Starz’ time-travel romance Outlander isn’t going to start like Diana Gabaldon’s beloved novel.
Showrunner Ron Moore pitched Gabaldon on a different opening, the author revealed at the show’s Television Critics Association press tour panel in Pasadena on Friday. Gabaldon said the show will open with Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) during World War II. The show will open with a two-minute prologue set in a field hospital with Claire “in her element” as a wartime nurse. “You need to appreciate her immediately,” Gabaldon recalled Moore pitching. “It shows her being the competent and resilient person that she is.”
Another critic asked if a pivotal scene from the book where — spoiler alert — Claire is harshly physically punished by her lover Jamie (Sam Heughan).
“It’s in the book and it’s in the show,” said Moore, who wore a kilt to the panel. “It’s certainly an explosive scene. It hasn’t been shot yet, it’s down the road a bit. It’s a shocking moment, but its an important part of the development of the characters and we’re going to go for it.”
A critic referred to the scene as Jamie “beating the crap” out of Claire, and Gabaldon clarified: “Her spanks her bottom with his sword belt and she doesn’t like it.” Moore then added: “Everybody was in mortal danger due to something she did specifically — in Jamie’s world, there’s a cost to that.”
Gabaldon charmed the critics, with one of my colleagues praising her as the “anti-Stephenie Meyer.” Asked if there are male Outlander fans, Gabaldon said, “There are several but they tend not to stand out in the street with signs and T-shirts.” And when discussing fan appreciation for Claire and Jamie, she explained, “They want to meet Claire; they want to lick him.”
For more, check out our interview with Moore.