×

‘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

  • Globe Centred On Asia And Oceania,

    APOS: Online Video Headed for 15% Annual Growth, Disrupting Asia Markets

    A blistering 15% annual growth of online video will give the Asian video industry (TV, pay-TV, home entertainment and streaming) a growth rate nearly double that of North America for the next five years. According to a new report from Media Partners Asia, published on the eve of the APOS conference in Indonesia, Asia’s online [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Writers Guild Says Over 7,000 Members Have Fired Agents

    Over 7,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have fired their talent agents, the Hollywood union said on Monday. As promised, the guild delivered a first round of termination letters to agents in a show of support for the WGA’s full-on war with the Association of Talent Agents. “Today the Guild delivered a first [...]

  • The Spanish Princess Starz

    TV Review: Starz's 'The Spanish Princess'

    With sumptuous costumes and a cast including a couple of familiar and beloved costume-drama players, Starz’s “The Spanish Princess,” about the travails of Catherine of Aragon, seems designed to appeal to lovers of broadly drawn historical romance. (It hits the air May 5 with a built-in fandom: Like past Starz miniseries including “The White Queen,” [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Jada Pinkett Smith's

    TV News Roundup: Amazon's 'Sneaky Pete' Releases Season 3 Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Amazon Prime Video releases a trailer for Season 3 of “Sneaky Pete,” and “Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett Smith sets a return date on Facebook Watch. FIRST LOOKS The official trailer for the third season of “Sneaky Pete” on Amazon Prime Video has been released, showing off the new [...]

  • Tammy Filler Nathan Najarian NBC

    E! Expands News Coverage, Brings 'Today' Vet Tammy Filler Aboard (EXCLUSIVE)

    E! is expanding its entertainment-news programming, with plans to add three more hours of coverage to its linear schedule in 2020, Variety has learned. To help spearhead the effort, the cable channel is bringing aboard Tammy Filler, a veteran producer on NBC’s “Today,” to lead creative and production for E! News. The expansion of news [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content