News

Outlander Stars Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan Reveal 10 Things to Know About Season 3

The stars and executive producer of the time-traveling Starz historical romance hint at what's to come in the new season.

by | September 7, 2017 | Comments

Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan in Outlander (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

Romance, drama, swordplay, and time travel are the principal components of Starz’s hit series Outlander, which is based on Diana Gabaldon’s popular novels. The show starts its third season on Sunday, after two Certified Fresh seasons that have brought its series score to an impressive 94% on the Tomatometer. And the early reviews for season 3 are glowing: “TV’s best romance, soars by making you fall in love with it all over again,” writes Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff Jensen.

Eager to hear what the new season has in store, Rotten Tomatoes caught up with the cast on set — stars Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Laura Donnelly, Steven Cree, Nell Hudson, and more.

The new season kicks off with Claire (Balfe) and Jamie (Heughan) separated by time and space with pregnant Claire in 1940s America, and Jamie back in 1740s Scotland. Here’s what the cast and executive producer Matthew B. Roberts said fans can expect when the Droughtlander ends on September 10.


1. Claire searches desperately to find Jamie in the past

Richard Rankin, Caitriona Balfe, Sophie Skelton in season 3 of Outlander (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

 “There’s a while [in season 3] where they’re trying to investigate how far past Culloden did [Jamie] live and where would he be if he was still alive?” Balfe said of Claire in the 1960s.

But the investigation does at least give viewers a lot of good Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) scenes — Roger in particular dives head first into the historical research, not only because he’s interested in Bree, but also because he really needs this in life.

“He’s just lost the reverend, so there’s a void to be filled for Roger,” Rankin said in a later by phone. “He’s quite lonely when you find him … and all the ingredients come at Roger in this whirlwind of drama — he just kind of grabs it with both hands. He’s aware of the stones, he’s aware of the rumors of time-travel, so even just the idea that any of that might have even a hint of truth to it is enough to get Roger excited and invested in it. It’s a history project for him, trying to find this mythological creature Jamie Fraser.”


2. Jamie has a tough go of it in the 1700s

Sam Heughan in Outlander season 3 (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

“Jamie has lost Claire, he’s sent her back to the future [laughs], and he goes to battle thinking he’s got only one thing left to do and that’s to die by the side of his men,” Heughan said. “He doesn’t expect to survive, so when he does it’s a bit of a shock to him and then going through the next few episodes, we see the effect that has on him, living without Claire, him recovering fromthe trauma of the battle, but sort of losing his life [in losing Claire].

“Season 3 is about discovery, because he’s lost Claire and he goes through some quite dark moments,” Heughan continued. “It takes some quite big things to happen to his extended family for him to realize he has people to live for. He also has to go through the stages of grief for losing Claire — from loss and anger to ultimately acceptance.”

Executive producer Roberts added, “That’s their journey in the first half of the season … their journey is to find their own lives without each other while they mourn each other the entire time of being apart.”


3. Claire and Frank’s relationship is damaged

Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies in season 3 of Outlander (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

Back in the 1940s, Claire and Frank (Menzies) try to make their marriage work for the sake of their unborn baby, but it’s not easy.

“We find them struggling to make a new life together, struggling to rebuild things, despite the commitment they made to each other. That [struggle] is temporarily broken, maybe relieved, by the arrival of Brianna,” Menzies revealed. “Claire does not love Frank like she used to — there’s no getting away from that. But hopefully if we get it right, it’s full of regret and sadness. Two very well-intentioned people failing to reach each other — that’s the tragedy of it.”

Asked if Frank ever truly believes Claire’s story about time travel, Menzies said he doesn’t think so.

“I think he chooses to accept the story that she tells because he loves her, because he wants to move forward with his life. But that’s an emotional decision, it’s not logical,” he said. “He probably just goes, I either just walk away from this, or if I stay — he has to just draw a line. I think he buries it.”


4. Black Jack Randall returns

Tobias Menzies, Sam Heughan in season 3 of Outlander (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

Roberts tells us that it was important to the creators of the show to see the Battle of Culloden on screen, even though it is not a large part of the book. But they wanted to “show Jamie’s plight” and that all starts with Culloden — and another gripping face-to-face with Black Jack Randall (Menzies).

