Outlander season two came to a dramatic end this weekend, with new faces, epic time travel and one shocking departure, which showrunner Ronald D Moore admits was a “pretty big surprise” for those of us who haven’t read Diana Gabaldon’s books…
“I think they will be surprised and shocked that we killed Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish), because he’s such a great character and such a powerful force. Especially since Colum (Gary Lewis) just died the week before, and you would think that there would be a long route to go with Dougal. I assume that the broadcast audience was assuming that we would see Dougal fighting to the death at Culloden, right? He would be one of the principal players in that story, so I think it will come as a pretty big surprise.”
It was a shock, but not a diversion from the novels, like some of the second season has been. “The biggest change we made obviously was starting in the 1940s instead of starting in 1968. That was the biggest change from the book. I just felt that at the beginning of the season it was too big of a leap to take the audience from Claire and Jamie on the ship sailing off to France to then suddenly jump all the way to 1968 and reveal that not only did Claire return to the 20th century, but she has a grown daughter and she’s a surgeon, and the reverend’s dead and Frank’s dead, and it’s just like, whoa — traumatically that was just too much,” Moore told Deadline.
“So I thought, ‘Right, let’s start in a little bit more chronological way. Let’s start with her return to the 1940s, establish that she’s with Frank and going to have a child, because even though that alone is still a huge leap for the audience, it’s not quite as big.”
As the dreaded ‘Droughtlander’ begins, our thoughts have turned to the upcoming third season, which will be based on Gabaldon’s novel Voyager.
“Some things get moved around,” admitted Moore, “but the third book is not nearly the same challenge as the second book is. Voyager is a little bit more of a straight-ahead narrative and the adaptation process has already proven easier in the writers’ room because the structure is a little bit more straightforward.
“It’s just not as big a hill to climb in the third season, so we’re all feeling pretty optimistic and pretty good about where the third season is taking us.”
That said, a whole section of the narrative sees the main characters at sea and in landscapes a long way from Scotland… “After the sea voyage they end up in Jamaica – which doesn’t look a lot like Scotland either. So we are actively scouting other locations and having conversations about where to do both of those things, but our production base will still be primarily in Scotland,” said Moore.
So how long will our wait for new episodes will actually be?
“We’re in preproduction at the moment. We won’t start shooting again until late August, early September.”