In season 4 of Outlander, they’re all coming to America, and though it may seem all well and calm and lovey dovey between Claire and Jamie in their new digs, there’s a revolution that’s brewing with the ruling British.
“The storm is coming and it’s on the horizon,” said Sam Heughan who plays Scottish laird now U.S. transplant Jamie Fraser, however, “the land of America is a positive place for them.”
Heughan and stars Caitriona Balfe, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin gathered at New York PaleyFest with Outlander series creator Ronald D. Moore and EP Maril Davis to expound on what is a brand new fresh backdrop away from the series’ Scottish standard.
Season 4 of Outlander, is based on Drums of Autumn, the fourth of eight books in Diana Gabaldon’s series. Season 4 follows time travelers Claire (Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Heughan) as they try to make a home for themselves in colonial America. As the two build their lives together in the rough and dangerous back country of North Carolina, they must negotiate a tenuous loyalty to the current British ruling class, despite Claire’s knowledge of the American Revolution to come.
Jamie meets his maternal aunt Jocasta Cameron (Maria Doyle Kennedy), and though she reminds him of his mom, she’s a real headache for Claire, more specifically, Jamie’s aunt owns slaves. “It’s difficult for Clarie to get past that and creates a wall for her and Jocasta that can’t be bridged,” said Balfe about the femme plantation owner.
“She’s incredibly complicated,” says Heughan, “She’s someone who looks and sounds like his mother, and there’s touching moments.” For Jamie it’s moving to see his Scottish roots in America.
And there’s a new villain in town in the wake of previous season’s Black Jack, and that is the notorious pirate and smuggler Stephen Bonnet who will come back to haunt the Fraser family. Moore emphasized on stage tonight how he’s not trying to have Bonnet rival Black Jack in upcoming season, rather have the character organically define himself.
For Moore and Davis the most complicated situation of season 4 was shooting Scotland as North Carolina. Whereas Scotland’s stone buildings suited Outlander like a glove in previous seasons, the crew had to rely more on VFX and production design, even new props, to achieve the wooden atmosphere of colonial America. “It was a reinvention of everything we’ve done,” said Moore, “It was tremendously limited in what we could shoot.”
“The thing we knew right off the bat is that we’d never recreate the southern heat in the Carolinas,” says Davis, “you get a week of summer in Scotland and I put summer in quotes.”
“Trees, are trees, and Scotland can look a lot like North Carolina, but there are some things you can’t recreate,” says Davis.
What was also key for the producers in season 4 was a proper portrayal of the Cherokee natives. They consulted Canadian Cherokee leaders and brought over a 100-plus natives as background actors.
Meanwhile in the 20th century, things are complicated between Brianna Randall (Sophie Skelton), Claire and Jamie’s daughter, and Roger Wakefield, the historian who helped Claire search for Jamie in the past. But when Roger and Brianna search for proof that Brianna’s parents reunited in the 18th century, a shocking discovery makes both of them consider following in Claire’s footsteps.
Two clips were shown to PaleyFest crowds in NYC. In the first Claire and Jamie are seen talking about America and the wave of immigrants that will continue to find there way to the shores and the impact of that on the indigenous people. While in the second modern day world we see a flirty clip of Roger and Brianna driving in a car ending with the latter smooching him.
Starz recently renewed Outlander for two more seasons, taking the series through Season 6. Tomorrow Outlander will be having its New York Comic-Con panel and surprises are in store. Outlander season 4 premieres on Oct. 4.
Watch the entire PaleyFest NY session below: