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By Sydney Bucksbaum, October 29, 2017, The Hollywood Reporter

Why ‘Outlander’ Made That Huge Departure From the Books

Executive producer Matthew B. Roberts tells THR why that change was made and breaks down
"one of our biggest undertakings as a show" from Sunday's episode.
Courtesy of Starz Entertainment, LLC
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday’s Outlander, “Creme De Menthe.”]

Outlander‘s Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) aren’t living happily ever after.

Now that the star-crossed loves have reunited after 20 years of separation, they have to reconcile the fantasy of the person they’ve been missing for two decades with the older, changed person standing in front of each of them. After the romantic and idyllic print shop episode, real-life came crashing back down on the couple with “Creme De Menthe,” and amidst the action of Claire defending and killing her mysterious attacker and Jamie’s illegal smuggling business being brought to light, another secret was revealed that will shake their relationship to its core.


Both Ian (Steven Cree) and Fergus (Cesar Domboy) whispered to Jamie throughout the episode asking how he’ll handle Claire’s surprise return with his “other wife,” alerting the audience before Claire that Jamie has been hiding this secret marriage from his first wife. In Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager novel, Claire finds out much later, so it’s more of a betrayal for readers as well as the protagonist. In this massive departure from the source material, the Starz series has planted seeds of Jamie trying to figure out a way to break the news to Claire at the right time as well as having Fergus contact old lawyer friend Ned Gowan (Bill Paterson) at once, presumably to figure out a way to end his second marriage now that Claire is back.

Executive producer Matthew B. Roberts revealed that the change was born out of many debates in the Outlander writers room about how they could best “protect Jamie’s character.”

“Because we’re watching it in a different medium, when you read about it Claire is taking you through it, it’s easy to not delve into Jamie’s inner thoughts,” Roberts tells THR. “But when you visibly see Jamie on the screen, you have to play that something is bothering him, something he’s holding in. When you do that enough, you have to give the audience a little bread crumb to know what this is.”

Those breadcrumbs include the moment in “A. Malcolm” “when Fergus pulls Jamie aside and he immediately sends him to contact Ned Gowan which is another switch from the book,” according to Roberts.

“That’s us saying in a visual way that Jamie knows that he’s holding something but before he tells Claire about it, he wants to get all the information so he can unload with all the information and legal ramifications of the secret,” he continues. “Jamie wants to tell her but he holds back. It is only 24 hours [in the print shop] so we felt very comfortable with when you find someone again after 20 years, all your prayers have been answered, the first thing you’re not going to tell this massive secret that might send that person right out the door again and back to the stones. We felt it necessary to protect the character that way, and show that he knows and he’s trying to do something about it.”

Instead of having viewers find out when Jamie’s second wife shows up out of the blue to confront Claire, the team wanted to let everyone in on the secret as soon as possible so it’s not as much of a shock. In fact, the writers even considered having Jamie confess to Claire in the print shop episode but ultimately decided against it since it would have been too much of a change.

“That’s exactly what we debated round and round about why wouldn’t he tell her, why would he hold it back, so we gave visual cues of his worry about it and looking guilty,” Roberts says. “We did talk about revealing that right off the bat but the trickle down of doing that would have caused havoc with the storyline so we decided to not do that.”

Now that Outlander is finally on the other side of the big print shop reunion, the story starts to really pick up and give a new kind of momentum for the season.


“The structure of it actually becomes an epic; the pace picks up quite a bit,” Roberts says. “They are going on an epic adventure and over the next couple of episodes they find their footing being back together. Because the print shop really only focused on 24 hours and real-life hadn’t really settled in yet for them, the ramifications of that intruder hit in this episode and going forward, it’s really welcome to the 1700’s again for Claire and very quickly trying to find her footing. It almost immediately competes with her modern-day sensibilities.”

The ended with a massive set piece, as an intruder trying to bust Jamie for his illegal alcohol smuggling ended up setting fire to the print shop when Young Ian (John Bell) tried to stop him. Jamie rescued his nephew from the fire but was forced to watch along with Claire as his beloved shop burn to the ground.

“The print shop fire was one of our biggest undertakings as a show,” Roberts reveals. “The battles have become second nature to us in a way but this big fire [was the most challenging]. We built the print shop on the stage, then we went to Ediburgh and we found a building we could use and then we replicated that building exactly at our studio outside on the back lot. Over the course of two nights we progressively burned it and then we went inside to the interior set and we burned that.”

Roberts laughs as he recalls how the production named the different locations as “the main unit and what we were calling the burn unit.”


“We burned it all because we couldn’t do any burning at the real location,” he says. “It took about seven days to do the whole thing and since this is what the episode is about, we felt like we had to give it enough time to do it right.”

