Outlander Star and Writers Clash Over Controversial Book Change – Vanity Fair
This post contains a frank discussion of Outlander Season 3, Episode 6: “A. Malcolm.” If you’ve not yet watched the latest episode of Starz’s time-traveling Scottish romance, now is the time to leave.
There’s trouble in lovers’ paradise: Outlander star Sam Heughan and the writers of the series have taken their disagreement over a change to a popular, beloved book scene public. It seems Heughan went off script—and it’s not just the fans who are displeased with his choice.
The powers that be over at Starz have known for a long time that lovers of Diana Gabaldon’s novels would be poring over the latest episode of Outlander, searching for any slight deviations from the book. Season 3, Episode 6 covers a famous, fan-favorite passage dubbed “the print-shop scene,” in which star-crossed Jamie and Claire Fraser, separated for decades, finally re-unite. A year ago, star Caitriona Balfe, calling VF.com from the set of Season 3, acknowledged how important this moment would be for fans:
The first thing [fans] talk about is the print shop [where Jamie
and Claire are re-united after decades apart]. “Are you going to do
the print shop? You can’t change one line of the print shop.” We
haven’t actually gotten to film that yet, but I think the writers are
well aware that they have to do the fans right.
In the books, when Jamie is presented with a photo of his daughter Brianna, now a full-grown woman, he is overwhelmed:
He splayed a hand out over the photographs, trembling fingers not
quite touching the shiny surface, and then he turned and leaned toward
me, slowly, with the improbable grace of a tall tree falling. He
buried his face in my shoulder and went very quietly and thoroughly to
But when finally shooting the episode, Heughan decided to play Jamie’s reaction as much more restrained and manly. And when the fans saw the episode on Sunday, they noticed.
This is far from the first time fans have protested even minute departures from the book. When asked yesterday “Which episode has had the most ‘spirited’ discussions about changes from the book,” the Outlander Writers account responded:
Whoever runs the official Outlander Writers Twitter account—context clues point toward producer Maril Davis and writer Toni Graphia—revealed that the decision for Jamie to go in another direction wasn’t theirs.
Heughan himself then took to Twitter to respond directly to their expressed disappointment, and to take responsibility for the departure.
The Outlander Writers and Heughan quickly walked back any conflict with follow-up tweets that Diana Gabaldon retweeted to fans:
There we go. Hardly the Battle of Culloden, but a public disagreement nonetheless. Fans still upset about not seeing the Jamie meltdown they were promised—the man still fainted; what more do you want?—will surely be tuning into the “The Official Outlander Podcast” this week to hear what more Graphia and Roberts have to say on the matter.