If you've been missing your weekly dose of historical time travel this year, you're in luck: Outlander is finally returning to Starz. The new season will feature many of the characters you already know and love, but there is a new character already making waves from the trailer alone. So who plays Aunt Jocasta on Outlander Season 4?
Fans of the Outlander books know that this is one character who's either going to be the best thing or the worst thing for Jamie and Claire as they attempt to make a life in the "new world" — or as it's known more commonly these days, North Carolina. So if you're curious who the actress playing this firebrand character is, you'll be pleased to know that Aunt Jocasta is played by Maria Doyle Kennedy, an Irish actress who you've undoubtedly seen on your TV screen before.
According to IMDb, Kennedy is best known for playing Queen Catherine of Aragon in The Tudors. She also had roles in a few other period dramas, including Downton Abbey, Albert Nobbs, The Timber, Call the Midwife, and a mini-series version of Oliver Twist. Additionally, she had prominent roles in more contemporary shows and movies including Byzantium, Sorted, Dexter, Orphan Black, Striking Out, and The Conjuring 2. So it's safe to say she knows her way around a fantasy sci-fi drama.
On top of her impressive career as an actress, Kennedy is an accomplished singer who has released nine solo studio albums. And she has a very special place in her heart for making music. "Music is just a massive part of my life and even if I wasn’t recording or gigging I wouldn’t spend a day without singing — I would just sing to myself or listen to music," she told British website FemaleFirst in a 2012 interview.
Starz announced Kennedy's casting as Aunt Jocasta way back in October 2017, as Harper's Bazaar reported at the time. The outlet noted that Jocasta Cameron is Jamie's maternal aunt, and she's the sister of his mom Ellen and his uncles Dougal, and Colum. According to Starz' website, Season 4 will feature Jamie and Claire visiting Jocasta on her plantation, which she has been running on her own since her husband passed away. Though she believes she has good intentions, she is a lot like her brothers, often manipulating others in her favor. And in the Season 4 trailer, Aunt Jocasta's supercilious and ominous presence is palpable. When Claire tells Aunt Jocasta she doesn't agree with keeping people as property (aka slavery), Aunt Jocasta calls her "a lively one."
But even though it looks like Aunt Jocasta may be arriving in the Outlander universe with a threatening demeanor, it doesn't seem like she'll be able to shake Claire and Jamie's relationship. In an interview with ET Online, Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan dished on their characters' growing and maturing love for one another. “It's a more mature relationship ... I think there's a deeper love there," Balfe told the outlet of Claire and Jamie's partnership. “They've been through a lot, and we have been through a lot, and there's a real understanding there," Heughan added.
That's not to say that Aunt Jocasta might not cause some ruffled feathers between the two. Fans will just have to wait and see how it all goes down.