During tonight’s PaleyFest panel on the Starz’s series Outlander, host Kristin Dos Santos chose to spend most of the time engaging the panelists in various party games rather than asking a lot of questions. One involved whiskey, another featured questions modeled after The Newlywed Game. Although panel members took the challenge in good spirits, this did drag on.
However, somewhere amidst the jokes and the drinks, the panel — stars Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies; executive producer and writer Ronald D. Moore; and Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander book series — did raise the curtain just a little on remaining episodes of Season 1 and what might be to come in Season 2.
Moore and cast members confirmed that the remainder of Season 1’s episodes, which begin April 4 on the premium channel, will grow increasingly dark. “It does go to some harrowing places,” said Moore. “If you haven’t read the book, you’ll be surprised by the direction it takes.” He added that the season finale provides “a satisfying ending. I think it’s an ending worthy of the story and takes you places you weren’t expecting to go.”
The phrase “spoiler alert” kind of loses its meaning when the book on which Season 2 will be based — Gabaldon’s second book in the series, Dragonflies In Amber — is already out there. Moore did reveal that, going forward, “the plan is to stick as close as possible to the books,” though sometimes a minor change might commit a character to head in a new direction. He added that many viewers have not read the books and compared it to his own experience watching HBO’s Game Of Thrones. “I haven’t read the books, so I have to accept the TV series on its own terms as it was presented to me,” Moore said. “Our show has to serve both masters.”
Menzies, who plays a dual role, said (to applause) that the character of Frank will not reappear in Season 1 but will in Season 2.
A little more from Moore: When asked by Dos Santos what other show he’d most like to be involved in, with he said History’s Vikings — because it believably delivers a “completely alien culture.” She also asked him how it felt to be overlooked by Emmy and the Golden Globes for Battlestar Galactica. He acknowledged that awards matter but he “just trust that what we’ve done is bigger than that.”Some audience members had questions about the much-discussed Episode 7, “The Wedding,” written by Anne Kenney and directed by Anna Foerster (with second director Brian Kelly). Did Moore deliberately choose women to helm this episode, which is realized from a woman’s point of view?
The producer said he did choose to put women in charge, but in terms of point of view, “that really isn’t how we approached it, in all honesty. (We said) ‘Let’s just make this true, let’s just make it authentic.’ (We decided) not to do TV sex, which is bogus.” He added, to laughter: “Ironically, when you do something truthful, it becomes the female point of view.”
Still more laughter at the final audience question, that went unanswered: “Did she get paid as much as a man?”