Another change in the story came during that fire scene after Jamie saved Young Ian, since in the book he ends up going back inside to save his printing press and any supplies he could get to before the building collapsed. In the episode, once he and Young Ian were safely outside, he never attempted to run back into the burning building. That subtle difference came about simply because of practicality.

“It was actually the presses themselves that changed that,” Roberts explains. “We had two practical presses built and they are pretty massive. They would have been, from our research, bolted to the ground or ceiling. Jamie, as strong and as superman like that he is, he couldn’t carry it out on his own.”

Roberts acknowledges that in the book, bystanders helped Jamie save his press, but he says the writers ruled out that idea.

“It wouldn’t even fit through the door,” he says. “Our print shop was on the second floor and the presses were on the bottom floor so he would have had to carry it up and then down stairs so practically it just would never have worked. So instead, the spirit of that is still there – when he is saving Young Ian, he pushes that press against the window and uses it as his way of escape.”

Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.



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Lionsgate Hires Deloitte To Craft Post-Merger Integration Plans With Starz

A Lionsgate and Starz memo to staffers has disclosed a few new details about their integration plans following the studio’s $4.4 billion acquisition of the premium networks company, which they expect to close by year end. Lionsgate has hired Deloitte Consulting to help.


BY David Lieberman, September 2, 1026

A Lionsgate and Starz memo to staffers has disclosed a few new details about their integration plans following the studio’s $4.4 billion acquisition of the premium networks company, which they expect to close by year end.

Lionsgate has hired Deloitte Consulting to help. Its people “will be on-site at Lionsgate for the next several weeks and will assist our integration teams with development of integration plans and recommendations,” execs told employees.

“Some quick process or system consolidations may be implemented in the near term after the transaction closes,” they added, “Broader initiatives may take up to 18 months to implement.”

Unidentified “colleagues from both Lionsgate and Starz” have been tapped for an integration team. “As we progress in our planning, we will evaluate the need to include additional colleagues in our planning efforts.”

They reiterated their plan to base the combined company in Los Angeles. They add that they’ll have “a continued presence in Denver, New York and London as well as other offices.”

Communications and Human Resources teams will “update employees on a regular basis.”

But those on the front line “should not share any integration-related communications with external parties at this time” because “it’s important that we speak with a single unified voice.”

The memos offered a rosy view of the companies’ future together.

The combo “will create a global content powerhouse” that will have “greater scale for attracting world-class talent, creating platform-defining content and distributing it with an incredible array of options.”

Wall Streeters remain mixed about the value of the deal for Lionsgate. Its share price has fallen about 37% in 2016.

In a report yesterday, Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger says that those who like the combination envision that “some future Lionsgate production will become a huge hit on Starz (similar in proportion to Orange is the New Black on Netflix, or Mad Menon [AMC Networks]), only now Lionsgate will capture the full value in its own Enterprise.”

But he lowered his earnings estimates, noting bears’ concerns about the debt Lionsgate will have to take on leaving “lots of downside if Starz deteriorates.”

That’s worrisome, he says, because they’re competing against “much bigger brands with much deeper pockets, including: HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, (and Epix). Not to mention conventional TV networks like: the broadcast networks, FX” and AMC.

Barrington Research’s James Goss says he likes the stable cash flows Starz offers Lionsgate, as well as “significant” tax benefits from putting Starz in a company that’s incorporated in Canada and pays its lower rates.

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Cumbernauld stars in the Battle of Culloden

11:54Saturday 27 August 2016 0


Hundreds of film extras kitted out as Jacobites and redcoats have staged an epic rerun of the bloody 1746 Battle of Culloden in a field at Greengairs.

The gory encounter is a climactic scene in the latest series of hit fantasy-history drama Outlander, and main star Sam Heughan – broadsword in hand – was in the thick of the mock fight along with the rest of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s tartan army. Clouds of fake gunsmoke could be seen drifting across the make-believe field of slaughter – just a short distance from the heart of Cumbernauld.

The “battle”, filmed last week, was the latest success for Cumbernauld as a prospective national film studio centre, building on the reputation the town has already achieved from the filming of the first series of Outlander. Whereas before it was argued that the film base in a disused local factory was ideal as a central point for outside location shots in places including Blackness Castle and Doune the latest series has proved that countryside just minutes from the heart of the new town can be portrayed as – for example – a windswept moor in 18th century rural Inverness-shire. The real battlefield on Drumossie Moor is a war grave, and visitor attraction, and completely unsuitable for filming.

Cumbernauld’s evolving role as a successful film studio centre is taking place amid ongoing controversy about where a national film base should be sited. For several years rival plans have jockeyed for position while studio chiefs have complained about a claimed lack of action from the Scottish Government. Cumbernauld has repeatedly been touted as an ideal location for the national base, underpinned by the runaway success of Outlander at home and abroad – despite not being screened in the UK. But discussions on whether a private-public scheme based in Cumbernauld should be adopted have dragged on for more than two years.

