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Some spoilers from Season 2 of Outlander can be found throughout this story.
Season 2 of Outlander saw Claire return to her time, leaving her husband Jamie to potentially die on the battlefieldat Culloden. We met an adult Brianna and learned a little bit about Claire's life after leaving Jamie. But Season 3 is about to delve hard into the relationship between Frank and Claire; in fact, much harder than Diana Gabaldon's books did. And with the passing of time has come the aging of characters like Jamie, Frank and Claire. According to Caitriona Balfe, the real challenge with aging up on the show has more to deal with how time affects people than the actual makeup. She said at Comic-Con:
When we come to Season 3, we get to see a lot of that progression, the forties, fifties, sixties. And we get to see what her life is like, the day to day... it was one of the interesting challenges about this season to try and figure out, how does time weigh on a person? How do you live with grief?
One of the challenges with filming Outlander is that the series hops around quite a bit, not only between the 18th century when Jamie is living and the 20th century where Claire has returned, but also between decades. We've seen Claire with a hint of grey in her hair and an older daughter. We've seen her pregnant in Season 2 and trying to explain to Frank exactly where she had been. Kudos to the makeup team for the work they've done, but from what Caitriona Balfe said at the most recent Comic-Con panel the bigger challenge for the actors is not looking the part, it's understanding a character's frame of mind across decades that's the hard part.
To prepare for the change in their relationship, Caitriona Balfe said that she and Tobias Menzies, who plays Frank (well, and Black Jack Randall) on the long-running series, met to map out the general arc for the years they spent married and unhappy as characters.
I think there's a general arc that you want to follow. [But] within acting you have to leave room for play. Tobias and I, especially with Claire and Frank, we talked a lot about how two people can coexist for twenty years together if they don't love each other!
We have been very fortunate to get to know these characters over two seasons. It feels like such a long time ago we got started... this season we got to really stretch the character and go somewhere else with them. Who they are after twenty years. It's more about the experiences than the aging.