Outlander is back! Sort of, not really, but we’ll take it. We’re thirsty, it’s Droughtlander. We will take anything. Quite frankly, Caitríona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Sophie Skelton, and Richard Rankin could post footage of their shoes and people would watch. (You know you would). Outlander kicked off its Summer Series on Facebook, with the first of four special episodes. Each episode will benefit Doctors Without Borders to support their Covid-19 medical efforts. The premiere episode, “Book Corner,” was a conversation between Executive Producer Maril Davis and author Diana Gabaldon, who revealed something about Claire that made Davis’s jaw drop. Actually, drop. There’s a video. In the teaser, Davis says, “But you didn’t say Claire survives.” And Gabaldon responds, “No, I didn’t.”
What the what?! That’s a bunch of Gabaldygook. Sorry. It is. We don’t try and kill your friends Diana, don’t kill ours. And you can’t be mad at us for being so passionate. You created Claire and Jamie, and thus, you created us, and we’re monsters. Honestly, we can’t take this sort of loss.
Dear Diana, Don’t kill Claire. Sincerely, Everyone (Except Laoghaire, she would be fine with this plot twist).
Wait, the theme song is “Sing me a song, of a lass that is gone.” Has this been the plan all along? We’re not panicking, you’re panicking. Where is Claire?!
Diana Gabaldon confirms Jamie is alive in Book 9 — but not Claire?!
Gabaldon’s words about Claire started a hullabaloo online. Yes, a hullabaloo. (I’m actually 87 years old). So Davis tagged Balfe on Twitter and said she was “freaking out.” Balfe replied, “Umm, what the ????” And so did everyone on Twitter.
My whole timeline right now: pic.twitter.com/ygafe2TZFP
— Marina Khalili (@MarinaKhalili) August 20, 2020
Then one fan asked, “Does that mean Jamie might be available?” And Balfe replied, “Over my dead body, oh wait….” (Round of applause for that savage tweet).
Over my dead body… oh wait …. huh 🤔
We’re curious, how Sam Heughan would feel about Jamie moving on after Claire? He might be the biggest Jamie and Claire fan out there. So we’re thinking Jamie will definitely be swiping left, forever.
So how exactly did the conversation go down in this episode? Davis asked Gabaldon when book 9 might be coming out. She couldn’t say when, but said she’s “close to finishing.” “I’ve been having fun with it…. can’t say there’s no tragedy.” Uh oh. Davis pushed further, “Is it someone we love?” And Gabaldon said a fan had asked her to describe book 9 in five words or less. So she said, “He’s still alive.” Then she said Jamie is indeed alive. And then when Gabaldon confirmed she specifically didn’t say Claire is alive, how did Davis react to this news: “I’m nervous and sweaty.” Yes, Maril, you are us, we are you. Make it stop.
My take. Claire is safe (ish). She might be 400 years in the future and separated from Jamie (AGAIN), but she’s alive. That’s all I am saying. (I actually know nothing). Listen, we all know Jamie and Claire have to die at some point, we just don’t want to see it. K? And if they die, they will die together, within 30 seconds of each other, Romeo and Juliet style. Twitter fan @KiltyMind suggested as much. “Claire and Jamie MUST die TOGETHER at exactly the same time!!”
Gabaldon is working on four Outlander books with a broken arm
We learned immediately that Gabaldon types with two hands while in a sling, and she seems to be working on no less than 4 books at a time. She’s giving us the Jamie and Claire content we need. Writing with a semi-broken arm, that is true commitment. (But don’t kill Claire with either of those hands).
Davis revealed how nervous she was to meet Gabaldon the first time because she was such a book fan. She then asked Gabaldon, “Do you picture Sam and Caitríona when you write?” Gabaldon said she doesn’t see Balfe and Heughan when she writes Claire and Jamie. Balfe and Heughan have also said they don’t picture each other. Okay, I have a question, who is everyone picturing then? Who? Tell me.
Maril Davis is a Jamie and Claire fan first
For Davis, watching Jamie and Claire fall in love in season one was her favorite time in the show. “The first season was magic,” to see a couple fall in love for the first time. “It’s hard to capture that moment again.”
How the show has diverged from the books
Davis revealed that occasionally the show will diverge slightly from the books. In Season 5, they changed a big storyline by having Murtagh live on. How did Gabaldon feel about that? She wasn’t thrilled. But then Davis explained, they felt Jamie needed someone besides Claire to confide in. “Claire will always be his first go to,” but Jamie needed Murtagh.
Davis asked Gabaldon who is currently writing the ninth book in the Outlander series and if she’s started writing book ten — Gabaldon admitted she’s written pieces of it and has also started the Outlander prequel about Jamie’s parents.
Sam Heughan and Caitríona Balfe’s chemistry
As we all know, Outlander’s show magic is founded upon Balfe and Heughan’s chemistry. Davis dropped a little behind the scenes intel about that infamous chemistry test between Balfe and Heughan. In the video, you can see they had immediate chemistry, especially for being complete strangers. Davis revealed what happened when Balfe walked into the room and met Heughan. “They kind of instantly got along, it felt like they’d known each other for years.”
