Monday night’s screening and Q&A hosted by the 92nd Y was a chance for fans on the East Coast to see what Starz has in store for Outlander. The official premiere is Saturday, August 9th at 9pm.
[From left to right: Leslie Yaizel (moderator), Tobias Menzies (Frank Randall/Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall), Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), Catriona Baife (Claire Randall), Diana Gabaldon (Outlander series author), Ronald D. Moore (Executive Producer)]
Here’s five insights from the discussion fans will appreciate. As a note, only minor spoilers are included in this article as a courtesy to first time viewers or those who are not caught up with the first book in the series:
1) Episode Hints: Overall the audience reaction was very positive. In my opinion,the episode did a very good job of setting up the beginning of an epic adventure. A more detailed review will be posted after the premiere. For now here’s four details from the novel fans should look out for in the episode: ghosts, Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, Gaelic, Battle wounds. Those who are new to Outlander should not be intimidated. The episode is framed in a way to also impart information for new viewers.
2) Role Duplicity: Menzies noted although Frank and Black Jack are incredibly dissimilar, they have a key element in common: “Both are shaped by war”. Baife notes she doesn’t see the Claire of the 1940’s and the Claire of 18th Century as separate entities. Many elements of her personality remain the same and they inform her time traveling experiences. Claire’s point of view is the audience’s view of a time far removed from modern experience.
3) Censorship & Exaggeration: Moore assures fans that Starz isn’t meddling with the scripts. They’re not pushing for hyped up controversial material and they’re also not calling for cuts. Scenes of sex, violence, and medical gore are treated in the same fashion the book series handles these subjects.
4)Scotland As A Character: The natural beauty in the Highlands is a prominent feature in the series. Historical accuracy goes hand in hand with the scenery. Researching 18th Century Scotland was a top priority for the producers and set designers. Props such as woven baskets, weapons, and other materials were made by Scottish artisans. Heughan notes that the show is a celebration of a culture that is almost extinct.
5) The Author’s View: Speculation about the possibility of an Outlander series or movie has gone on for many years. Fans were worried about how much scripts would alter plot points or the tone of the original. Gabaldon acts as a consultant to the production. She believes the show is translating the pages to the screen in an effective fashion. She had a “very visceral” reaction to an upcoming scene involving the tension between Jamie and Claire.
After viewing the first episode, I’m even more excited for the rest of the season. Outlander fans, let us know what you’re looking forward to!