They're finally back! After Season 3 saw them reunited in the 18th century before surviving a perilous sea voyage, some painful goodbyes, a kidnapping, a hurricane and more, Scottish warrior (and king of men) James Fraser and his indomitable time-traveling doctor wife, Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser, made it safely to colonial America. That's where Season 4 of Starz's popular action-packed drama "Outlander" begins, but — as always — things are never easy for the soul mates as they seek to redefine their loyalties and make a safe home for themselves and their loved ones in the North Carolina backcountry with the American Revolution just a few years away. Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at the key characters — old and new — on Season 4 of "Outlander," which premieres on Starz on Nov. 4, 2018…
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As she and Jamie find their place in colonial America during Season 4 (which is based on the fourth book, "Drums of Autumn," in author Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series) Claire — who's played by Caitriona Balfe — struggles to reconcile her knowledge of the future and modern beliefs with the practices and politics of the era. This time around, however, at least she and Jamie are happy and safe (well, for now). "There's an opportunity for a new beginning, a fresh start," Caitriona told Entertainment Weekly of Season 4. "Of course there are trials and tribulations. But overall I would say it's much more hopeful this season."
Irish actress Caitriona Balfe is, of course, back as Claire, who's a little grayer (thanks to a wig — no more perms either!) and a lot happier. In 2019, Cait will appear in another period drama, though this one's set in the 1960s: James Mangold's "Ford v. Ferrari," the story of the battle to win France's Le Mans race in 1966. "I play Mollie, the wife of Ken Miles [played by Christian Bale], who helped the famous driver-mechanic Carroll Shelby [played by Matt Damon] build the Cobra car," she told Parade. "It's a very cool film about the consequences for family when you live in the life-and-death world of car racing." Lucky for fans, more than five years after she was cast as Claire, Caitriona still truly loves playing the time traveler, who's influenced her real life. "Her empathy and her ability to connect with people and understand the difference of right and wrong and where justice should be — that's all of the stuff I love about her. And her capacity for loving and living and even fighting so immensely…" Caitriona told Parade. "Playing her has given me a lot of confidence and strength that I don't think I had five years ago."
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After all he, Claire and their family have been though, Jamie — a born laird and leader — finally gets a fighting chance to be the landowner, negotiator and peacekeeper he was meant to be, and he can hardly reconcile his joy at having Claire by his side for it. "He's content… He's always wanted to have a home and a family, and an extended family. He gets that this season," the actor who brings Jamie to life, Sam Heughan, told Buzzfeed of Season 4. "He gets the opportunity to settle. He falls in love with the country and the land… So, for a short while, it's quite peaceful."
Scottish actor Sam Heughan has had a very busy few months in the run-up to the "Outlander" Season 4 premiere. He drew raves starring opposite Kate McKinnon, Mila Kunis and Justin Theroux in the 2018 summer comedy "The Spy Who Dumped Me" and just wrapped the Valiant Comics 2020 superhero-action flick "Bloodshot" in South Africa, in which he stars opposite Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez and Michael Sheen. Sam — who will soon start shooting Season 5 of "Outlander" (the show's been picked up through Season 6!) — is also working on his own whiskey brand. "It's a passion project," he told Us Weekly.
A new character! Jamie and Claire are thrilled to connect with his widowed Aunt Jocasta (left) — the sister of his late mother, Ellen, and uncles, Dougal and Colum — at River Run, her plantation in colonial America that they unhappily discover is run with slave labor. Like her brothers, Jocasta is cunning, charming and sly, so despite the joy of her reunion with Jamie, drama's not far behind. "You definitely feel like she's a MacKenzie," executive producer Ronald D. Moore teased to "Access Hollywood."
Bringing Aunt Jocasta to life is Irish actress and singer Maria Doyle Kennedy, whom fans know from her great work in "The Commitments," as Catherine of Aragon on "The Tudors," as Vera Bates on "Downton Abbey" and as Siobhán Sadler on "Orphan Black." "She's incredible as Aunt Jocasta. She just has such a gravitas about her and yet Maria's always got that cheeky little spirit," fellow Irishwoman Caitriona Balfe told "Access Hollywood" of her new co-star. She definitely brings a lot of talent to "Outlander" this season. "One of the great strengths of the show has always been its casting," executive producer Ronald D. Moore told "Access," who said Maria is just more evidence of how "we just keep scoring over and over again."