Heughan said of the showdown between Black Jack Randall and Jamie, “It’s been a remarkable journey for Jamie. It’s an interesting first few episodes.”


5. And we may not have seen the last of Murtagh

Duncan Lacroix in Outlander season 2 (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

The writers have definitely heard the fans about keeping Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) alive after Culloden, Roberts said. The EP revealed nothing about the character’s reappearance, but he did say that kind of decision has big story implications.

“This is the difference between a book and film. We bring characters in and then they live and breathe, where in the book you can kill that guy and bring another guy in, because the reader reads the character and they fill in all the gaps,” Roberts said. “In the books, Murtagh is not very big. He’s there, but he’s not as big as he is in our story. We have received tons of letters and social media saying please keep him alive, but if that happens, what happens to the characters that come after? Do you just get rid of them? There are story implications.”


6. Brianna influences Claire’s decision on whether to go back

Sophie Skelton in Outlander season 2 (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

“It’s a difficult decision for [Claire], because if she decides to go back to [Jamie], that means saying goodbye to her daughter, probably forever,” Balfe said. “It’s not something she takes lightly; it’s quite a tough choice. But Brianna is instrumental in pushing her to go and telling her that she has sacrificed her own personal happiness for 20 years to raise [Brianna] and now it’s [Claire’s] time to go back and find happiness and love again, which is a huge sacrifice for a daughter to make for her. It’s quite sweet.”

Skelton added, “What’s nice in season 3 is you actually start to see Bree and Claire as equals. There’s less of the mother-daughter relationship and more of Bree growing up a little bit and more of that equality of respect between them. You have this grown woman, Claire, who is feeling really anxious about going back to see this man that she’s been holding on a pedestal for 20 years, and Bree saying it’s OK. It’s almost this naivety to Claire, this innocence, where she’s almost like a teenager panicking over seeing this boy again and will he find her attractive and all of these things and so it was really nice to switch that around and have Brianna be almost the adult to Claire and say, ‘It’s OK, you have to go back.’”


7. The reunion is everything you hope it will be

Balfe said that Claire goes in with a lot of nervousness because she and Jamie have been apart for so long.

“It’s really interesting to try and imagine all of the expectations someone would have after 20 years,” Balfe said. “Here’s somebody that she’s had on a pedestal for so long, and what’s really interesting is how do these two people who revered each other for so long in sort of a dreamlike sense, how do they remove all of that and get to know each other again in reality, fall in love again with the people that they are, because obviously things will have changed an awful lot for both of them in 20 years.

“So there will be the fantasy of what they both expect and then there will be the reality,” she said, “so I think it’ll be really interesting to see how that plays.”


8. But there’s family drama

Laura Donnelly, Steven Cree in Outlander season 1 (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

Let’s just say Jamie’s family might not be as happy as he is to see Claire.

“From Jenny’s point of view, she’s seen how Jamie has suffered in those 20 years and when Claire comes back there’s not much explanation offered — not a realistic explanation offered — as to why she’s been away,” Donnelly revealed, “so any protective sister is not necessarily going to be very understanding of a woman who seems to have abandoned her brother, broken his heart and left him to live a half-life for 20 years, so Jenny’s not the most sympathetic of characters. But over the course of the episode that Claire comes back in, Jenny gradually finds a way of making some peace with that, but I think it’s difficult.”

Cree added, “In this instance you kind of get a glimpse of Jenny and Ian being on the same side for a change, Ian backing Jenny up. Because it’s proceeded by young Ian being in Edinburgh with Claire and Jamie, then Ian is actually, unusually for him, quite angry — I don’t know if angry’s necessarily the word, but disappointed.

“Ian’s happy for Claire to be back for Jamie because Ian ultimately always wants Jamie to be happy and seeing how hard it’s been for him, it’s definitely mixed feelings. Mixed feelings would be the short answer there.”


