What Ron D. Moore changed (and kept) in the Outlander TV seriesS

At New York Comic-Con, Ron D. Moore shared the first change he's going to make to his TV adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. But trust us, it's a good thing.

Starz showed off the very first images of the new time-traveling romance series Outlander yesterday at NYCC; sadly, there wasn't any footage because the crew just started filming a few months ago. But the audience was treated to a foggy look at the mist-covered hills of Scotland along with plenty of shots of Highlanders wielding swords, tartan, and the first clip of Claire Randall Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) interacting (sadly not in character).

Moore and Gabaldon then showed off a collection of concept art showing the castles from the novel either in working condition (in the past) or in decay (in the 1940s). If you don't already know, Outlander's basic plot follows World War II field nurse Randall (a married woman) as she's swept back into 1743, when she meets the very sexy Scottish warrior Jamie Fraser. Time-traveling love triangle y'all.

What Ron D. Moore changed (and kept) in the Outlander TV seriesS

So while there were sadly no clips to show, I can say that everything looked impressively green and magical. Thankfully, more was revealed during the Q&A portion of the panel (which was impressively MUCH more about fawning over Diana Gabaldon than Moore). Here's what we learned.

  • Moore is approaching Outlander in a completely different way from how he approached Battlestar Galactica. BSG was a total and complete makeover. He went into that series knowing he was going to reboot the entire series. Outlander is not that kind of assignment. In fact, very little of it had to be changed or was changed. Plus, his wife (who introduced him to the series) is a die-hard fan and won't let him change a thing.
  • Gabaldon's is most excited to see the recreation of the wedding night (aren't we all). The actors actually had to audition using dialogue from after the wedding night, and she said it was very intense to watch the tapes. Gabaldon admitted she was excited to see what came "before."
  • There will be 16 episodes (each one hour long), and it will cover the entire book. There are no plans to make the second (yet). But they didn't want to get ahead of themselves.
  • Beloved characters like Black Jack (played by Tobias Menzies) will get expanded on screen. Moore explained that this is because a funny moment that might only be a few sentences in the book might need a little fleshing out to set it up. He's ready to milk the good moments. And there's probably more Black Jack in the series than in the book. However, they won't be cutting to Black Jack's point of view or anything like that. The crowd was pretty excited about this.
  • On the flip side, some things had to be cut. Gabaldon explained that the opening scene of the series had to be changed from the opening scene of the book. And this was what Moore pitched to her: Instead of starting with a walk through the forest, the series would start with a two-minute prologue where we see Claire during World War II in the military putting people back together. And she thought that was a great idea; in fact it was that small change that lead Gabaldon to think that Moore would be a "responsible curator" of the subject material.
  • Flashbacks will be used throughout the series to establish Claire's marriage.
  • When Claire and Frank are in the Scottish Islands on their second honeymoon one thing they didn't show was if they went to the ruins of the castle before Claire was sent back in time. So when she's sent back, she's seen the castle from the book in decay in her present days.

Photos by Matt Sayles c/o Starz Entertainment.