Outlander: Ron Chats on Twitter after Surrender

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Ron Moore followed up an excellent episode 302 with a nice long Twitter Q&A! Lots of fans stayed up late to ask questions.

Ron: Just to get it out of the way: the rabbit was about Jamie seeing a bit of beauty and life amid all the death and horror. Nothing more.

Q Were you worried that the first half of this season was gonna be a Debbie Downer? How do you balance that?
A No, never worried about that. There’s a balance as characters struggle through the darkness toward the light.

Q Can you confirm that Murtagh survives Culloden?
A You’ll have to wait and see on the Murtagh front…

Q Bravo on S3 thus far. Have you written any other episodes besides the premiere?
A No, this year I only wrote the first episode.

Q Why didn’t the British pick up Black Jack’s corpse from the battlefield?
A They probably did the next day. The battlefield was picked over for a while after the battle.

Q Why doesn’t Jamie use the dunbonnet to cover his hair?
A His hair cannot be contained.

Q Twin beds at the end of the episode? Did it symbolise that their marriage is over in all but name?
A And an homage to “I Love Lucy.”

Q When will we see the explanation behind Jamie showing up, watching Claire in the window, from Season One?
A I think you’ll have to wait for Diana to explain that one.

Q We Aussies haven’t seen Ep 2 yet … (7:30 pm tonight). But are you happy with Season 3?
A I’m very happy with it. Think it’s a very strong season!

Q Are you doing your podcasts for Season 3? I have loved them for the past 2 seasons.
A I did the first two, which should be out.

Q Not Outlander-centric but @thumbfighter (Richard Hatch) was included in the Emmy memorial tonight. Any parting lesson/memory Richard left you with?
A I remember how prepared he was even at the table read. He was a consummate pro and took the work very seriously, but with a happy heart.

Q Was that Laura (Donnelly)’s own baby she was breast feeding?
A I believe so.

Q “Are you alive?” in 301 was an intentional Battlestar Galactica reference, right?
A Wondered if anyone would catch that…

Q Care to explain this one a bit more? It’s been a while since I watched BSG.
A It’s the very first line in the show. The first Six comes aboard the space station and says “Are you alive” to the officer waiting there.

Q Why did you not have Fergus carrying the cask of ale? (in the book, that was the start of how he got his hand cut off.) Seemed unnecessary to omit.
A In our version, Fergus is going to warn Jamie so the cask didn’t work.

Q Did you consider including Jamie’s recovery from his injury at Culloden under Jenny’s doctoring? Curious why it didn’t make the cut.
A We talked about it, but felt like the meat of the story was years later and the events leading up to his surrender, so we jumped ahead.

Q Is there anything you would have done differently in seasons 1 and 2 that influences how you approached S3 and will approach S4?
A There are always things you learn, but mostly it’s just realizing that each book is unique adn has to be approached on its own terms.

Q Thank you for continuing to show such respect for the story and characters. Do you just sit in the writers room and cry for hours?
A There’s a barrel of Kleenex next to my recliner.

Q If you were able to take your time, how many episodes would it take to make Voyager? So much in this book!
A It actually broke into 13 hours really well. If we’d wanted to split the book into two seasons we could have, but didn’t feel it was necessary.

Q Do you have a favorite outfit on the show?
A I still love the saffron dress from S2, the one Claire wore to the King’s stables.

Q Do you read any historical material to prepare for transitioning the novels to TV?
A Each writer does it differently, some enjoy doing more research than others. I tend to do research for specific scenes or moments.

Q When are you going to start filming Season 4?
A Mid October.

Q Biggest challenge adapting such lengthy novels? (Bravo so far.) I’m down to be a Cameron extra.
A Figuring out what to keep and what to change. Everyone would approach an adaptation differently and this version is a subjective take.

Q Was that a real deer Jamie was cutting up?
A It was indeed.

Q Have you ever shed a tear during any of the scenes (this season or previous)? I ask cuz Laura Donnelly had me shedding tears today.
A I have been known to cry during the show. Some scenes make you tear up no matter how often you see them, especially with Bear’s music.

Q Do you play any instruments?
A I used to play the trumpet. I was a proud member of the Chowchilla High School marching band.

Q Are you living in Scotland currently?
A I’m currently back in LA, probably won’t be in Scotland until we start shooting again.

Q Is it true that Battlestar almost ened at the mid season finale of S4?
A Not really. That’s when the writers’ strike hit and there was a possibility that we might not come back if the strike went on too long.

Q What are you most excited for fans to see this season?
A The print shop, of course. And the whole journey to the Caribbean is really great.

Q What part of S3 proved to be the most challenging to film?
A The ships were very challenging, but we had great help from the amazing Black Sails crew.

Q Why change anything? I get for time and book to script but why mess with something so perfect. It shouldn’t be open to artistic interpretation.
A It’s a different medium and has to be adapted to work. If it were a stage play or a musical or a feature film it would change as well.

Q Did you really kill that raven?
A No ravens were harmed during the filming of this episode.

Q How are you after surgery and recovery? How’s the garage door? We were all thinking about you! And Terry too!
A I’ve made a full recovery, thank you. The garage door will be added to the fire one day.
A (Terry) The garage door is healing nicely.

