Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan of Outlander
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Outlander burns up NYCC 2019 with romance, whiskey, and a Season 5 teaser

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Oct 5, 2019

Oh, aye, Sassenachs! The cast and crew of Outlander slipped through time to give New York Comic Con 2019 a taste of what to expect from their upcoming Season 5. SYFY WIRE traveled through those weird rocks as well, and we were there to get all of the details. Before the panel even began, one fan kicked the Outlander-style romance into overdrive when he proposed to his girlfriend right on the stage during a pre-panel game. He may have missed out on some "free stuff," but his girlfriend did say yes. It would have been awkward otherwise. 

The panel included executive producers Ronald D. Moore and Maril Davis, author Diana Gabaldon (who wrote the series that the show is based on), and castmembers Duncan Lacroix (Murtagh), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Jocasta), David Berry (Lord John Grey), and of course, Sam Heughan (Jamie), and Caitriona Balfe (Claire). 

The audience went absolutely crazy when Berry came out, and the excitement only got bigger as every actor entered. When Heughan and Balfe came on...it was utter pandemonium. Outlander fans are truly passionate beyond belief, this is not news, but when you're in the middle of it, it's truly something. Castmembers Richard Rankin (Roger) and Sophie Skelton (Brianna) couldn't be there in person (they are currently filming in Scotland), but they did send a special video message for the fans, saying that they think their characters possibly wish that they could sneak off back to the future for some time away from the drama. They also brought a special first look at Season 5. 

Things are getting dangerous (shocker), and it seems like Jamie might think that they all would be safer back in Claire's original time period. The newly married Brianna and Roger are thinking the same thing. Indeed, Davis said that they are still dealing with the fallout from Season 4. 

Though the show is set in America now, they still shoot in Scotland — Moore is surprised at how they've managed to make Scotland look so much like Colonial America. Gabaldon enjoyed that in Season 5, audiences will hear the words, "f**king bastard snake." 

NYCC 2019 Outlander Panel

Credit: Brian Silliman

Though Murtagh doesn't stay alive in the books, he's still around on the show. "Personally, it's kind of ramped up every season for me," Lacroix said. "I think the best work I've done on this show is in this season." To which Davis added, "The reason we brought him back is because we love Duncan so much, and we didn't want to let him go." 

Would Berry want to play someone in the show other than Lord John Grey? "I'm such a talent, aren't I," he joked. "Jamie, you know, give me anyone...I'll do it." He might be playing Claire next season, in what Heughan joked could be a musical episode. It was around this time that the moderator told the panel that there were shots of whiskey available for them if they wanted. Kennedy was worried about sharing her favorite upcoming scene due to spoilers, so she just went for the whiskey. "I have a national reputation to maintain," she said. 

Heughan and Balfe are producers on Season 5 — will that impact the new season? "I think a lot of this has been us observing and learning," Balfe said, praising the crew of the show, as well as the production work in general. Heughan tagged on to this, echoing that "it's been really great to be onboard from the beginning." 

What can we expect in the epic Jamie/Claire love story? Balfe said that it keeps deepening and growing, and that we'll see even more of that this season, if that's even possible. "They support each other through some tough, tough times," she said. To which Heughan added, "Together, they're really strong. We had a scene just the other day...we made love, without making love." 

Of course, the audience lost it again when he said this. 

NYCC 2019 Outlander Panel (Screens)

Credit: Brian Silliman

Have they learned anything about each other recently that surprised them? Not really, as they've been working together for so long, and so intimately. Heughan started to answer the question...but went for the whiskey. If it were possible for Season 1 Jamie to visit Season 5 Jamie, what would his advice be? "Don't go near her," Heughan joked. "Every time he goes near her he sees his own demise." He was clearly kidding, because he then said that there's no question that Jamie would die for her. Kennedy echoed this, saying that love outlasts everything, and that's what we see this season. 

Supposedly, Balfe often gets asked for real medical advice on a regular basis. While she plays a woman of medicine, but she's not actually one in real life. "I think it's a combination of Claire using her knowledge from the '60's as well as what's around her," she said, going on to say that Claire will have a good amount of surgeries to perform this season. 

Would Gabaldon bring back any dead character? "If I kill them, they stay dead," she said. "No offense to Murtagh or Duncan..." she quickly added. She also gave a quick update on the in-progress Book 9, which she says will be longer than previous books in the series. 

What modern luxuries would the cast miss if they were in the world of the show? Moore's answer was honest: "Television, man!" Balfe's answer was more practical, preferring a flushing toilet. It was somewhere within this conversation that Heughan said "Sassenach" and the audience lost it again. He then tried to do an Outlander line in a New York accent, which...wasn't terrible. The whole cast had a try at it — Balfe proved the most successful by far, uttering a line from Season 1 like a Real Housewife: "if you ever raise a hand to me again..." 

When asked what other time periods their characters should travel to, Lacroix said that he seemed needed "right now." Balfe had the same answer, saying that Claire could probably do some good things for women. Heughan would leave Jamie right where he is. 

Since it was Balfe's birthday the day prior, the audience then sang her a joyous "Happy Birthday." Kennedy didn't necessarily participate, as she said that she "lost her voice" celebrating Balfe the previous evening. One fan added to the love-fest, saying that she went into medicine because of Claire. The fan also apologized for being a "really b***y fan" years ago when Balfe was cast. Some other fan questions had the audience yelling the phrase, "read the book." They yelled it quite loudly. 

When asked about how both Heughan and Balfe play their characters at multiple ages, Balfe had an answer that really summed up their relationship of the characters. "I feel like she's an ageless person with him," she said. "They're not old. They're hearts and souls are ageless when they're with each other."

Heughan added on to this, saying, "Until they're together, they aren't themselves." 

Outlander returns for Season 5 on Feb. 16, 2020. 

Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of New York Comic Con 2019, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.


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