‘Outlander’ Creator Ronald D. Moore on the Toughest Casting Choice He Had to Make

     May 27, 2020

Who knew that the Starz time travel period drama Outlander would be a multi-season hit? Well, showrunner Ronald D. Moore was pretty confident about it. As the veteran TV producer with credits including Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Carnivale, and Battlestar Galactica explains to our own Steven Weintraub in this video interview for Collider Connected, he was “very hopeful” that the show would find an audience.

The reason for that, he explains, was that the show, based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, already had a dedicated fanbase. This meant that even a year before the series premiered, there was a full audience for a fan event previewing Moore’s plans for the adaptation. “It gave me hope right from the beginning that this could be a phenomenon,” he says.

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Image via Starz

What was less easy, though, was the process of casting the lead role of Claire, one that Moore had assumed wouldn’t be difficult because of the number of potential actresses who might work. However, finding just the right woman to play the resilient former Army nurse who becomes unstuck in time was a lot harder than finding the perfect man to play her ultimate lifelong love, Jamie.

While Sam Heughan was the very first actor to be cast, they didn’t settle on Caitriona Balfe until just a few days before the beginning of filming. “We were pretty certain from her tape that she was the one,” Moore says — though a chemistry read with Heughan did seal the deal.

Above, watch Moore talk more about the series, including where things stand in terms of his plans for Season 6, as well as where discussions around a potential Outlander spinoff stand: Moore says that Sony and Starz are “in conversations about” the idea, and that they have “a couple of ideas” for what that spinoff might be. While Moore said that he wasn’t ready to share anything specific about what those ideas might be, fingers crossed Adso the Cat plays a big part in it.

Check out all of our previous Outlander coverage here.

Television