‘Outlander’ Casts Young Ian and Joe Abernathy for Season 3

JOHN BELL Will Johnson Outlander
Courtesy of Starz

Outlander” has cast two pivotal roles for Season 3, Variety has learned.

Joining Jamie Fraser’s (Sam Heughan) world in the 18th century, John Bell (“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”) will play the role of Young Ian Murray, Jamie’s nephew. Young Ian is a tall, gangly Scottish lad with a heart of gold, a stubborn streak and a penchant for getting into trouble. Bursting with charm, he’s more like his adventurous, fierce uncle Jamie than his farmer father Ian — but when we meet him, he is still a very gawky boy. However, he keeps trying to prove that he is a man and we will see him grow into quite a formidable one as the series evolves.

Meanwhile, in Claire’s (Caitriona Balfe) life in 20th Century Boston, Wil Johnson (“Waking the Dead”) will play her friend and medical colleague, Joe Abernathy. Joe is a fellow doctor-in-training whom Claire befriends in medical school. Intelligent, charismatic, with a wry and irreverent sense of humor, Joe is a loyal confidant with great affection for Claire. He puts on a good face, but he is all too aware of his place in the Civil Rights era. Joe and Claire both feel out of place in the mostly all-white, all-male medical field, which bonds them together in a lifelong friendship.

Season 3 of Starz’s “Outlander” is based on the third novel in Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling series, “Voyager.” The third season picks up right after Claire travels through the stones to return to her life in 1948. Now pregnant, she struggles with the fallout of her sudden reappearance and its effect on her marriage to her first husband, Frank (Tobias Menzies). Meanwhile, in the 18th century, Jamie suffers from the aftermath of his doomed last stand at the historic battle of Culloden, as well as the loss of Claire. As the years pass, Jamie and Claire attempt to make a life apart from one another, each haunted by the memory of their lost love. The budding possibility that Claire can return to Jamie in the past breathes new hope into Claire’s heart… as well as new doubt. Separated by continents and centuries, Claire and Jamie must find their way back to each other. As always, adversity, mystery and adventure await them on the path to reunion. And the question remains: When they find each other, will they be the same people who parted at the standing stones, all those years ago?

Showrunner Ronald D. Moore, Maril Davis, Matthew B. Roberts, Toni Graphia, Anne Kenney and Andy Harries serve as executive producers of “Outlander,” which is produced by Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining & Supply Company and Left Bank Pictures in association with Sony Pictures Television. Starz retains all domestic multiplatform pay TV rights to the original series.

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  1. onehsancare says:

    Still no replacement for Sophie as Brianna? Has she been working with acting coaches all summer? Will she wear contact lenses? Develop a Boston accent? That casting decision was wrong on so many levels I can only hope that they’re spending the time between now and when shooting begins with an adult Brianna in finding a better match. Most importantly, finding an actress with some acting chops

    • Cindy Katz says:

      yes, I know, but ever think we are all so awed by Brianna in the book that we can’t get that picture out of our minds. What is the picture we have? The love child of Jamie and Clair! A girl who travels through the stones alone on purpose, a girl willing to fight with Jamie, God forbid!, A girl willing to be unmarried and pregnant back in the days when it was utterly shameful. A girl engineer who does not stop being one in that century. Can anyone fit this image in our minds. I think when Jamie sees her, and he accepts her, we will too. Lets give it a chance and not spoil our pleasure of seeing this story on screen by criticizing the people trying to bring it to us.

    • Josie says:

      I think you are hoping in vain. Nothing suggests they are going to recast Brianna.
      I do believe it’s strange, that for Young Ian they were able to find a young actor, who is Scottish, already has an imposing acting resume and even bears a resemblance to Sam Heughan (even though he doesn’t really need it since Young Ian resembles his father, not uncle) while after many months of looking for the “right” Brianna, they found an actress who doesn’t fit the character she plays on any level. She is British and needs to feign American accent, she is not even remotly tall or strong enough (and it’s very important characteristic of Brianna, plotwise as well), she has brown eyes while her on-screen parents are blue eyed, she doesn’t physically resemble Sam Heughan/Jamie, and she has almost zero acting experience. Which shows.
      Still, I would feel awful for the young actress had they decided to recast her, I would rather have them help her work intensely on acting/accent, and hope for the best.

  2. M Town says:

    All that is left is Lord elesmere —Willie———– Jamie’s son. That will be a biggie

  3. Deni N says:

    The selections for young Ian and Joe Abernathy look perfect. Finally! You missed with Brianna – can’t act, doesn’t look like her dad and too short. Seems Ron and company are missing the important details like eye colors; I.e. Clair’s aren’t blue, Brianna’s aren’t brown, Gellie and Roger’s are green – all for a reason. Moore’s gotta go! He’s failing on so many levels.

    • Marleena says:

      If it wasn’t for Ron Moore, Outlander (this series) would not be on TV. Many of us like this series (including their choice of Brianna) so if you hate it so much I would suggest you simply stop watching it. Even the author Diana Gabaldon has approved of Ron Moore and his version of the series.

      • Lauren says:

        I also agree with Marleena . Nobody in the cast is exactly like they are in the books, and some are way off. Sam Heughan isn’t tall enough and Catriona Balfe is too tall and thin, and doesn’t have “whiskey colored” eyes. Would all these complainers like them to be re-cast? Lotte Verbeek’s Scottish accent is awful and made me cringe when I first hear her speak, but I’ve gotten used to it and like her as Geillis. I’m sure Sophie Skelton will be fine as Brianna – I don’t see why she should have a strong Boston accent when both her parents are British. I knew a girl in middle school with Scottish parents raised in America who still had a touch of the Scottish accent – especially when talking to her parents. It was fascinating to hear the dialectical and accent shifts when she went from speaking with friends to speaking with her parents. Makes me wonder if Brianna should speak British English when she talks to Claire and even Roger.

      • onehsancare says:

        Moore has done a spectacular job. That’s why the casting of Brianna has been such a touch point for the audience. Every other actor has made us belief without doubt that we were looking at Claire, Jamie, the king of France, and every other character. Sophie, with much more experience, may become an actress capable of inspiring that level of willing suspension of disbelief. The number and depth of complaints, though, are based primarily on the fact that she is not there yet. The non-matching physical characteristics are salt in the wound– they could be overlooked if she could act, but she can’t. If you review the finale of the second season, you see a young woman who seems to be reading cue cards. She just does not rise to the level of the rest of the cast.

      • Rachel says:

        I agree with Marleena, Moore has handled the adaptation of this series better than many show runners ever could. He has my confidence as a long time BSG fan. Besides, there is more to an adaptation than a character’s looks. Ater all, many of our favorites from Game of Thrones look quite different from the books, especially Daario Naharis (how he looks by book description.

  4. Honey Jackson says:

    If I were Claire,upon returning to my great love,my soulmate,Jamie,I’d pick up right where we left off, and the 20years of longing for him would be so INTENSE,at our REUNION,I’d suffocate him with so much LOVE💜💜💜, and kisses💋💋💋💋💋,he wouldn’t be able to breathe because I’d be the sane woman I was when he pushed me through the stones! Later on,we could rediscover what,and how miserable, empty,lonely our lives had been,apart from one another We’d work everything out because,like Jamie once said,”don’t worry,now,there’s the two of us”💜💜

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