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Outlander star Sam Heughan on being a reluctant hero, the bad guy, and James Bond

As the hit romance series Outlander embarks on season 6, we spoke to star Sam Heughan about his role in the show and what the future holds

Outlander star Sam Heughan on being the reluctant hero, the bad guy, and James Bond

Since Outlander first aired back in 2014, the epic romance series has developed an incredible following of devoted fans and is now one of the most popular TV series on streaming service Prime Video. The show finally returns to the platform for the long-awaited season 6 on March 6, 2022. Ahead of the big premiere, we spoke to the leading man, Sam Heughan about his experience on the show, his relationship with his co-stars, and what the future may hold.

Heughan plays the star of the show, the brave leader of the Fraser clan, Jamie Fraser, in a series full of drama, bloody battles, love, and of course, time travel. Outlander is based on the popular series of books by Diana Gabaldon, which combine fantasy, history, and romance to tell the tale of the Fraser clan.

We spent some time with Sam Heughan to discuss his heroic character in Outlander, the loyal fanbase, his experience facing off against Vin Diesel in the sci-fi movie Bloodshot, and the small matter of rumours linking him to the role of James Bond.

The Digital Fix: So, Sam, season 6 of Outlander is upon us, and the huge following the show has amassed over the years are obviously very excited for the big premiere. Tell us, do you ever get nervous ahead of the new season dropping, do you feel that weight of expectation at all?

Sam Heughan: No, not nervous actually, but really excited. I really love this period where we’re doing press, and the build up to the premiere. You forget sometimes that the work you are doing, people are anticipating it. You’re in a bubble, just working away. 

So when you can finally look back at the work you’ve done over the last year, it’s so rewarding to finally have an audience. We have the premiere, so to be in the same room as the fans and see and hear their reaction when they see things for the first time – that’s the real payback!

TDF: And, without spoilers, of course, what do you hope fans take away from this new season of the show?

SH: Well, obviously, fans of the books will see a lot of what they recognise from the books. But I think even they will be surprised by some things we have done, and the way we have made it. 

The first episode is a feature length episode, starting with a flashback and giving some insight into some characters who become quite prominent this season. It may be a shorter season, with just eight episodes, but it’s packed! It’s going to be a rollercoaster.

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TDF: Having seen the first episode of the new season, it begins with Jamie once again putting himself through a lot of pain and suffering for other people. Why do you think Jamie takes it upon himself to be the hero time and time again?

SH: In the flashback, it’s just after the battle of Culloden, and he’s lost everything; he’s lost the woman he loves, he’s lost all his men, or most of them. He didn’t expect to be alive, and he’s really just living with the memory of Claire. He just wants a quiet life. He doesn’t really want to be a leader of men at that moment. 

But he’s forced into it, because they depend on him. The men need comfort, peace, and to get over the traumatic events of the battle. So, in a way he’s forced into being the man of action, and putting himself forward to protect the men. He’s a very giving man, but he’s always reluctant. He doesn’t necessarily want to be a leader, but he just has that natural ability.

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TDF: The episode also sees Jamie reunited with Claire and the rest of the Fraser family. I wanted to touch on the wonderful dynamic you and Catriona Balfe have in the show. Why do you think that chemistry is so effective?

SH: Catriona is a great co-star! We’ve been through a lot. We both started the show eight years ago and we were pretty green; we had done a bit of work but nothing of this scale. And we have been through a lot together, we had each other’s back from the start. We have grown together and become more experienced. 

We have gone on to do other projects too, and obviously she is doing incredible work right now, and rightly being lauded for that with the awards ceremonies. But, we are very fortunate – you don’t normally have the opportunity to live with a character for this long. You know, I’ve been in battles, in prison, been flogged many, many times. It’s a great gift to an actor to get this experience.

TDF: We have to ask about a little rumour that you may be the next James Bond. I know you probably won’t tell us if you are the next James Bond, but would you like to be?

SH: I‘m not sure who started that rumour, but it’s a nice one! I think all British actors, or any actor really, would love to play that part. It’s no secret that I’ve talked about it, and that I auditioned for it years ago. But who knows, I have no idea. There’s no truth to it at the moment.

TDF: Fair enough. Obviously franchise work is everywhere at the moment. You’ve been in Outlander for eight years now, which is a big commitment too, but how would you feel about being involved in a film franchise in the future perhaps?

SH: I would never say never. I would love to be involved in something big like that. I think I’m kinda ready for it. I’m enjoying the journey I’m on now, but I enjoy doing other stuff too. I was in SAS: Red Notice two years ago, and that has potential to go somewhere, and another film coming this year, too. 

I love doing other projects, but it’s also a big commitment. To think about taking on something else like Outlander now would be quite an undertaking. 

TDF: Yeah that would be intense, especially to do both at once. Speaking of films, you were in Bloodshot a couple of years ago, with Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel. How was the experience of playing a bad guy, and also to face off against someone like Vin Diesel?

SH: I loved every moment of it! I loved playing Jimmy Dalton, he was such an interesting character to play. And Bloodshot is such an incredible universe too, that sci-fi world. And Vin Diesel is obviously über-successful, the man has created multiple franchises. I loved being on set, I couldn’t wait to get to work each day. 

Bloodshot was so much fun! And so fun to play a bad guy too – they’re the most interesting parts to play really. Obviously, playing a relatively good guy for a number of years now, it was nice to do something different, too.

Season 6 of Outlander premieres on streaming service Prime Video on March 6, 2022. You can watch the previous five seasons of Outlander, plus the upcoming sixth season, with a subscription to Prime Video.