It can be very painful for a book fan to see a story changed for presentation on-screen. Many “Outlander” viewers love the Diana Gabaldon-penned novels on which Starz’s time-travel television drama is based, but they weren’t thrilled when they heard that Season 2 would change many aspects of the books. However, it appears Gabaldon is just fine with the changes.
Creator and showrunner Ronald D. Moore said the author is aware of all the changes being made in “Outlander” Season 2, which adapts Gabaldon’s book “Dragonfly in Amber” for the television screen. “The thing that gives me the most comfort is that Diana likes it a lot,” Moore told Entertainment Weekly. “She had said: ‘Oh, I really liked the way you did it. It was a difficult plot, I know, but I think you really found the essence of it. You really found the through line that really defines what this part of the journey is.’ So I feel good about it.”
After the completion of Season 1 -- which stayed close to the source material -- Moore began to warn fans that the next season wouldn’t be as faithful to the novel. “There will be twists and turns that aren’t in the book,” Moore told Deadline in May. “The second book is more complex than the first book is. It’s a little tougher challenge to adapt it.”
While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Moore elaborated, explaining that the book’s structure and political plotlines made it much more difficult to translate to television. “The point of view changed a couple of times in the book. She played with more stuff with time going on in the second book,” he said. “The interior storyline of the politics of the Jacobite rebellion and Paris is more complex. So it was not as easy an adaptation as the first season was.”
Although changes will have to be made, Moore is keeping the core of the story. Fans should expect the show to maintain a focus on the love story centered on Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe). “It’s not going to be a literal adaptation because I don’t think that’s possible with the second book. ... But I think it’s very much the same story, the major characters are all represented, the major scenes are all represented, and it still gets you to all the same places you want to go,” Moore said.
When viewers catch up with Jamie and Claire next year, the characters will be in France to change history by stopping the Battle of Culloden in Scotland. “We’re in the French court, about as far as you can get from the highlands of Scotland,” Heughan told the Wrap last month. “There’s some crazy new characters. It looks magnificent, the show looks incredible, and just trying to find where Jamie and Claire fit into that world, is exactly the kind of journey they’re having.”
Fans might get more spoilers for book-to-screen changes at the San Diego Comic-Con this week. Balfe, Gabaldon, Heughan and Moore are all set to appear at an “Outlander” panel Saturday at 4 p.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT).
“Outlander” Season 2 will premiere on Starz in 2016. Do you think the changes will be OK if Gabaldon approved them or do you think the writers should just stay true to the book at all costs? Sound off in the comments section below!