Young Ian Murray — Jamie's teenaged nephew, who's played by John Bell — is a world away from his parents, Jenny and Ian, who are back at Lallybroch in the Scottish Highlands. But despite his uncle's best intentions to keep him safe following the perils he encountered in Season 3, young Ian is desperate to be seen as not a boy but a young man capable of making his own decisions and choosing his own path. "He has a really interesting journey. He starts off coming out of a really dark place in Season 3 — he's been assaulted, he's been kidnapped and really thought he was going to die," John told "Entertainment Tonight" of Ian's mindset at the start of Season 4. "So to leave that and to head to this new world where all these new opportunities are there in front of them, he is thinking, 'Is there something here that's my calling?'"
Scotland native John Bell once again brings young Ian to life, and, just like the character in Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" book series, his character on the Starz TV show has become a fan favorite. The former child actor, who played Bain in two "Hobbit" franchise films and Helius in "Wrath of the Titans," found a new challenge with the latest installment of "Outlander." "It's been fascinating. I always thought I'd come on 'Outlander' and have to learn Gaelic, but that's not the case," John told "Entertainment Tonight" with a laugh. "I've come onto 'Outlander' and I've had to learn Cherokee and Mohawk."
Jamie Fraser is, of course, wildly big, brave, loyal and handsome, but even he can't compete with this new Season 4 character: Rollo, the wolf-dog hybrid young Ian wins dicing, a fierce and sweet beast that quickly becomes the lad's closest companion as the Fraser clan embarks on new adventures. (Sorry, Bouton!)
Wolf-dog hybrid Rollo is played by Dui, a Northern Inuit dog who's been groomed for the part since he was a mere cub, er, puppy back in early 2017. "Before I even started on Season 4 I was going to puppy training classes with him," onscreen BFF John Bell told "Entertainment Tonight." To help them bond, John has taken Dui on mountain climbing trips in Scotland. He and the dog's on-set animal handler also occasionally give Dui treats when he needs some extra motivation. "A little bit of chicken — that's his favorite," John explained in an adorable Starz Facebook video.
Another great new character? Claire and Jamie meet smuggler, thief and pirate Stephen Bonnet in the New World but soon come to question putting their trust in the handsome, charming Irishman who's as troubled as he is manipulative. "He's quite a villain," star Sam Heughan told Buzzfeed of the show's new big bad. The man playing Bonnet should look familiar: It's English actor Ed Speleers, whom "Downton Abbey" fans will recognize as ambitious, confident footman Jimmy Kent and "Wolf Hall" viewers will remember for his portrayal of Edward Seymour. Ed also has some serious theater chops: In the summer of 2018, he took on the role of Charlie Babbitt in a new U.K. touring production of "Rain Man" opposite "Gavin & Stacey" star Mathew Horne as Raymond Babbitt.
Meanwhile, back in the future… Claire and Jamie's daughter, Brianna Randall, and Geillis and Dougal's descendant, Roger Wakefield, are navigating their nascent romance in the early 1970s, though each has a different idea about commitment…
Claire and Jamie's intelligent, stubborn and independent daughter, Brianna, has been living in Boston where she's studying engineering at MIT in the early '70s. After forging a friendship and a tentative long-distance romance with Britain-based Roger last season, Bree continues to explore her feelings for the Scot as they emerge as the other key couple in Season 4. "For Bree and Roger, thus far has been setting up the story for this season," actress Sophie Skelton, who plays Bree, told Buzzfeed. "[But] every time they're brought together, they're pulled apart." Both characters are dealing with the deaths of the men who raised them — Claire's modern-day husband, the late professor Frank Randall, and Roger's uncle, the Rev. Wakefield — plus Bree is coping with her decision to urge her mother to return to the man she loves through the standing stones of Craigh na Dun. Up to this point, viewers have only really seen Bree and Roger's similarities, Sophie explained, "where this season, you see that they have completely different points of view on very important matters."
