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SYFY WIRE Outlander

Outlander's Diana Gabaldon & Maril Davis tease next book and when a show mystery will be resolved

By Tara Bennett

Outlander author Diana Gabaldon and Outlander series executive producer Maril Davis kicked off the first episode of the Outlander End of Summer series. The four-week charity event for Doctors Without Borders is essentially a lead-up to the Outlander Season 5 Limited Collector's Edition Blu-ray release in September, but it also helps as a stop-gap for the fans between Seasons 5 and Season 6.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic essentially shut down most film and television production around the globe from March onward, Outlander was supposed to start shooting Season 6 in May 2020. With that canceled and a new start of production yet unknown, the creatives behind the universe are trying to help the fans through it with some new content for the next four weeks.

As always, Gabaldon is the source of all knowledge, since she's still writing novels, and novellas, that are expanding the Outlander universe. Maril Davis asked how progress on the ninth installment, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, is going, and the author confirmed she is close to finishing the tome. 

Outlander End of Summer Series

"I'm now in the final phases, so I know what it is," she said of the entire narrative. "And I can’t say there isn’t any tragedy. But it’s not Jamie," she laughed. Gabaldon is very active with her fan base on social media, and she said that many of her readers have been telling her that they are afraid that Jamie Fraser won't survive this book. She assured everyone in the talk with Davis that he would make it out alive.

However, when a worried Davis pointed out that Gabaldon didn't say the same about Claire Fraser, Gabaldon smilled and confirmed, "I didn’t. We’ll have to see."

Since the television series stays rather close to the main narratives of Gabaldon's books, with the author even contributing scripts, as she did recently in Season 5, there were a few questions that came up in the discussion that pertained to both media. When a fan asked about whether readers would get to know more about Young Ian's (played by John Bell in the series) life with the Native Americans, Gabaldon shared that readers would see more of that in the upcoming book nine.

And going way back, there was a fan question about the first episode of the TV series, where Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) sees a figure in the dark of night staring up at Claire in her hotel window. In the scene, the figure just disappears, leaving Frank uneasy enough to share it with Claire. Asked who that was, Gabaldon said, "It is Jamie’s ghost, and how that will be answered is the last thing in the last book." Sounds like a pretty visually compelling end of TV series too, if you ask us.

Davis asked Gabaldon if she had any absolute favorite moments from her nine books, and the author said she had many from each, and joked that if she didn't that would mean they weren't good. But going back to original, Outlander, Gabaldon cited, "The scene where Claire rides to Castle Leoch and starts healing Jamie because she's the only one to do it. It’s a forced intimacy that eventually turns into unexpected physical intimacy."

In the TV world, Davis said she still loves the first episode scene where Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is at the standing stones outside of Inverness for the very first time. "In the script, it says that there's supposed to be this slight gust of wind when she's there, but we didn’t have a wind machine on the day we shot that. But every time Caitriona would do a take, the wind would come up. It was spooky and magical. Like it was the right place and the right time."

Gabaldon added, "That was the first footage I saw of the show. [Executive producer] Ron [Moore] and I were doing fan events in New York City, and backstage he showed us some of the first dailies of that and it was that scene, and the one with Claire laying on her shawl."

Going back to her writing process, Davis asked if Gabaldon's propensity to write out of order means that she already has material written for the 10th book of the Outlander series. Gabaldon confirmed that she did, expanding that "When stuff bubbles up, I write it down. I have little pieces for all kinds of books, including the prequel about Jamie’s parents, and Master Raymond’s book."

She also confirmed that the Season 5 Blu-ray would contain a preview scene from Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone involving Jamie and Claire.

Be sure to check our exclusive Outlander Season 5 episode post-mortems to ease your Droughtlander: