Outlander SDCC panel talks Season 3 and debuts first episode

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Jul 22, 2017

Outlander is on its way back in just a few weeks. Season 3 of the time-traveling drama returns to Starz on September 10 at 8:00 p.m. ET. But fans of the series got a special treat during the official Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con today: a first look at the very first episode of the season. 

Fans also got a chance to learn a few important tidbits about the upcoming season, thanks to the assembled cast and crew.

This season required a lot of shooting in a brand-new location: South Africa. Of course, most of the crew is still Scottish. According to executive producer Maril Davis, there were a lot of sunburns as they took over the set of Black Sails during filming. Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series of books on which the show is based, didn't do any writing this season, but she did come down to visit.

But what about the characters? According to star Sam Heughan, Claire and Jamie spend a lot of time apart this season. Claire is stuck in the 20th century, while Jamie is back in the 18th. Says Tobias Menzies, who plays Claire's modern-age husband, Frank: "We start off in Season 3 and get to unpack the life of Claire and Frank in Boston in real time, slightly different from the book. He's a surprisingly intricate character. An important ingredient in the mix of this show."

Of course, he agrees that his more villainous role of Black Jack Randall is the fun one, and assures audiences that they'll be seeing more of him. "We begin the season at Culloden, so yes, we see the encounter between Jaime and Black Jack, which will be surprising, and not entirely what people expect from it, which is in keeping with that relationship. Inverting the cliche."

We'll also be getting to know a few newish characters. Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton talked about what it was like getting into the characters of the grown-up Bree and Roger. Richard read the books to find out more about his character, while Sophie says she studied Caitriona and Sam's performances in the first season, and included some of their physicality in her own performance as Bree.

But what about our star-crossed lovers? As we already said, they'll be apart for much of the season, separated by time. But Caitriona Balfe says we'll see a lot more of the progression of Claire through the decades, and see her work through her grief at losing Jamie. 

*SPOILERS BELOW*

As for the infamous print shop scene, Caitriona says while they don't want to give more credence to any one scene, "it's a big moment for them to find each other again." Adds Sam, "the scene is emotional and would almost make a man faint."