Outlanders Young Ian stayed in America when he could have gone home

Outlander cast discuss Young Ian's season four proposal

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WARNING: This article contains spoilers from An Echo in the Bone

Outlander fans are still contending with the Droughtlander – the period when the Starz drama series is off-screens – with fans eager for the show’s return. In the meantime, some viewers have been revisiting previous seasons of the show and even the books in preparation for the penultimate outing. Others have questions about some of the plot points in Outlander in the forthcoming outing.

Why didn’t Young Ian go back to Scotland?

Young Ian (played by John Bell) has had an eventful time since season three of Outlander when he was kidnapped by smugglers and taken to the West Indies.

He was eventually rescued by his uncle Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitríona Balfe), who saved him from the clutches of Geillis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek).

After this, he ended up trading places with Roger MacKenzie (Richard Rankin) after Jamie mistakenly gave the 20th century time traveller to a Native American tribe after thinking the historian was his daughter Brianna’s (Sophie Skelton) attacker.

Young Ian eventually came back to Fraser’s Ridge when things didn’t work out with the tribe and his life was marred by tragedy.

The youngster told Jamie what had transpired during his time away, including his failed marriage and the death of his baby daughter.

Young Ian was originally supposed to be heading home in The Drums of Autumn but his ship set sail without him and so he had to stay with his uncle and aunt.

The trio ended up with Jocasta Cameron (Maria Kennedy Doyle) at her River Run plantation before striking out on their own.

The events of Drums of Autumn (season four) saw Roger taking up Roger’s place in the Mohawk tribe and so he couldn’t go back to Scotland because of this.

Therefore, it was simply a matter of logistics with Ian’s ship departing and then essentially sacrificing himself for Roger.

But in the seventh Outlander novel, An Echo in the Bone, Ian does indeed go back to Scotland as he revisits his homeland and his family.

In the novel, Ian is reunited with his father Ian Murray (Steven Cree) and his mother as well as his siblings.

Depending on what the Starz series adapts from An Echo in the Bone, this moment is likely to bring things full circle for Young Ian as he returns home.

Young Ian always wanted adventure, which was why he ran away to Edinburgh and Jamie’s printshop in the first place.

Therefore, his decision to stay in America feeds into this as he has wanderlust and isn’t content to just remain in Scotland.

Added into this, following his stint with the Mohawk, Young Ian has a very complex identity which has elements of Native American as well as Scottish.

This identity is expected to shift further in season seven if he goes back to Lallybroch as well as his arc into the eighth and final season.

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Previously speaking about Ian’s return to Fraser’s Ridge and opening up to his uncle, actor Bell told The Dipp: “I do think he’s found some peace.

“I say ‘some’ because I think he’s been traumatized [sic], as well, through his experience.

“It’s not been easy. And as we see Ian progress, I think he does tend to get a bit darker as these demons still haunt him.”

Adding: “Yes, he’s got peace but his tendency to violence will also be informed by his past.”

Outlander season 7 will air later this year and seasons 1 to 6 are streaming on Lionsgate+ now

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