Will historical time travel drama Outlander ever overtake the novels?

With season three due in the autumn, some fans are concerned the series could eventually overtake Diana Gabaldon's writing

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What happens if Outlander author Diana Gabaldon catches writer’s block from Game of Thrones author George RR Martin and takes a billion years to write the next novel?

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Fans of the series need not worry, because showrunners are absolutely confident they will not be left to fend for themselves without the author’s guidance.

Time-travelling fantasy action romance Outlander is based on Gabaldon’s novels and stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. So far there are eight books in the series, but a ninth (Don’t Tell the Bees I am Gone) is on the way. 

Speaking at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, the show’s executive producer Ronald D Moore told the audience: “I can’t imagine a scenario where we catch up to Diana. She will tell us the end of the story.”

By contrast, Martin has dragged his heels on writing the latest book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series for so long that the Game of Thrones TV series has been forced to overtake him and go off in its own direction. 

With season three about to kick off, fans have been wondering how closely the series will follow the books. Season two (spoiler alert!) ended with Jame (Heughan) sending Claire (Balfe) forward through time while he prepared to be annihilated in the Battle of Culloden.

In the novels the couple then remain separated for another two decades – will the series stay true to this storyline?

“As always we take our cues from the book first,” Moore said. “The book laid out this episodic story of Jamie, it began with five chapters of his life from the Battle of Culloden to Lallybroch, to prison and Hellwater and ends up in the print shop [where Claire returns to the past]. So as we approached this season structurally, we laid out the cards on the board and it was clear, that’s five episodes right there.”

So it seems we can expect the fateful reunion in episode five. 

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Outlander will return to Starz in the US on 10th September, while More4 is currently airing season one in the UK.