Q The Scots I’ve encountered are very happy you’ve brought jobs and more tourism from Outlander. Do you feel extraordinary pride?
A I’m proud if our show has opened up that amazing country and its people to more appreciation by the world at large.

Q (to Terry) Does he sign birthday cards, etc. like this? The words tho… amazing?
A (Terry) Love, Ron. But he writes me amazing poetry.

Q What shows, besides our beloved Outlander, would you recommend for some serious binge watching?
A Just finished bingeing S3 of Narcos on Netflix. It’s fantastic.
A (Terry)  It was great!!!!

Q What’s your favorite DS9 episode as a fan AND as a writer?
A “In the Pale Moonlight.”

Q How are you dealing with the Giants’ abysmal season? I escape by watching Outlander, which funny enough makes me cry too.
A It’s a tough year for the boys, but they’ve given us an incredible run these past few years and I know they’ll be back. It’s baseball!

Q Not sure anyone brought this up, but Claire reading the article in the paper was a a wink wink to Caitriona’s heritage, no?
A That’s exactly right. I think Toni Graphia added that little touch.

Q Favorite Seinfeld episode? (Can you even pick just one?)
A Hard to pick. “The Marine Biologist” has my favorite ending with George pulling the golf ball out of his pocket. “The Betrayal” is brilliant.

Q And fave BSG?
A “33”

Q Do you have a fave college football team? #chilloutfolks #iknowitsnotOutlanderrelated #myScruffmeisterLIVES
A Don’t really do college football. Been a Miami Dolphin fan since childhood.

Q What happened to the Giants this season??
A I think there was a raven living at AT&T Park.

Q What about the little bird Claire sees in Boston?
A I thought of that to echo the rabbit and also as a nod back to the birds Claire watched from the thieves hold in S1.

Q Have you started breaking S4 yet?
A The season is broken and we’re working on scripts at this point.

Q When you first started the Outlander project did it scare you, or did you know it would go this well and be received this well?
A I always believe that anything I’m working on is going to be great and beloved by millions. It just doesn’t always happen.
A (Terry) The eternal optimist.

Q Why the  name “Tall Ship Productions” and how did you meet the lovely Maril Davis?
A I’ve had a love for naval history since childhood. I first met Maril back at Star Trek: DS9 many years ago.

Q Midway is the most incredible and important naval battle in history. In fact, one of the greatest battles period.
A One of my favorites. Read many a book and article on the subject. (Wish the Heston movie was better, although Fonda makes a great Nimitz.)
A (Terry) People have favorite battles?????

Q Can you tell us if (s4) is gonna be 13 episodes again?
A Yes, 13 eps for S4.

Q Where is the final shot in 302 located?
A It’s in Glasgow, crossing the river and heading up into Glasgow University.

Q But is it supposed to be the Boston Common?
A We weren’t trying to be that specific. Just wanted someplace that felt like Boston or Harvard.

Q Any thoughts on (Star Trek) Discovery?
A Looking forward to it. Nice to be a fan again.

Q Would you ever entertain directing a major sci-fi movie or are you just sticking to TV?
A You never say never. But I really love doing TV.

Q Curious: from ep 1 the flashes of Jamie after Claire goes through the stones. Do you film that sort of thing with the previous season stuff?
A We did happen to shoot those particular pieces last year. Didn’t have a plan, but Matt Roberts thought might be needed later.

Q BSG could be reborn one day with new episodes?
A Not our version. We told our story and decided to leave the stage.

Q Why the change to Jamie being out and about during the day, as opposed to only at night in the book? For lighting only?
A Mostly for filming. It’s hard on the crew to do night after night during shooting.

Q What, if anything, has been your involvement in Ira Behr’s DS9 documentary? Will we get to see you in it?
A I’m definitely in it and I thoroughly enjoyed talking about the show with Ira and the other writers – it was a very special time for me.

Q Why did we skip six years after Jamie came home from Culloden?
A Felt like the story we wanted to tell was leading up to his surrender so we chose to concentrate on that period of time.

Q Dude! What’s with the Philip K Dick project?
A “Electric Dreams” is an anthology series based on the short stories of Philip K Dick and is on Channel 4 in the UK right now, and Amazon in US soon.

Q Have you ever read Neptune’s Inferno by Hornfischer? Naval battles around Guadalcanal. Quite gripping. It was brutal.
A I have. Great book. Just got “The Fleet at Food Tide” also by Hornfischer about the latter part of the Pacific war.

Q Why didn’t you film Jamie hiding in the cabinet with baby Ian, and instead went with an adjacent room?
A Was hard to work out the choreography in the set. Felt like he could have handed the baby back to Jenny too easily in that room.

Q Who names the episodes? Surrender was perfect for this episode.
A The writer always gets to name their own episode.

Q Was the dog in the scene with Claire your family dog?
A Unfortunately not.

Q Thanks for the battle of Culloden boot camp training and experience of being on set of an incredible production shot here in Scotland.
A Thank YOU for your  hard work and dedication. Being an extra is very tiring and under appreciated, but it’s a critical part of any show.

My review of Episode 302, Surrender

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Erin Conrad