The last time “Outlander” developer Ronald D. Moore, original novelist Diana Gabaldon and stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan visited the TCA press tour, we hadn't actually seen any of the time-traveling Starz drama.
Now, we have!
Actually, now we've seen the eight “Outlander” episodes that aired over the summer and many of us have seen the first three episodes of the season's second half.
Let's see how the conversation changes!
WARNING: I've read the first book and we in this room have seen, as I just said, through Episode 11 and it's very likely that the conversation may include some spoilers. I really can't predict how spoiler-y the questions are going to be. So if you're experiencing “Outlander” for the first time on TV, proceed with caution! *After* the panel I'll be able to clarify which questions are spoiler-y and which aren't, but not until after the panel…
ALSO: There's a strong chance I'm gonna misspell Diana Gabaldon, Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan's names at some point. Possibly even here. I think I'm OK with Ronald D. Moore. But be nice. I'll fix anything you need me to fix.
Oh and remember: “Outlander” returns on April 4.
4:41 p.m. PT. Starz made us wait for this one. We've already had panels for “Black Sails” and “Power” to keep us in the room. And we're here.
4:52 p.m. Ronald D. Moore is, indeed, wearing a kilt.
4:52 p.m. Moore says that they carve the book events into discrete hours, work on theme and art on the board. “You sorta make changes along the way in order to accomplish those goals,” he says. He adds that they don't make changes unless they have to and then they try to work their way back. But he says they're “honor-bound” to maintain consistency going forward, keeping an eye on both the book, but also the TV show's continuity and mythology.
4:54 p.m. “16 was a good number for the first book,” Moore says of the episode count for the first book. He references Episode 6 as an episode that turned a small section of the book into a full episode. He says they managed to do the whole book.
4:55 p.m. The ninth episode is narrated by Jamie, which breaks with the series' established POV. He says that the cliffhanger and the long delay was a good opportunity to shift the POV. “The show beyond Season 1 is really about Jamie and Claire together and this was a moment to pivot,” Moore says, adding that Jamie's POV will return down the road.
4:56 p.m. How have Balfe and Heughan changed by playing these characters? Balfe says that “It's shown me how much strength and resilience I have.” “I think if anything Claire's just either brought my inner strength out” she says, or showed her that she was strong already. Heughan says that he's learned about the stamina necessary to do the job. “You bring yourself to the part, so it all reflects back onto your personal life as well,” Sam says.
4:58 p.m. “I knew lots of people I didn't want,” Gabaldon says of casting options, saying that Sam and Caitriona did much much better than she even hoped they could be. Gabaldon emphasizes that it's easy for her to tell Caitriona and Claire apart. However, “He kinda flickers in and out for me,” she says of Sam. He smiles and possibly blushes. He's wearing a suit this time, by the way.
4:59 p.m. How, exactly, has Sam changed from playing this role? He promises that in the second half of the season, we learn more about Jamie. He's finding his place in the world. He's dealing with his relationship with his sister and dead father. He's less idealistic and we see more of his failings or “chinks in his armor.” “He's very honorable and he learns a lot,” Sam says, adding that he's trying to do the same.
5:00 p.m. Has the show influenced Gabaldon's writing? She's writing the ninth book now and Claire and Jamie are in their 60s. So, “No, they don't alter my view of Claire and Jamie at all. What they're doing now” can't impact what's happening 40 years later in their lives.
5:01 p.m. Gabaldon says she values her female readers, but emphasizes that the show has gotten her more male readers. “While I've always had male readers, they tend not to join book clubs, but now they're coming out of the woodwork,” she says. The show's audience is apparently 47 percent male.
5:03 p.m. “It informs everything that we do. The landscape is so beautiful,” Balfe says of shooting in Scotland. She admits it's cold and rainy, “But that's just the way it is there.” “And I never complain,” she adds with a smile and laugh.
5:03 p.m. Season 2 takes place partly in Paris and Moore says they're looking for locations (not necessarily in France), but they'll do most of the interiors still in Scotland.
5:04 p.m. “It's remarkable, it really is,” Sam says of his scar prosthetics. It takes two-to-three hours to put on. “It moves with the body,” he says, noting that it gets a little damaged when they spend time rolling around on the floor. Jamie has some more injuries coming in the second half of the season and he promises it'll look remarkable and also be shocking.
5:04 p.m. We won't see any more 20th Century Frank this season, but next year we will.
5:05 p.m. They have a full-time historian who goes over scripts. They also have costume and medical and other historical consultants. Apparently the individual Highlanders have a lot of leeway in terms of how they wear their kilts. “Nothing was set in stone, especially in that time period,” Sam says.
5:07 p.m. Howie of 21st Century Kilts made Moore his kilt.
5:07 p.m. SPOILER: A questioner asks about “the flogging scene.” “The spanking scene?” Balfe says. She knew people would be interested. She said it was important to look at it in the mind frame of 1743 and admits it's hard as a modern person to view it as justified. “We wanted to not take it lightly. We wanted to approach it very respectfully,” Balfe says. “We choreographed it quite well,” she adds. “For Claire, she finds it very hard to sorta wrap her mind that this man that she's fallen in love with, what he's about to do,” she says. Balfe notes that the characters take time afterward to get past it. “There had to be a coming to an understanding of his reasons for it,” she says. “They both learn a lesson about their relationship,” Heughan says, claiming this strengthens their relationship going forward.
That was REALLY short. Sorry. Starz probably should have cut into “Black Sails”/”Power” a bit sooner.