Outlander‘s stars and creative team were at the Television Critics Association (TCA) semi-annual meeting, and they had some surprising as well as predictable revelations.
1. Bye-bye Frank
For anyone who has not been loving the flashbacks and flash sideways to Frank in the 20th century, fear no more. According to executive producer Ron Moore, he’s gone for the rest of the season. He’ll next reappear in season 2. Don’t worry Tobias Menzies fans, you can still sort of get your Frank fix by seeing Menzies play Frank Randall’s ancestor, Black Jack Randall.
2. Yes, there will be more voice over
We know, we know, many fans are not loving the voice over. Though in fairness to the writers it’s been getting less as the season has progressed. Big change of gears: when episode 9 airs on April 4, the voice over won’t be Claire’s, it will be Jamie’s! Moore stated that, “We’re restarting the audience, so we wanted to have a lead-in for the viewers that would shift the point of view,” Moore said. “This was a moment to pivot and include him in the perspective of the audience.”
3. All books are the plan
It should be noted that Starz has so far only greenlit up to season 2; however, the creative team is reasonably optimistic that they can do all eight of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels that are currently available. They are also looking forward to the as of yet unnamed book 9 that Gabaldon is currently writing. CEO of Starz, Chris Albrect stated in no uncertain terms, “Outlander has exceeded my expectations.” Given the network’s history for greenlighting series early, fans can likely expect to hear news of season 3 being given the thumbs up later this spring.
4. Kilt fashion
Historians are on hand on set for accuracy, but there was no “correct” way to wear a kilt in the 1700s. The 18th century version of Fashion Police did not exist. Kilts are comprised of yards and yards of fabric that is folded, pleated, and clipped over the shoulder. Star Sam Heughan stated, “Nothing was set in stone, especially in that time period.” The most adorable explanation of the kilt process that we have heard is by Roddy Gilkison who plays young Hamish MacKenzie.
5. Filming starts soon
Filming for season 1 wrapped a while ago, but the crew is currently gearing up for season 2 by checking out locations. They are due to start filming again in the spring. No specific date was given, but it could be as early as March given the large number of interiors used. Most work will be done in Scotland. Bad weather won’t necessarily slow them down.
6. Location, location, location
Ron Moore confirmed that they will be staying as true to the books as possible. As avid book readers are aware, this means expanding beyond the Scottish Highlands to France. Moore and his team are currently scouting locations. They may not go to France if they can get what they need in Scotland, where they intend to do all interior work. However, given some of the iconic locations in the France sequence in Dragonfly in Amber (book 2 Outlander) it would seem likely that some shooting in France would be beneficial.
7. The author is smitten
Probably not a surprise to anyone, but writer Diana Gabaldon is quite pleased with both Caitriona Balfe (Claire) and Sam Heughan (Jamie). Gababldon confirmed, “They’ve done beautifully. They’re much, much better than I thought they would be.”
8. More footage on the way
Starz is trying to cross promote another of its original series, Black Sails, to Outlander fans. There will be exclusive Outlander footage seen during the January 24 return of Black Sails.
9. No new cast members announced yet
Fans of the books are dying to know who will play the pivotal roles of Roger MacKenzie, the cute lad with the biscuits all grown up, and Brianna. Nothing has been announced yet, but with filming beginning in the spring, expect an announcement soon as it will be impossible to keep this information under wraps. Current fan favorites for Roger include Joshua Sasse of Galavant fame, and Richard Madden formerly of Game of Thrones. For Brianna, Rose Leslie formerly of Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones, and Karen Gillan best known for the recently cancelled Selfie and Doctor Who top wish lists.
10. Tackling controversy head on
There are any number of non-politically correct, chauvinistic, and xenophobic things that Claire will be presented with as she tries to navigate her way through the 18th century. The showrunners are not shying away from any of it including a scene that is quite humiliating to women, not to mention illegal, in the modern world. Without spoiling the exact nature of the scene for non-book readers, Balfe addressed the controversy that is no doubt to come by stating, “We wanted to not take it lightly. We wanted to approach it very respectfully. We choreographed it quite well. For Claire, she finds it very hard to sort of wrap her mind that this man that she’s fallen in love with, what he’s about to do. There had to be a coming to an understanding of his reasons for it. They both learn a lesson about their relationship.”
Outlander will be back on Starz on April 4, 2015.