“Outlander” fans will have to get used to changes from the books. Many viewers watching the finale noticed that the writers chose to make some different choices regarding the timeline and the location, although the Starz time travel drama kept the same basic plot from Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling novels. Executive producer Ron Moore explained that these were necessary for the television adaptation, and he noted that these won’t be the last changes fans see.
In the “Outlander” Season 1 finale, Jamie (Sam Heughan) was rescued and taken to an abbey in Scotland with Claire (Caitriona Balfe). In the books, the abbey was in France and Jamie had weeks to recover from Black Jack Randall’s (Tobias Menzies) brutal torture and rape. However, the TV show wanted more immediacy in the storyline.
"In television terms, I felt that it would be better if the abbey remained in Scotland so you still had the tension of, 'Are they going to get away or not?' which could still be hovering over them,” Moore explained to E! Online. “And it also meant that all the events were much, much closer, that they had just happened instead of many weeks later. And then it also just provided us of a way of getting that romantic big image of being out of the ocean and ‘I'm pregnant' and all that happening at the end.”
However, slowing down the timeline also meant that a love scene with Jamie and Claire had to be cut. Gabaldon wrote a sex scene in the novel that took place in natural hot water springs. Director Anna Foerester revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the scene felt out of place because Jamie had just been raped. “I also think that events just were too close to what had just happened [to set the stage for a love scene], because the monastery was not in France and weeks away,” Foerester said. “It was so much more imminent, so I think maybe that played a role [in omitting that scene] as well.”
Moore also explained that it was just too complicated to film. A water tank would’ve been built and they would’ve had to use special effects. “That water scene was just one of those things in film and television production that’s just really difficult to do,” he said. “It just wasn’t in the cards for us to do that whole scene in the water.”
While the changes to “Outlander” Season 1 were relatively minor, audiences might have to get used to changes from the books. Moore hinted that Season 2, which will be an adaptation of the second novel in Gabaldon's series, "Dragonfly in Amber," would be harder to translate to the screen.
“There will be twists and turns that aren’t in the book,” Moore warned Deadline. “The second book is more complex than the first book is. It’s a little tougher challenge to adapt it. It takes place in France and it deals with the Jacobite Rebellion. It’s much more political, it weaves in and out of actual historical events. There’s more complexity, just in terms of how Diana structured the story in Paris, in particular, as Jamie and Claire try to change history.”
“Outlander” will return for Season 2, but Starz has not announced a premiere date yet. How do you feel about changes to the books? Sound off in the comments section below!