“Outlander” lovebirds Jamie and Claire went through a whole lot in Season 1 of Starz’s adaptation of the Diana Gabaldon novel series, and they’re in for even more.
As the show prepares to premiere its second season, star Sam Heughan talked to TheWrap about returning to filming, Jamie’s head space after the traumatic events of Season 1, and what sorts of changes had to be made to accommodate the increasingly complex timelines of the books.
“I was very excited to go back, very ready to go back, and then all of a sudden we were hit with this world where we didn’t know where we were,” he said. “It’s fantastic to be thrust into this world, like, oh my god, who are these people, what is this world? Jamie and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) have to find their way in this Parisian world and try to understand how they fit in. It was unsettling and great, because that’s sort of exactly what Jamie and Claire were feeling on the inside.”
Where do we find Jamie when we come back in Season 2?
it’s pretty much a week after he escaped Wentworth. He’s relieved to be alive. He’s actually excited by the fact that he’s now an expectant father. He’s gotten away, he’s with his wife and he’s safe in this new world. It’s all going to work, he’s got a plan and they’re going to put it into action.
Physically he’s getting better but mentally, he’s actually still suffering from the effects [of the Season 1 finale]. He doesn’t talk about it, he bottles it up, but at some point it does come out that he’s still being plagued by those events and he needs to deal with it.
What was it like getting back into that head space?
That passage of time and being in a different place … Time is a good healer. Jamie is used to everything that’s happened to him, physically, but he’s never dealt with it mentally before, like this. He’s not aware of what he should do about it, so he thrusts himself into this world but kind of burning the candle at both ends. So he’s trying not to think about it, but ultimately it pulls him and Claire further and further apart and ultimately, it becomes something they need to deal with.
This season deals more with actual historical events so how much research did you do?
Yes, I researched Colladon and all that, it’s a big part of our history that all Scots know about. It’s part of our heritage, our culture. The Skye Boat song, I was brought up singing that at school, I know it inside out. It’s like, “Oh really, that song again?” It’s part of our culture, so it was so exciting to get the opportunity to film all that, put that on camera. When we were shooting that stuff, all our extras were so enthusiastic about it, they were all excited to be a part of it because it was a big part of our history.
How far are you in reading the books?
We’re only reading them as we go along. I’ll read the whole book before we shoot anything so we know what we’re doing, and we’ll go back to them to refresh ourselves and there’s always good stuff in them, there are things you can put things into the show and just help, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves so I haven’t read the third book yet.
Showrunner Ron Moore has talked about having to make some changes this season. Were you surprised by the way he changed certain things from the book?
If we go into Season 3, at the end of Season 2 there are some big jumps in timeline and I think that’s terrific. That’s more about being a part of a show about time travel or about time and it’s going to be really fascinating to see characters from where they are, where they go and who they’ve become.
“Outlander” Season 2 premieres at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 9 on Starz.