vocalist could be a clue that the format of the story will be different. And that would most logically suggest that Jamie would have a larger role in Season 6, since I can’t imagine any other male character getting the kind of boost in screen time that would promote him to higher prominence than Jamie.
Plus, while the “lass that is gone” has referred to Claire accidentally traveling back in time and starting the whole saga off, Jamie is in unfamiliar territory as well compared to what he knew for most of his life. New characters are coming to Fraser’s Ridge to complicate things for him, and the coming American Revolution is something that could be especially meaningful for him after the failed Scottish rebellion at Culloden. Could this qualify Jamie as the lad in the song?
Or did Outlander just want to try something new, acknowledge that Sam Heughan’s Jamie is just about as much of a lead as Caitriona Balfe’s Claire, and choose a new take on the familiar song for Season 6? The clips of the actual season interspersed with the original opening titles don’t give away a whole lot about what’s coming.
There’s Jamie on horseback, characters (seemingly including Brianna) firing target practice at the Ridge, a shot of what looks like the back of Young Ian’s head with feathers in his hair, somebody behind bars, presumably Claire’s hand on Jamie’s bare back, Jemmy running in the woods, Claire running with a rifle with a fight in the distance at the Ridge, Marsali evidently spinning yarn, possibly Fergus drinking in front of a fire, a man praying in front of a cross, and a shot of horses racing across a beach.
For now, we can only speculate about what’s to come, but the end of the Droughtlander is in sight. Outlander returns to Starz on Sunday, March 6 at 9 p.m. ET on Starz for the shorter-than-usual Season 6. Even though that’s still months away, the date could have been a whole lot further off, and it’s clear that there’s a lot to look forward to.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).