In the season 7 premiere of Outlander, a new time traveler named Wendigo Donner is introduced, bringing back memories of Claire's past and deviating from the events in the books. While Claire and the Frasers were initially thought to be the only experienced time travelers, the series introduced Geillis Duncan in season 1 as another time traveler who intentionally went back in time to alter history.
Subsequent seasons introduced more time travelers unrelated to the Frasers, indicating stories similar to Geillis' rather than Claire's. In seasons 4 and 5, Claire encounters two fellow time travelers, Otter Tooth and Wendigo Donner, who are part of the Montauk 5. However, the portrayal of Wendigo Donner in the TV show diverges from the events in the original book series by Diana Gabaldon.
In the books, Wendigo meets Brianna at River Run and later encounters Claire, seeking gemstones to return to his own time. However, the TV show changes this sequence of events, with Roger encountering Donner during his training as a reverend. The TV version of Donner already possesses knowledge about gemstones and their role in time travel when he meets Claire in season 5.
Donner's presence adds tension to Roger and Brianna's relationship as he seeks their assistance. Additionally, his possession of a gemstone may alter the future destruction of Fraser's Ridge, which plays a significant role in the book series. Donner's character was never portrayed positively in the TV show, and his actions had negative consequences, such as failing to save Claire from violence perpetrated by Lionel Brown's group.
Furthermore, Donner's storyline in the season 7 premiere highlights the recurring theme of time travelers facing legal troubles in the communities they visit. Claire, Geillis, and Master Raymond have all faced accusations of witchcraft, while Otter Tooth's efforts to influence Native American tribes led to his ostracization. By involving Donner in criminal activities, the show reinforces the pattern of time travelers encountering law enforcement issues.
Despite these deviations from the books, the premiere episode still maintains the overarching narrative of time travelers facing challenges and being perceived as threats in the time periods they visit. Wendigo Donner's inclusion adds another layer of complexity to the story, setting the stage for further exploration of the consequences of time travel in Outlander season 7.