Outlander just ended a really successful first season on Starz and premiered its gag reel at San Diego Comic-Con. We got a chance to chat with the cast and crew including Diana Gabaldan, writer of the series which the show is based on, Ronald D. Moore, the showrunner, Caitriona Balfe who plays Claire and Sam Heughan who plays Jamie.
Last season, Claire fell through a hole in time in some standing stones and ended up married to Jamie, a Scottish man in the eighteenth century. Now she’s revealed her origin and what’s going to happen if the Scottish rebellion takes place. Claire and Jamie travel to France to try to stop Bonnie Prince Charlie and save the Scottish Highlanders in Season 2. Here are some things we learned about the new season.
Moore told us about some of the things that have changed from the book series. “There are more changes in the second season because the second book is more complex. It’s a much more difficult book to adapt. The second book switches point-of-view sometimes. It’s more political. It’s just the dynamics are more difficult to deal with. The first book had a cleaner straighter narrative that you looked at and sort of went, oh, we can break it down into these episodes. The second book just took more time. You’re sitting in the writers’ room shuffling pieces around, saying, well, if we couldn’t do this and we had to change it, is there another way we can get to the same piece in a different part of the story.
- He said it’s a tougher production because we’re in Paris and literally every set, every costume had to be different, so we were really assigning and producing a whole different series in Season 2.
- Moore said that we won’t see the Battle of Culloden in Season 2, but that he’s been working on it in his head. He said it was actually a really short battle and really devastating and he would love to film it if they get picked up for a third season.
- Moore explained that the change to 13 episodes this season was a network decision. He said that, going forward, they would likely stick to the 13 episode format.
- For fans of the books, the third season is going to present a huge problem. (We won’t spoil it here, but fans will know what the issue is.) Moore said he hoped to be able to have that issue, and that he was already thinking about ways to tackle it if they get a pickup.
He talked about the tone and how it’s going to change the show, having them in Paris. “It changes the tone. Suddenly they’re in an urban setting. It’s the most populous city in the world in that point in time. The aristocracy, as opposed to the Scottish Highlanders – visually those are different. It’s more refined. Suddenly it’s candles, and gilt and satins instead of wool. Just the sets. It’s not heavy stone walls and dark wood. It’s fabric walls and draperies and the mood and the feeling of shooting is different.”
- Heughan talked about his big challenge this season. “I guess we’re in a different world. Therefore Jamie and Claire are almost assuming different identities. Jumping in feet first was pretty difficult because we started shooting the first three episodes together. We were just trying to establish where they are in this world. All those questions – you suddenly realize Jamie isn’t as sure of himself as he was in a different world.”
- Heughan said that he spoke French pretty badly but that they do a lot of French speaking in Season 2. He joked that they have coaches and the French actors who stand around and make fun of them.
- He talked about how Jamie and Claire’s relationship has changed. “It’s certainly affected by the events and the trauma. But also the fact that they’re expectant parents.” He said the fact that they’re trying to change history doesn’t help things. They’re still finding their way back to each other.
Balfe said that the hospital scenes figure in quite a bit in the new season. She explained that Claire feels out of sorts in the new city and certainly still from her time travel. She said that this is a place where she feels like herself again. She said she loved working with the hospital dog as well.
- Balfe talked about the new season, saying “It’s really nice to have gone back and to be doing something different. You have a slight fear that when you come back for Season 2, it’s going to feel like Groundhog Day or something. Like you never left. But it doesn’t. It feels so different.” She said visually, the first half of the show will look very, very different. She said she wants to move into her Paris apartment. We will definitely see the famous red dress from the book. She also said it took a while to get used to the pregnancy prosthetics.
- In terms of the more difficult sexual scenes, she said that having a crew who was supportive and writers and directors who spent time on explaining how everything would be shot really helped. She said they hadn’t shot that scene yet, but that they’d be doing it soon.
- Moore told us that a lot of the French interior scenes were being shot on sound stages in Scotland because it was so expensive to move the entire company, but that some of it was filmed in France. He said they’d also be traveling to Prague to shoot some exterior shots for the Paris scenes.
- Gabaldon said that she was fine with a lot of the changes from the book and loves the fact that she’s being consulted. She said there was a particular change that she really liked, but telling us that would reveal something.
- Gabaldon told us that she has the ending of the series in mind and only told Moore and Heughan because they had to know it for the series. She said she sometimes has to tell them not to kill people off because they’re going to be important later in the series.
Outlander Season 2 will premiere next year on Starz.