Updated: 09/12/2018 04:46 PM | First Published: 07/25/2018 01:42 PM

10 Outlander Facts That You May Not Know

Since its debut on August 9, 2014, Outlander, the historical time-travel drama, has earned a cult following. With hair-raising cliffhangers, the on-screen adaptation of the Outlander novel series by Diana Gabaldon has viewers on the edge of their seats. The exceptional performances from Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies and rest of the ensemble cast, and the intriguing plot makes this show one of the best in recent times.

Whether you are a fan of the show or it is on your list to binge watch, here are ten facts about Outlander you should probably know.

Creator’s Cameo

Diana Gabaldon as Iona MacTavis and Ronald D. Moore in a costume for their appearance in the TV series, Outlander

Diana Gabaldon not only has writing credits to her name, she also appeared in the first season episode, The Gathering. She had a brief cameo as Iona MacTavish, a wealthy merchant’s wife. She had just two lines which she delivered in “very correct Scottish accent.”

Ronald D. Moore also made an appearance on the same episode, but didn’t have any lines.

Inspired by Doctor Who

Jamie Fraser (right), Diana Gabaldon (middle) and Sam Heughan (left)

One of the unique part about Outlander is how they have integrated historical drama with sci-fi. What surprises us is that Diana was inspired to create the show after watching an old episode of Doctor Who. The lead character, Jamie Fraser, was inspired by Doctor Who’s kilt wearing clansman, Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines.

Later, it came full circle when Hines appeared as Sir Fletcher Gordon, the governor of Wentworth Prison in the 15th episode of season 1. 

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Almost a Katherine Heigl movie

Katherine Heigl standing outside the door with her right hand on the wall and rest of the body leaning over on the other side

The show has gained immense success in the small screen, but what would the scenario be like, if it was made into a movie? If it was the case, we would have seen Katherine Heigl as Claire. Heigl hinted about her possible appearance in the movie in her profile run by The New York Times in 2010. She said,

Scotland? 2012? What do you think?

It would have been a stepping stone in Heigl’s career or maybe she would have just bombed yet another role. Anyway, we are glad how it turned out. 

Costumes for the cast

Outlander's crew working in an actor's costume

One thing you have to absolutely nail while making a historic drama is the costume design. Outlander has, without a doubt, stood out in that particular matter. It is compulsory for a female cast in to wear a Corset while the males wear nothing under the kilt. Sam Heughan doesn’t mind it. He actually "be comfortable" wearing nothing under the kilt.

Further, costumes gives life to the character. The show’s lead, Caitriona Balfe, once shared with The New York Times,

Once you’re sucked into these corsets, you realize just how repressed women were...Your ability to emote, vocalize, and be physical is so restricted, purely because of the clothes.

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Culinary Makeover for the Costumes

The lead designer Terry Dresbach hugging her her executive producer husband, Ronald D. Moore. Both of them are in entire black attire

Terry Dresbach earned two Emmy nominations for her work on Outlander. The lead costume designer has now stepped back from the show and clarified the reason for doing so on Twitter, recently. She said she wants to be with family and is even “concerned about [her] health.” 

Obviously, she will be missed but the mantras she put in the show’s costumes are simply amazing. One of that would be the use of culinary to bring authenticity to the dresses. The costume department uses cheese graters, blowtorches, sandpaper, pumice stones, and other things to give the costumes lived-in looks. Some of the clothes are even tied up and baked.

Show's key locations increased tourism

Caitriona Balfe with her cast and crew on the set of Outlander, working for a scene

Shows like Game of Thrones and Outlander result in a massive tourist flow to the show’s set and locations. To cash in on the success of the show, VisitScotland has assembled a map with some of Outlander’s real-life locations

A lot of visitors head to Doune Castle near Stirling and Blackness Castle in West Lothian, which portrays Castle Leoch and Fort William. Craigh na Dun, the stone circle, doesn’t exist in real life but fans can visit the area of Kinloch Rannoch where it is based.

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Half of the Show’s Viewers are Male

Caitriona Balfe is smiling riding a horse on the set of Outlander

Outlander is one of the few shows with a female lead, and it might be surprising to some that half of the visitors of the show in the U.S. are men. On that very matter, Sam Heughan told ELLE,

something like 50 percent of our audience in the U.S. are men. And that's interesting. And the show wasn't made specifically for women, you know. It just happens to have a female lead character. I think there's something in there for every guy. There's a lot more graphic scenes, but not just intimate scenes. There's violence.

Sam Heughan has to spend hours in the makeup chair

Sam Heghan sitting on a chair while a make-up artist is working on his make-up

The spine-chilling scars of the artist are one of the toughest things to picturize on screen. So, to make it as authentic as possible, Heughan spends hours in the makeup chair. Remember Jamie’s scars on the back which he sustained from Jack Black’s beating? Well, that singly took three hours and three makeup artists to complete. And that’s not the end, the removal of the makeup takes about 45 minutes. Phew, that’s a lot of time. But, guess what? Sam enjoys the process as it requires oils and lavender flannels. 

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Politics impacted Outlanders release date

Sam Heughan as Jamie holding Caitriona Balfe as Claire's hand on the set of Outlander

While the original Outlander's release date was knocking on the door, the then historic election in the U.K was just a few weeks away. This was when they were trying to determine whether or not Scotland should be a part of the U.K., so the prime minister of U.K. thought it would be better not to air the show about Scottish rebels during the time. The Sony hack revealed the entire scenario. 

Show’s lead was cast at the last moment

Caitriona Balfe as Claire wearing a beautiful yellow gown on the set of Outlander

In most cases, the show’s lead characters are finalized first, but Caitriona Balfe was cast as Claire Fraser, only a few weeks before the shooting began. While the show’s producers were thinking they would find a fit for Claire first and then for Jamie, things didn't go as planned. They found the perfect fit for Jamie in Sam Heughan, but they had to get through a number of tapes in search of Claire. Ronald Moore told E! News,

A lot of actresses, a lot of tape, looking for really ineffable qualities. She had to be smart, she had to have a strength of character, and really, she had to be someone that you think you could watch on camera. But then suddenly, Caitriona’s tape came in and we had that same light-bulb moment.

After going through handful of tapes, in the end, everything worked out perfectly, as it was meant to be.

Which intriguing facts about the show did we miss? Let us know in the comments.


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