Jul 25 2014 7:45pm

The First Outlander Trailer and Other Highlights from the SDCC Panel

Outlander trailer SDCC San Diego Comic-Con panel highlights Sam Heughan Caitriona Balfe Diana Gabaldon Jamie Fraser Claire Randall

Confession: I didn’t know much about Outlander until very recently. And even once I picked up the main facts—Diana Gabaldon’s historical fiction series about a 1940s nurse who falls back in time to 1743 Scotland and falls in love with a highlander—I still didn’t get all of the allure.

Now, having glimpsed the fandom at San Diego Comic Con, and having seen the first trailer, I do.

Starz was incredibly savvy in how they brought their TV adaptation of the series to SDCC: They had volunteers running around in kilts; released cheeky posters with taglines like “The Kilt Drops” and “Summer of Sassenach”; and they actually brought a castle to the convention center.

And of course, there was the Outlander panel, with author Diana Gabaldon, series creator Ronald D. Moore (yep, the man behind Battlestar Galactica), and stars Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, among others. Here are the highlights:

  • Moore came out on stage—wearing a kilt. Points for immersion!
  • Scotsman Heughan (Jamie Fraser) says he’s delighted to return to Scotland, calling the country “its own character in the show.”
  • He also gave Gaelic lessons to the audience at the start of the panel.
  • To that end... “Big sections of the story are in Gaelic,” Moore explained. “There are no subtitles because Claire doesn’t understand it.” I love when shows do this.
  • When casting, the producers assumed that it would take forever to find their Jamie, but that they’d have a Claire in no time. Turns out the reverse was true! Moore called it “a great Scarlett O’Hara” search for their leading lady, adding that Balfe’s audition tape was “such an amazing thing.”
  • If given the chance, Heughan would travel back in time to the 1950s, thanks to his love of the Back to the Future films. Or does that mean he’d want to go to the 1980s...?
  • Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie) is another kilt fanatic, saying, “I just wish that we dressed like that now.”
  • Heughan hasn’t yet filmed all of his scenes with Tobias Menzies, who plays both Claire’s husband Frank in 1945 and his 18th-century ancestor “Black Jack” Randall. Considering that the two men literally fight over Claire time and again, we don’t blame them for working up to it.
  • When Gabaldon told George R.R. Martin that Outlander was getting 16 episodes, he responded, “What? They only gave me 10!”
  • She and Moore seem to have worked together wonderfully in adapting her books and respecting each other as different sorts of writers. “[He] is in charge and a very capable artist,” she said. “It’s artistic respect. He respects me, and I respect him.”
  • “I don’t think of it as a man or woman’s show,” Moore said. “People will fall in love with it because it’s a great tale.”
  • McTavish closed the panel the only appropriate way, echoing Heughan at the start—by declaring “Long live the Stuarts!” in Gaelic.

And here’s the trailer!

“Let’s try not to get flogged or stabbed today.”
“No promises, sassenach.”

Yep, count me as a convert. I can’t wait for Outlander’s premiere on August 9.

Photo: Starz

k blodgett
1. k blodgett
I've read the whole series through 4 times, 8books. 700+ pages, and that's not my Claire and Jamie. Not going to bother. I see it in my head, and I don't want to rung that image.
Dominic van Berkel
2. Barometz
"This video is not available" :( but fortunately there's a whole playlist of trailers that certainly has me curious. I never read any of this, and might just start.
k blodgett
3. cytherea
I've also read through the whole series repeatedly -- at least four times, though I haven't exactly kept count. I will definitely watch it. It's not how I pictured Jamie (I pictured his hair redder, among other things), but the amount of respect they're showing the original series makes me think they'll do a great job with it.
k blodgett
4. maria rose
The fact that these books are going to screen is awesome. I am quite confident that the adapation will satisfy all of us fans. I have read all the books plus I have watched and owned the full set of Battlestar Galactica so I know the series creator will follow and enhance the story from the books properly
Rob Munnelly
5. RobMRobM
Watched the first episode on demand on Saturday. Really nice piece of work that maintains and enhances the spirit of the book. I'd give it an A- at least.

Writing was strong, acting was strong (Catriona Balfe was very good, Tobias Menzies was expectedly great as Claire's husband, Frank, and in his other less friendly role), cinematography and set design was amazing. My only flaw was what I viewed as an overuse of Claire's voice over. A little went a long way, and they relied on it about 25% too much for my taste. Very excited for Ep. 2 a week from Saturday. Team Laoghaire!

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