It’s less than two months until Outlander returns for its third season but today fans at the Comic-Con panel for the sultry Starz drama were rewarded with a surprise screening of the season opener.

Executive producer Ronald D. Moore dropped the treat at the end of the panel this evening when a packed Ballroom 20 thought they were going to be given another look at the S3 trailer that went public a few days ago. Set to debut on September 10, the Moore penned opening “The Battle Joined” episode of the series based on Diana Gabaldon’s bestsellers saw Caitriona Balfe’s pregnant Claire Randall trying to adjust to her life back in the later 1940s with first husband Frank (Tobia Menzies) after leaving love Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) back in the 18th century.

After a recap of the previous seasons (see below), the S3 premiere episode starts post-battle, with bodies splayed out everywhere. Jamie, barely coherent, lays there as we get flashbacks of violent and bloody battles that led to that point. We are then transported to 1948 where Claire and Frank Randall are acclimating to American life.
After a recap of the previous season the premiere episode starts post-battle, with bodies splayed out everywhere. Jamie, barely coherent, lays there as we get flashbacks of violent and bloody battles that led to that point. We are then transported to 1948 where Claire and Frank Randall are acclimating to American life.

Unlike Season 2, the 13-episode third season of Outlander will not see an episode written by Gabaldon, Moore revealed earlier today in an interview with Deadline.

However, the author was on Friday’s panel along with Moore, fellow EP Maril Davis, Balfe, Heughan and Menzies. Cast members Sophie Skelton, who plays Jamie and Claire’s daughter Brianna and Richard Rankin were onstage too.

Moderator Jenna Dewan Tatum kicked off the panel with playing the aforementioned trailer for season 3 to the unknowing audience — many of which were draped in tartan plaid. Afterwards, the actors and the creative team came out one by one with an electric round of applause for each. Moore talked about what was to come, explaining it was a transitional season and how it ends in a different place than where they started. Davis shared her experiences filming in Scotland and using the Black Sails set, while Dewan Tatum, an avid fan of the show, grilled the actors about what was in store for their characters in season 3, but the actors played coy, giving just giving a tease.

When Dewan Tatum asked Gabaldon if she wrote any episodes in the forthcoming season to which she playfully answered, “No, I didn’t, I wrote the book, that’s enough.” The other cast members chimed in, but the focus was on the show’s stars: Heughan and Balfe. They talked about how it was to age 20 years in the new season.

“This season we really got to stretch the characters and making more about their experiences rather than the aging,” said Heughan.

Then, Dewan Tatum, brought up the memorable print shop scene to which Balfe said, “We had a great script — you know they are big fan moments so you don’t want to give it more credence because all scenes are important. It’s a big moment for them to find each other again.”

After a rousing game of “Truth or Dance”, where Dewan Tatum, to her pleasure, ended up dancing with Heughan (after asking whether or not her husband Channing was around), an audience Q&A took place which was delightfully interrupted by a surprise appearance from Graham McTavish — who was more than happy to show off his dance moves.

This was the second time Moore was in Ballroom 20 in as many day. On Thursday, the EP joined cast and creatives from Battlestar Galactica for a reunion panel – again, to a packed room.