Gabaldon reiterated she has the closest relationship with Heughan and Balfe. Heughan will call her at the beginning of each season to find out where Jamie is at, and she does a JAMMF “brain dump.”
Gabaldon’s favorite book moment
That moment in Season 1 where Claire arrives at Castle Leoch for the first time and is caring for Jamie. That is Gabaldon’s favorite moment. Because just look at it, it’s actual perfection. In the books and on the show.
And Davis’s favorite moment was the first footage she ever saw of the show, when Claire goes through the stones for the first time. She revealed that when Balfe filmed those iconic scenes at the stones, they didn’t have a wind machine. But every time they started filming, it would magically get windy.
Davis asked Gabaldon, who’s written scripts for the show, including Season 5’s “Journeycake,” if she finds it more difficult to write a script. Gabaldon said scripts are easier, though more collaborative. As for her book writing practices, she usually writes in the middle of the night, and her husband Doug reads her chapters in the morning. Davis asked if they ever argue about what she writes? Gabaldon says he knows the characters well too, so it’s rare. (Ooh Doug knows. Blink twice if Claire’s okay).
Did Bree shoot Bonnet out of pity or revenge?
Davis and Gabaldon answered a few fan questions, the first of which was did Bree shoot Bonnet out of pity or revenge? Davis reveals they left it ambiguous intentionally. But she personally feels it was a little of both. Gabaldon said she thought it was mercy. And Skelton clued us in when she spoke to us exclusively back in May).
Who wore it best? Jamie or Claire?
Asked what their favorite costumes are, Davis and Gabaldon revealed they both love Jamie’s kilts, but Davis loved his overcoat and Claire’s blue sweater at the end of the Season 5 finale. Gabaldon echoed this and said Jamie’s look when he goes to save Claire in the finale was her favorite.
Davis dropped a funny behind the scenes story about that infamous Bree vs. the buffalo scene. Turns out a crew member dressed up as the buffalo and Skelton was chased by him. Davis said she doesn’t know how Skelton kept a straight face, but she didn’t break or laugh. Seems like she doesn’t take after her on-screen mom. Balfe is a self-described notorious corpser. (That’s a British theater word for unintentionally laughing a lot. You’re welcome, dropping a little world knowledge here for you). This outtake and four exclusive never before seen scenes will be on the Season 5 DVD
. This episode also contained a special sneak peek of a scene that never aired between Ulysses and Murtagh. It’s a tense scene with two boys who love them some Jocasta.
About Jamie’s ghost….
In the first episode of Outlander, Frank sees a man looking up at Claire in the window. Gabaldon confirms that was indeed Jamie’s ghost. And how he got there and why is the last thing that will be revealed in the last book. (PSA: Outlander is not allowed to end).
What’s Coming Up Next?
Next week’s episode on Sunday, August 30 will feature fan favorites Lauren Lyle (Marsali) and John Bell (Young Ian) and the author of the Outlander Kitchen cookbook series. We did say we would literally eat up any Outlander content they served, and now it seems like we can do just that. Give us some Jamie and Claire cupcakes. (I actually would like to see these, and the Outlander fandom and cast is totally capable of making them, as evidenced by the great Outlander bake off back in March. Our money is on Tim Downie (Gov. Tryon) whipping these up.
Sunday, September 6th – “Sing me a song of a show that is gone…. (for way too long).” Outlander’s music composer Bear McCreary, singer Raya Yarbrough, and Maria Doyle Kennedy (Aunt Jocasta) sing it up in this special episode.
Sunday, September 13th – Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heughan chat it up Zoom style in this final, special episode to coincide with the Season 5 DVD release that comes out September 15th, which you can pre-order here
For those of you looking for other Outlander content, Balfe and Heughan have both been doing IG Lives about books and booze. Yes, correct, Jamie and Claire are readers and like alcohol. Sometimes together. Balfe just released her new gin, Forget Me Not, to benefit the arts. She also hosts a monthly book club, where readers enjoy books that cover a lot of tough material. She hosts an IG Live to discuss the book with fans. If you’re looking for easy beach reads, this isn’t the book club for you. Balfe admits she likes books with a dark subject matter. She’s sort of like if your literature teacher drank a gin and tonic and made you talk about books. Learning is fun people. And Professor Balfe likes to drink during class.
Heughan and former co-star Graham McTavish released their book, “Clanlands.”
And Heughan is often on IG Live sippin’ on his Sassenach whiskey and chatting about their book, which will also be a show on Starz, Men in Kilts.
Tim Downie (Gov. Tryon) and David Berry (Lord John Grey) host an Outlander podcast, which Balfe recently appeared on and they re-enacted Season one’s infamous fight scene between Jamie and Claire. Except, Balfe directed and Downie played Jamie and Berry played Claire. And it was legendary.
So the first episode of Outlander’s Summer Series delivered the perfect amount of panic and joy that we expect from this show. (Whispers: Don’t kill Claire).
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Before you go, click here to see the all-time best Outlander episodes you’ll want to re-watch.