9. Laoghaire is a problem

Nell Hudson in Outlander season 2 (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

Laoghaire (Nell Hudson) comes roaring back in season 3 in her old familiar way: as a foil for Claire.

No spoilers, but Hudson said when she learned of Laoghaire’s big role in book 3, she was super excited, but added that she eventually realized the relationship dynamics at play are more complicated than she originally thought.

“Laoghaire has rather let herself go,” she said, and despite her initial enthusiasm, “it’s actually a lot funnier than I thought it was going to be.”

Funny-sad, that is, not funny–ha-ha. She was disappointed not to get to wear a fat suit, but she does reveal that Laoghaire has a pretty awesome wig.

“I’m aged up, but I’m not in a fat suit — I thought that would’ve been great,” Hudson said. “I’ve got a wig, I’m actually wearing Mrs. Fitz’s wig from season 1. I’m growing into my granny, I’ve become her.”


10. Laoghaire and Claire have an epic showdown

Caitriona Balfe, Nell Hudson in Outlander (Starz)

(Photo by Starz)

Claire’s return to Lallybroch sets up a showdown that Hudson says was a lot of fun to film.

“[Laoghaire’s] being punched in the gut when she finds out Claire’s back,” Hudson said. “I think she loathes her because think of what Laoghaire’s been through at this point in that she’s lost two men — she’s had two different children by two different men, both of them have died and she’s on her own, a single mum, and in these times that’s appalling.”

Without spoiling the drama to come, we’ll just note that Claire (again) throws a big wrench in Laoghaire’s hopes for happiness.

Hudson added, “I get to call Claire the c-word … That was quite fun. I really relished it in the scene. It’s not a nice word to say in real life, but in the scene she really means it, and it’s kind of the right word for the moment.”

Outlander season 3 premieres Sunday, September 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.



