The actress, who plays Outlander straight-shooter Jenny Fraser Murray in Starz’s Scottish historical drama, will lead what is described as an “epic science-fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies and a mission that might change the world.” The premium cabler gave the project a straight-to-series order in July.
Donnelly’s character, Amalia True, is an impulsive and emotionally scarred hero who rejects Victorian society and “would die for the cause and kill for a drink,” per our sister site Deadline, which reported the casting.
“Laura Donnelly has charisma, wisdom and an anarchic precision that not only captures Amalia but defines her,” Whedon said via statement. “She’s fierce and she’s funny – and I need both for the journey ahead.”
Whedon writes, directs and executive-produces the HBO drama, as well as serves as showrunner. His previous TV creations include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly, as well as Dollhouse and the co-creation of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
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In addition to Outlander, Donnelly’s TV credits include The Fall, Merlin and Missing. She recently starred in The Ferryman on Broadway and in London, winning a Best Actress Olivier Award for her performance. And for those worried about Donnelly’s ability to return to Outlander, that’s a far-off problem: Jenny doesn’t appear in The Fiery Cross or A Breath of Snow and Ashes, the Diana Gabaldon novels on which the upcoming Season 5 and 6 are based.