English actress Sophie Skelton, who was a trained ballet dancer before she was an actress, appeared in two action movies in 2018 ahead of the "Outlander" Season 4 premiere: January's gory "Day of The Dead: Bloodline," a retelling of George A. Romero's zombie terror classic co-starring Johnathon Schaech, and June's "211," a cops-vs.-robbers bank-heist flick in which she played Nicolas Cage's daughter. She also experienced plenty of excitement filming this new season of "Outlander" — she's said one highlight was shooting a rifle. One key part from the fourth book — Sophie told Buzzfeed "Drums of Autumn" is her favorite in the series — that's been recreated onscreen? The Scottish festival in America, where Brianna and Roger explore their feelings for one another. "We actually filmed [the festival] twice," Sophie told "Entertainment Tonight. "We did it once and they decided to make it a lot bigger. It felt like a real festival — it was wonderful." Richard, she added, was a comedian between takes, as usual. "We had a lot of fun," she added. "Richard's always extremely funny to film with."
As the '70s kick off, Roger might be teaching history at Oxford in England, but he can't stop thinking about a certain redhead who's living in Boston. He continues to look for historical clues about Claire and Jamie's fate in hopes of bringing some good news to their daughter, Brianna — with whom he's fallen in love. Though distance, different ideas about commitment and fresh conflicts threaten to tear them apart, "I think the relationship was forged in such a way and in such dramatic circumstances," actor Richard Rankin, who plays Roger, told "Entertainment Tonight, "there's just something unbreakable between the two of them."
Scottish actor Richard Rankin — who fans also know and love from his starring role in the BBC miniseries "Crimson Field" — has been working steadily, mostly on BBC TV shows, in the run-up to Season 4 of "Outlander." He's recently appeared on "Midsomer Murders" and "The Last Kingdom" and starred opposite Morven Christie in the acclaimed miniseries "The Replacement." The avid video gamer will next appear on Season 2 of the British medical drama "Trust Me." As for Season 4 of "Outlander," practicing for Roger's big vocal-and-guitar performance during the Scottish festival was a memorable challenge that neither he — nor the rest of the cast and crew — will soon forget. "I drove everyone absolutely nuts," Richard told "Entertainment Tonight." "They had given me an arrangement of a song for the guitar. Turns out it was a fiddle track. A fiddle track is 165 beats per minute, so I basically spent every minute of every day learning to play that track and drove the crew nuts! So that was fun!"
Jamie's adopted son, Fergus Claudel Fraser — who's been a member of the family since Jamie took him as a boy from his childhood home in a Parisian brothel in Season 2 — safely made it to colonial America with the man he still calls "milord," Claire, young Ian and, joyously, new bride Marsali. Considering his happy new circumstances, Fergus accepts that it's time to leave behind his life of petty crime, but that means new struggles for the handsome charmer who still has to cope with the loss of his hand to the Redcoats as he figures out how to provide for his new family.
Fergus is brought to life by César Domboy, who's best known for his film and television work in his native France. Lucky "Outlander" fans have had the pleasure of seeing the talented Frenchman, a regular at style events like Paris Fashion Week (who also curates a beautiful Instagram page), at several fan, show and TV conventions in 2018 where he charms audiences just like his onscreen character.
Confident, outspoken Scot Marsali (right) — the eldest daughter of love-to-hate character Laoghaire, who Jamie disastrously married then left when Claire was back in the 20th century — is focused on making a happy family life with new husband Fergus in colonial America following their handfasting elopement and, later, Jamie-and-Claire-approved wedding, in Season 3.
London-born Lauren Lyle continues to bring Marsali to life in Season 4. She's seen here (left) in October 2018 with the lookalike actress who plays her onscreen mother, Laoghaire — English actress Nell Hudson, who's only two years her senior. Lauren — who has a playful offscreen friendship with onscreen husband César Domboy (their social media posts and convention interactions are a delight) — most recently appeared on the 2017 BAFTA-winning British drama "Broken" with Sean Bean and in the 2018 film "Tell It to the Bees" with Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger.
Another new character for Season 4! Adawehi is a native healer with whom Claire forges a fast friendship. Adawehi shares her medicines, wisdom and a prophecy with the modern doctor, who's grateful to call her an ally.
Canadian actress Tantoo Cardinal, who is of Métis descent, has been acting for decades and is perhaps one of the most recognizable native actresses working today. Film and television fans will recognize the award-winning star from her work in projects including "Legends of the Fall," "Dances With Wolves" and, more recently, "Wind River," "Godless," "Longmire" and "Westworld."