Meanwhile other plans for studios have surfaced in Edinburgh and Dundee. Then in March both NLC and the Scottish Government confirmed that a private investor wants to expand with a new 30,000 square foot premises on-site. At 50 meters high, the building would be able to accommodate towering sets, lighting rigs and other heavy-duty apparatus. The site’s existing owners had been working on the project with the Film Studio Delivery Group from the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise. Meanwhile last week’s Cumbernauld version of Culloden isn’t the first time a supposedly unlikely Scottish location has been used for a “battle”. In the 1980’s movie Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life a farm in Kippen, Stirlingshire, was used for a comedy sketch based on the 1879 Battle of Rorkes Drift – with the Campsie Hills standing in for the hills of Zululand.


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See full article below.

Outlander -

It was not too long ago that we first heard the glorious news: “Outlander” season 3 is in production! We may not know much in terms of a defined premiere date or guest stars just yet, but filming is underway and you can at least rest assured that the voyage to complete Voyager in in process.

Yet, with this series in particular you are certainly seeing more challenges than you would elsewhere for a show at this point in the run. You’ve got time jumps to deal with (Jamie and Claire won’t be the same age when the series returns that they are in the photo above), and you’ve also got to take on some further challenges in terms of locations with a story that changes place so often. These are things that executive producer Ronald D. Moore detailed further to the Radio Times below. (Obviously, there’s some spoilers ahead, the most minor of ones, for those who have not read the books.)

“I don’t think I’m giving too much away, but the story of season 3 will start in Scotland. Then there’s a sea voyage involved in the 18th century, an extended journey across the Atlantic, and then the story goes to Jamaica and the Caribbean and ending up in the New World … [It’s] exciting creatively, but really hard in terms of production. Normally by the third and fourth season of a show it’s basically a machine – this is the police station, this is an apartment, this is the bridge of the Enterprise – you’re familiar with using those sets. But with this it’s like you’re doing a whole new series every year.”

While we’ve heard already about the possible challenges that come could with being “at sea” or moving to other parts of the world, we’d never thought about it in relation to how many other shows operate and the advantages that come with it (despite the production costs and all the scouts necessarily). Look at it like this: A sitcom largely works within the same studio for its entire run, while a medical drama like “Grey’s Anatomy” has a mock hospital to move around in. While there are some familiar sets on “Outlander” here and there, these actors will continue to be moved around to new surroundings. For them, that could create an exciting sort of freshness — and of course for us as a viewer, it provides further visual treats. There is joy to be found in the unknown.

If you missed it, head over here to see our article about the first day of filming, complete with a few assorted comments from the cast and crew! Meanwhile, sign up over here to book some other TV news on everything we cover via our official CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Starz.)

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Outlander ‘will continue for next decade’

THE Hollywood mogul behind the Scottish filmed historical science fiction series Outlander has revealed plans to turn it into a TV series for at least the next decade. Outlander, which is shot in Cumbernauld, Fife, Perthshire and South Queensferry, is based on Diana Gabaldan’s novels, is already returning to the small screen for a third season.




Starz Renewal OL

Grab the whiskey and prepare to celebrate—Outlander will be back for a third and fourth season!Starz announced today that the epic romance of Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) will continue with a third and fourth season spanning the third book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Voyager as well Drums of Autumn. Season three follows the couple through new adventures in all new countries…and that’s about all we can say about that without spoiling the end of season two.

Outlander is like nothing seen before on television. From its depiction of a truly powerful female lead character, to the devastating decimation of the Highlander way of life, to what is a rarely seen genuine and timeless love story, it is a show that not only transports the viewer, but inspires the passion and admiration of its fans,” Chris Albrecht, CEO of Starz, said in a statement. “On this 25th anniversary of the publication of the first book in the US, we are thrilled and honored to be able to continue the story that began with author Diana Gabaldon, and is brought to life by the incredibly talented Ronald D. Moore. There are no better storytellers for Outlander than this team, both in front and behind the camera.”

“The world of Jamie and Claire is expansive and emotionally complex. The audience has rewarded Outlander with their praise and loyalty, and we know we will deliver the best seasons yet  in the years ahead,” Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, presidents of US programming and production at Sony Pictures Television, said in a joint statement. “Starz has been an incredible partner and has truly helped shape this into one of the most iconic premiere series on the air today.”Executive producer Ronald D. Moore told E! News back in January that he had just rereadVoyager in preparation for the third season, which he says will be quite different from the current politically-fueled second season, calling it “much more of an adventure tale.”

The second season premiere on April 9 was Starz’ highest-rated season premiere ever, with almost 1.5 million viewers. That’s more than double last year’s series premiere, and more viewers than any season one episode brought in.

Outlander airs Saturdays 9 p.m. on Starz.

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