So with the gripping finale behind us, let’s pull back the curtain on how the latest chapter of the Frasers' story came to life.
The journey really began in the spring of 2016, when the Outlander writers’ room gathered to begin “breaking” the season — a process in which the staff plots out the narrative for the coming year as a team, starting with the big, tentpole moments from Diana Gabaldon’s books (in this case, Voyager, the third novel in her ongoing Outlander series) which shape the overall arc, then figuring out what else needs to happen to get our characters from point A to point B each week.
“I think it surprises people that end of March, beginning of April was the first time we had a completed episode done,” Davis says of episode 301.
“We started shooting that in August of last year.” A couple of days after filming the finale’s last scene on the beach, Balfe is back at Cape Town Film Studios, Outlander’s home away from home for the past three months, where she’s spending the day facing off against Claire’s old nemesis, Geillis, played by Lotte Verbeek.
“The idea for the storm and the chase preceded the script.
Storyboards went into the script, rather than the other way around.”My first day on set, while Balfe and Heughan are rolling around in the sand in the middle of the South African winter (it’s sunny, but there’s a distinctly Scottish nip in the air, and unlike the soggy stars, the crew are snugly wrapped in puffy jackets and hats), I duck into a cozy tent to catch up with executive producer Maril Davis, who flew in the day before and is just as jetlagged as I am.
For a moment, she doesn’t stir, then a wracking cough shakes her body, and relief blooms on his face.
They’re both weak, but they find their way into each other’s arms as if magnetized, momentarily oblivious to the three well-dressed strangers approaching them, carrying news that will change their lives.
He’s fed up, and this is what’s culminating in it now: he’s going to gut her if he gets the chance," says John Bell of Young Ian's relationship with Geillis.
"He’s conflicted because he knows that this woman is not who she says she is, she’s playing a game with him, but he’s also a hormonal, sexually active teenager. '" “That's a very extensive shoot; it's extensive visual effects, so we had to make the choice: Do we want to see Captain Leonard on the Porpoise chasing Jamie?
“To give the book readers a surprise, you shuffle things around a little bit and you give them something they want, but just not the way they expected it.” After the outline phase, the showrunner, network, studio, and other writers give notes on anything that they think needs changing, and the scribes incorporate those ideas when creating the first draft of the script.
Most scripts will go through several revisions to address further notes, plus a pass from the showrunner — who may make slight amendments or basically rewrite the whole script, at their discretion — before a production draft is locked.
And because the writers knew that the season was building towards the same dramatic climax that ends Gabaldon’s book, the production was able to plan accordingly.