Tag Cloud

Peacock Image Comics Spring TV 2017 Alien Animation worst Thanksgiving Teen SXSW 2018 Binge Guide dramedy Set visit kong PlayStation Ghostbusters Trailer Endgame toy story MTV Apple dogs Amazon Studios ViacomCBS AMC Oscars police drama what to watch godzilla festival slasher Shondaland fast and furious Best and Worst series mockumentary TBS Red Carpet green book medical drama Interview Ovation FX Wes Anderson free movies Tokyo Olympics The CW cancelled TV series composers Lionsgate trailers Grammys theme song Academy Awards Starz Biopics 21st Century Fox romantic comedy OWN stand-up comedy 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards quibi Drama TCA Disney+ Disney Plus award winner canceled young adult festivals documentaries suspense A24 Lifetime book book adaptation screen actors guild discovery Emmys Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Britbox Discovery Channel 99% Martial Arts TV movies christmas movies Creative Arts Emmys Song of Ice and Fire GLAAD richard e. Grant streaming ITV Tubi RT History latino Disney streaming service ABC Family zero dark thirty rt labs critics edition 2021 spanish language Musicals Awards Walt Disney Pictures jamie lee curtis gangster cancelled television witnail crossover FOX Sundance Now political drama Rock child's play strong female leads TCA Awards nature japanese football Summer GIFs blockbusters spain justice league critic resources Trivia Freeform IFC Films renewed TV shows video independent Mary Tyler Moore Fall TV dceu Disney Dark Horse Comics laika Mystery natural history The Academy Crunchyroll Sony Pictures wonder woman TV Land Pop TV breaking bad docudrama Hulu hidden camera Sci-Fi legend serial killer game of thrones TruTV Comedy Central emmy awards Music Holidays BAFTA period drama IFC comic new star wars movies The Arrangement ABC japan Awards Tour french Sundance Elton John CMT politics 24 frames new york ID golden globes Comic-Con@Home 2021 FX on Hulu Amazon Prime Video Reality Competition streaming movies adventure Pirates Action psychological thriller Avengers basketball VOD nfl A&E 2016 Christmas science fiction Cartoon Network franchise marvel comics spinoff 90s RT21 disaster comics BBC One unscripted based on movie Valentine's Day facebook news know your critic TCM Rom-Com Mary poppins Pixar TCA Winter 2020 Calendar social media sitcom adaptation historical drama See It Skip It Comics on TV best Netflix Christmas movies biography Rocky archives name the review comiccon Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt BET Awards ghosts movies comic book movies Paramount Plus E! canceled TV shows Year in Review Infographic saw YouTube Premium worst movies Captain marvel reboot Nickelodeon Comic Book TV renewals satire hollywood Travel Channel President Extras Podcast video on demand finale stop motion Columbia Pictures biopic Hallmark Christmas movies universal monsters comedies Tomatazos History WGN CBS All Access travel Ellie Kemper Arrowverse concert Musical Baby Yoda DirecTV aliens cops DC Universe sequels DC streaming service PaleyFest Amazon Pop USA Network Comedy zombies spy thriller ABC Signature singing competition Mindy Kaling sports robots Vudu Netflix live action Nat Geo tv talk National Geographic TCA 2017 mcc Countdown Logo boxing twilight ratings Classic Film CBS die hard Television Academy X-Men The Purge Universal Certified Fresh 45 dexter Western spanish The Walking Dead Marathons Showtime TNT MSNBC aapi talk show YouTube Red posters American Society of Cinematographers toronto Syfy werewolf Spectrum Originals war Warner Bros. films First Look australia Star Trek new zealand scene in color casting revenge Adult Swim Quiz OneApp Stephen King Winners hispanic heritage month TIFF docuseries international NYCC zombie Cosplay comic books SundanceTV Black Mirror venice technology women San Diego Comic-Con Premiere Dates obituary 4/20 children's TV superman Trophy Talk BBC America Horror indie Photos 2015 teaser Character Guide deadpool harry potter Superheroes cats LGBT Turner Classic Movies animated all-time SDCC Election kids sequel Lifetime Christmas movies cars YouTube Apple TV+ critics crime Pet Sematary heist movie Sundance TV Disney Channel Chernobyl Heroines mutant Tumblr E3 foreign Holiday documentary olympics PBS Fantasy crime thriller El Rey NBA Food Network spider-man crime drama Country cancelled joker Film Festival Super Bowl CW Seed YA blockbuster Exclusive Video south america italian fresh Crackle The Witch rt labs binge cinemax dark TV Pacific Islander diversity halloween LGBTQ Fox News Apple TV Plus BBC doctor who criterion NBC anime dragons black chucky Hear Us Out Writers Guild of America cults 2020 MCU superhero popular Reality halloween tv TV One USA TLC Legendary Watching Series vampires a nightmare on elm street boxoffice true crime DGA HBO Max indiana jones rotten movies we love 73rd Emmy Awards First Reviews versus game show Paramount Network VH1 remakes royal family Mary Poppins Returns miniseries rt archives parents scary movies Sneak Peek Lucasfilm Fox Searchlight FXX Anna Paquin Box Office blaxploitation thriller king kong Shudder VICE Nominations golden globe awards 20th Century Fox james bond 93rd Oscars Turner directors Masterpiece television Disney Plus Schedule Superheroe Toys target HBO Go high school HBO rom-coms 71st Emmy Awards CNN stoner Acorn TV 1990s Family feel good asian-american slashers marvel cinematic universe hispanic jurassic park GoT Marvel Film Winter TV New York Comic Con Star Wars Cannes reviews Polls and Games WarnerMedia anthology telelvision prank Spike The Walt Disney Company 2019 cooking Bravo DC Comics APB Pride Month sag awards Television Critics Association psycho comic book movie space Amazon Prime Emmy Nominations adenture Black History Month screenings Epix 72 Emmy Awards Mudbound action-comedy Broadway Funimation Esquire king arthur BET rotten debate Marvel Television Video Games nbcuniversal mission: impossible scorecard supernatural pirates of the caribbean razzies Marvel Studios Women's History Month ESPN 007 batman cartoon hist cancelled TV shows transformers lord of the rings Rocketman Tarantino Opinion elevated horror dc kaiju Kids & Family monster movies romance Brie Larson movie Hallmark classics Paramount