A day ahead of Valentine's Day, Starz has released this still for Ron Moore's adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. And with its emphasis on Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) and her husband Frank (Tobias Menzies), I can't help but wonder if Starz has another photo planned to drop tomorrow, giving us a new glimpse of Claire with Jamie (Sam Heughan), her other love interest. Am I being greedy? Probably. But those who've read Outlander or who saw the trailer know that this is Claire and Jamie's story, so it may not be too much of a stretch to think Starz might remind us of that on Valentine's Day. If they do, we'll be sure to post it.
The story centers on World War II combat nurse who's on vacation with her husband when she finds herself suddenly thrown back through time to18th century Scotland. She's eventually forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a gallant young warrior with whom she falls in love. Romance and adventure ensues. So Claire has two loves. If the first was presented to us today -- along with a caption about first loves -- perhaps a second will be featured tomorrow. But even if that's not the case, it's great to see a new still from the series. And it gives us an opportunity to talk about Tobias Menzies' character. Or characters, as it were, as the actor is set to play both Frank Randall, Claire's husband, and Jonathan Randall, Frank's ancestor and a major antagonist in the story. From what we know of Frank, he's an educated and fairly mild-mannered historian. Jonathan, not so much. Well, not mild-mannered anyway. So I'm excited to see how Menzies handles both roles, since I expect to like Frank and loathe Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall.
Spoiler alert: If you haven't read the book, skip the next two paragraphs. Moore's comments about Game of Thrones comparisons are after the spoiler section.
THR recently did an interview with Ronald D. Moore that addressed some graphic content in the series. From the sound of it, the series won't be holding back, either on the sexual content or some of the more brutal aspects of the story. When asked if he thought the series could work on network TV, Moore said outright that he doesn't think it could. "The elements we would have had to change from the book, they would have freaked out about a lot of the sexual stuff," Moore said, and then he got more specific. "Especially the latter part of the book and the whole plot with Jack Randall, Jamie and the prison rape."
Jamie and Claire spend a good portion of the book enjoying the honeymoon stage of their relationship, so sex is aplenty in the story, but things take a much darker, violent turn toward the end of the story when Jamie is imprisoned. I'm kind of surprised he spoke so openly about that, given how far into the story it is. But he's probably not wrong to think they'd "never be able to touch that on broadcast television." As sexual and occasionally violent as Outlander is, anyone whose seen Spartacus knows Starz isn't opposed to extremely graphic content. At the very least, Moore will have some flexibility in terms of how he wants to present those elements in the adaptation, which is certainly better than having to change or tone down the story to suit content guidelines. As for the sexual content, Moore says it's worked into the show as it is in the book, but they don't overdo it. "We don't have to just take somebody's clothes off for the sake of doing it," he said. "I feel very comfortable about it."
Moore had good things to say about Starz in general, telling THR that one of the first notes Starz's Chris Albrecht gave him was to "trust the book." They love the book. And considering how many fans out there do too, I'd say that's a good thing. But Moore doesn't sound like he's on board with branding Outlander "Game of Thrones for women," as some people apparently have. He notes that the stories are very different. One's an ensemble story set in a fantasy world, while the other is a real historical setting centered on one character. Those are some notable base-level differences. But Moore did add, "The only thing that I take from Game is that the adaptation of a successful book with an existing fan base can not only work, it can be wildly successful, so it gives me great confidence and hope that we can do that."
Outlander is expected to premiere this Summer on Starz. Check out the trailers here.