You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Outlander’ Preview: Sam Heughan Says Jamie Will Be ‘Tested’ in Midseason Return

The last time we saw Starz’s “Outlander,” time-travelling heroine Claire (Caitriona Balfe) was left in the clutches of Captain “Black Jack” Randall (Tobias Menzies), with husband Jamie (Sam Heughan) infiltrating the English stronghold of Fort William to try and rescue her from the sadistic Redcoat.

The show’s April 4 return marks something of a change for the ambitious drama series, which spent the first half of the season with Claire serving as the sole narrator and guide for the audience as she acclimated to the treacherous landscape of the Scottish Highlands in 1743. In the midseason premiere, the perspective (and voiceover) switches to Jamie’s point-of-view, giving viewers some insight into the Scot’s thoughts as he mounts his daring rescue mission.

Executive producer Ron Moore told Variety that the decision to switch to Jamie’s POV “evolved as we were developing the season. We knew early on that there was going to be a midseason break and we just said, ‘Okay, this is the perfect cliffhanger, so we’ll end up with Jamie in the window.’ And then as we got closer to doing the episode, we started thinking seriously about, ‘alright, if this is the first time that we’re coming back after a break, we want to restart a little bit and not just pick up directly in the real time, so how would we restart it? And then we started talking about the fact that due to the events of that story, there’s a lot of Jamie in it, so maybe this is an opportunity to shift perspective and tell the story from his point-of-view, because in the life of the series overall, it really is the story of Claire and Jamie. So this was a chance to now open that up and include him in our perspective of what the series is about.”

Balfe didn’t mind handing over her voiceover duties to Heughan for the midseason premiere, noting, “I think it’s really interesting to finally see from Jamie’s perspective of what’s going on, and then to hear his internal monologue about how he feels about things.”

Although Claire’s voiceover isn’t gone for good, Heughan admitted that the back half of the season also allows for plenty of character development for Jamie. “There’s a lot more of who he is; you find out a lot more about him. He is kind of like this perfect man who always says the right thing and does the right thing, and suddenly in the second part of the season, he’s really tested. He’s constantly trying to find his place in the world, in his relationships to Claire; to his sister; to his best friends; his dead father. He’s really trying to find out who he is, and growing up.”

Heughan read Diana Gabaldon’s eponymous book on which the series is based “several times” to help him familiarize himself with Jamie’s journey, but since the first novel is also told solely from Claire’s POV, Heughan admitted to discovering a lot about his character just through the process of playing him. “You can always plot an arc and get a rough idea, but I think for the vast majority of actors, you just don’t know what’s going to happen, how it’s going to come out. And for Jamie, it really is a voyage of discovery, because each episode, he’s being challenged about who he is and what his beliefs are, the way he’s been brought up… and what [Claire] means to him. And then that [relationship] is tested.”

Outlander” airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on Starz. Come back to Variety after the episode for more from Heughan, Balfe and Moore.

More TV

  • Prince Albert II of Monaco (C),

    Jessica Alba, Gabrielle Union's 'L.A.’s Finest' Opens Monte Carlo TV Festival

    Prince Albert II of Monaco opened the 59th Monte Carlo Television Festival on Friday at a glittering ceremony at the principality’s Grimaldi Forum attended by Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba. The Hollywood actresses presented the French premiere of their action cop series “L.A.’s Finest,” which has just been renewed for a second season. “You typically [...]

  • Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba'L.A.'s Finest'

    Jessica Alba, Gabrielle Union Speak About Horrific 'L.A.’s Finest' On-Set Accident

    Actresses Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba spoke about how the horrific accident on the set of their action cop series “L.A.’s Finest” affected them and the crew at the 59th Monte Carlo Television Festival Saturday. They also paid tribute to the main victim of the incident, executive producer/co-showrunner Brandon Sonnier, whose leg was amputated below [...]

  • Emmys: How a Social Media Campaign

    How a Social Media Campaign to Game the Emmys Led to This Week's 'Block Voting' Scandal

    The Television Academy’s “block voting” controversy has quickly become the talk of Emmy season — and that appears to have been the org’s point. According to multiple insiders, the number of people disqualified from voting in this year’s competition is believed to be small, only around three members (out of nearly 25,000 members overall). But [...]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    TV News Roundup: Hulu Drops Trailer for 'Veronica Mars' Revival (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, Hulu dropped the official trailer for the “Veronica Mars” revival and HBO revealed more cast members for “Lovecraft Country.” FIRST LOOKS Hulu has dropped the official trailer for its revival of “Veronica Mars,” set to premiere on July 26. The series will bring back most of the original cast, including Kristen Bell, Jason [...]

  • Dan Stevens

    'Legion' Star Dan Stevens Says His Character Would Fight Thanos, 'Wreak Havoc' in MCU

    Dan Stevens said his powerful, telepathic mutant Legion would do some serious damage if he ever crossed over from the eponymous FX series into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Legion would wreak havoc. He’d probably take on Thanos, let’s see that,” he told Variety on the red carpet at the premiere of the trippy, mind-bending superhero series [...]

  • Viacom CEO Bob Bakish

    Bob Bakish Talks Pluto TV, Netflix and CBS-Viacom Merger Rumors

    Viacom CEO Bob Bakish knows that a lot of his peers are in the original content space in streaming, but he believes the company’s ad-supported free service Pluto TV is better off relying on Viacom’s library of content. “We can debate a lot of things about the future, but in the near term, the opportunity [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content