Starz has given us our first look at “where it all began” for their upcoming adaptation of TV adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. The image above is presumably a glimpse of Craigh na Dun, the hill and rock formation that Claire Randall is visiting in Scotland when she finds herself catapulted through time and left in the 18th century. Starz sent that out via Twitter today. As for how the actual series will begin, that was revealed today at the TCA press tour, along with an update on a certain pivotal scene from the book.
One of the things that’s set up early on in Gabaldon’s novel is that, though Claire may be out of her time period when she finds herself mysteriously sent back to war torn Scotland in the 1700s, she’s not entirely out of her element. Her training as a combat nurse makes her particularly useful in a setting that involves men being shot at with muskets and having bones thrown out of their sockets. From the sound of it, presenting Claire’s background as a British World War II combat nurse will be set up from the start. EW reports that Gabaldon told the press at the TCA tour today that showrunner Ronald D. Moore pitched the idea of kicking off the series with a two-minute prologue set in a field hospital where Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is working as a wartime nurse. So that’ll be exciting to see, plus it should give viewers a good perspective on her background, so it doesn't seem like she just conveniently happens to be really good at setting bones and wrapping wounds when she lands in the 1700s.
Also mentioned during the panel — and here’s where things get a bit more spoilery if you haven’t read the book! — is whether or not the TV series will include the scene where Jamie punishes Claire. To put it vaguely, in the book, Claire does something that not only puts herself in major danger but also puts Jamie and the rest of their party in danger. As a repercussion, Jamie has to "punish" her, which he does. Most of the ordeal is left off the page and referred to as Claire recovers, but it's evident that he was pretty rough on her. Moore says they haven’t shot that scene yet, but they will. “It’s a shocking moment, but its an important part of the development of the characters and we’re going to go for it.”
I’ve been working my way through the first book and after reading that scene, I wondered if they’d include it in the TV show, as I’m thinking many viewers and speculators may not take too kindly to a scene that involves a man — who isn’t a villain — physically assaulting a woman. That said, the way it’s explained in the book afterward, it seems like a crucial part of the story and part of the set-up of this whole occasionally brutal backdrop, not to mention the very intense physical relationship that Claire and Jamie develop. So it’s going to be very interesting to not only see how that scene turns out, but whether or not the show manages to convey the whole situation as it's presented in the book.
Finally, there’s the Outlander sizzle reel. The press got to see a video during the panel. So far, it hasn’t popped up online and we may very well have to wait until after the fan event this weekend — if not longer — to see it. We’ll be sure to share it with you if and when it comes online. In the meantime, here are a couple of positive Twitter reactions…
Now there's footage, which looks GREAT. Very like what I imagined from the book. Beautifully shot. #Outlander— Laura Prudom (@LauInLA) January 10, 2014
Read more comments from Ronald D. Moore about what’s in store for this series here.