“Outlander” may be based on a sprawling series of novels that blend blood, politics and passion in a historical setting, but author Diana Gabaldon isn’t sweating her deadlines, despite her friend George R. R. Martin’s recent admission that he missed the cutoff date that would’ve ensured his next novel would be published before “Game of Thrones” Season 6 premiered — meaning that the show will spoil his upcoming book’s storylines.
“Unlike George, I write no matter where I am or whatever I’m doing,” Gabaldon wryly noted, pointing out that every author has their own “mechanism” for writing, since Martin has admitted that he has a hard time multitasking when he has several projects on the go.
Gabaldon also has something of a head start on “Outlander” — the show will premiere its second season in April, while Gabaldon has already published eight books in her ongoing series. “Game of Thrones,” on the other hand, has caught up to Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, with Season 6 slated to premiere on April 24, before the publication of Martin’s sixth book, “The Winds of Winter,” which currently has no release date set.
Gabaldon joined “Outlander” showrunner Ronald D. Moore and stars Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe at Starz’s Television Critics Association presentation on Friday, where Heughan confirmed that Gabaldon is dedicated to her craft — noting that he witnessed her writing on set during the filming of Season 2.
Heughan also admitted that he’s been “very surprised” by the second season of the hit series, especially the progression of his character, Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser, who ventures to France with his time-traveling wife, Claire (Balfe). “Season 2 has been about discovering a side of the character I didn’t know was there,” he revealed. “He’s playing someone else — he’s learning to be quite deceptive, and he does it very well.”
The Scottish actor also noted that while “Jamie’s still affected by the trauma” of his character’s rape and torture in Season 1, “time is a great healer. He puts his whole body and soul” into their mission to change the future by attempting to avert the Jacobite uprising that resulted in the destruction of Highland culture.
Fans can also expect a “great revelation” that will help to heal Jamie and bring him back to his old self in Season 2, Heughan teased.
While the show will continue to adhere to Gabaldon’s novels, Moore said that they’ve found organic ways to deviate in small, dramatically earned ways, particularly in regards to Tobias Menzies’ role in the series. Menzies played Claire’s husband in the future, Frank Randall, and his villainous ancestor, “Black Jack” Randall, in Season 1, and we will see Frank again in Season 2 — an addition that Moore says “folded itself in” very neatly while they were breaking Season 2 in the writers’ room.
“Frank’s a great character and it’s such a fundamental part of the genesis of the story, Claire’s drive to return to him in Season 1,” Moore pointed out. “It didn’t take a lot to realize that would be a component of it [in Season 2] as well.”
Balfe — who, along with Menzies, is nominated for a Golden Globe at Sunday’s ceremony — will also explore another side of Claire in Season 2, since her character was revealed to be pregnant at the end of Season 1. Coming from the comparatively progressive 1940s, she will struggle with the expectations placed on pregnant women in the 1700s, and “how it affects their relationship and her perception of her own role in the plot to upset the Jacobite rebellion,” according to Moore.
There was no shortage of physical danger for Claire and Jamie in Season 1, but that will change in Season 2, according to Heughan: “The danger in Paris and Versailles is less physical with swords and weaponry; it’s more politics and backstabbing and poison. It’s more hidden. There’s a lot more politics at work and a lot more danger.” But rest easy, Highland fans — “then we go back to Scotland, where we go back to the blood and mud and gore,” he said.
“Outlander” Season 2 premieres on Starz in April.