Ron Moore, the captain of the Outlander ship, took to Twitter tonight to answer fan questions – lots of questions!
Q You’ve brought the goods in Season 3. Will you and team bring tall ships into our homes as if we are on the high seas with you?
A Thank you! We worked very hard on the tall ships for the rest of the season and only locked the finale last week. I think you’ll like them.
Q Do you think the Dragonriders of Pern will ever be made into a TV series?
A You never know, but there’s nothing in development that I know about.
Q Really really dying to know why Claire and Jamie didn’t hug/cry/have an ecstatic reunion in the print shop?
A It seemed pretty ecstatic to us. We let the actors play the scene as naturalistically as possible, and I think they conveyed the emotions.
Q I’ve felt Season 3 has a great rhythm continuity to it… do you guys feel that?
A I think that internally we all feel like this is a great season and possibly our strongest to date, so thank you.
Q Loved the episode! Was the last shot on 308 a drone shot or helicopter? Was the tall ship real or CGI?
A It was a drone shot. The ship was CGI as was a fair amount of the cliff and landscape.
Q I was so happy to see Murtagh live. It was a great deviation from the book. What made you decide to keep him alive?
A We used Murtagh in a different way than the book, made him more a pivotal part of the family and felt like we wanted him to continue with us.
Q Jamie once gave Claire the chance to go back to her old life in Season 1. Was Claire doing the same on the cliff?
A I think that’s a fair reading.
Q What’s the one scene you had to leave out for time constraints that really hurt to leave on the editing floor?
A Can’t remember off-hand, unfortunately. There’s a lot of extended bits of scenes that’ll be in the DVD release, though.
Q Do you know yet if there will be a season 5?
A Not yet.
Q Whose idea was it to release the scripts for fans? (Thank you!) Are all scenes in the script usually filmed? Fergus scene?
A I think that was Sony. Generally, everything that’s in the final draft is actually filmed.
Q What has been your favorite Outlander episode to date and why?
A I’m partial to the Garrison Commander. Bravura performances but in a very limited space. Felt like a stage play but never claustrophobic.
Q Will you always make a point of writing the first episode of every season?
A I broke with that tradition in Season 4.
Q Who do you bet on in a street fight? Jamie or Starbuck?
A Starbuck. She’d bring some high-caliber firepower just in case.
Q Given changes in technology, what advance has allowed you to tell stories now that couldn’t be done 10 or 20 years ago?
A CGI has changed the game in so many ways. The show wouldn’t have nearly the scope or scale with the technology from two decades ago.
Q Can you confirm that S4 will air next fall?
A Nothing official yet.
Q When are we going to see Murtagh again?
A Be patient…
Q Loving S3! Will things be handled a bit different for S4 since not as much travel for exotic locales?
A Like every season, Four will have a distinct tone and feeling to it. That’s one of the great things about the show.
Q How long does it take to film one episode?
A We shoot in two episode blocks and it takes about a month to prep and a month to shoot.
Q When the script is different than the book, do you also have to look at changing future scenes as well?
A We always try to keep the continuity of the show as we move forward. Both Frank and Murtagh have significantly different stories as a result.
Q You and the writers have done a beautiful job with the adaptation. How involved have you been with individual scripts?
A I supervise all of them, give notes at the story and script stage. But Toni and Matt do the day to day heavy lifting.
Q Have you had any Kobayashi Maru scenarios as showrunner of Outlander?
A Every day…
Q Is there anything fans can do to help lobby for more seasons?
A Have your friends sign up for Starz or buy the app!
Q What made Jamie marry Laoghaire aside from her girls? Had to justify it somehow to himself, given what she did to Claire.
A There had always been a little chemistry there, remember him in S1. also, once Claire seemed to forgive her in S2 it allowed him to as well.
— Diana Gabaldon (@Writer_DG) November 7, 2017
Q Was there a discussion to show us more of Claire as a surgeon in the 50s/60s and more of her friendship with Joe?
A Yes, we had other scenes and subplots with both, but they got squeezed out as the shows developed.
Q Have you ever filmed alternative scenes to see which would work best, and if so, been surprised at which one you decided on?
A No. In my experience, this is more legend than fact in the industry. Costs too much to do in most cases.
Q Excited about the ships… what was the best/worst part about filming on them?
A The smell of fake vomit actually made people sick during 310.
Q Will there be more mentions of Frank this season? Feels like there is so much unresolved between Jamie and Claire.
A He’s gone but not forgotten by any of the characters.
Q Do you read the press reviews each week?
A I glance at a sampling, but try not to do it too much. I like keeping a certain distance from the response.
Q What is your ultimate goal in producing Outlander? Keeping the fans happy or maintaining authenticity?
A My goal is always to do a good show, one that I’m proud of and one that meets my expectations of myself and my team.
Q Because I’m an accountant, what’s the biggest expense in creating the show?
A Culiean’s expense account.
Q If there was a supporting character you could bring back from the dead from S1 or S2, who would it be?
A I miss Dougal and Colum and Angus and Rupert something fierce.
Q Are you committed to completing 1 book per season or are you open to having books last longer?
A We approach each season with an open mind. So far the one book per season has worked well, but it could change.
Q If Jamie couldn’t swim back with the treasure when he first found it, how was Ian going to get back to shore with it?
A I think our rationalization was that Jamie was tired and weak from years in prison and wasn’t really all that interested in the treasure anyway.
Q Is it hard making Scotland look like America? Any issues you’ve come up against in season 4? Will you eventually come to North Carolina?
A It’s tricky, but it’s surprising what you can get away with. Justified shot in Southern CA but was set in Kentucky – much to my shock.
Q Out of all the tv series you have been involved in, is it easier to do an adaptation or start from scratch?
A They’re very different challenges, hard to say which is harder. Each can drive you crazy and each has special joys.
Q (from Robyn Harney, Sony TV publicist) Can you bring me back British chocolate the next time you go to set? #ImOnlyKindaKidding
A Sure. A box or a crate?
Q Are you amazed by what Terry and Gary Steele do to bring the books to life? Hogmanay was incredible.
A They amaze me with their talent every week. They’re both at the very top of their professions and we’re lucky to have them.
Q How do you keep track of all the plot deviations, such as the early William reveal, so that you can change the future scenes?
A We have a crack staff in the writer’s room that tracks all of those kinds of things.
Q How did young Ian plan to get that box of treasure back to shore?
A He has very strong teeth.
Q Did any of the scenes on the ships include actual sailing on the water or is it all CGI? That ship looked so real!
A Nothing on the actual ocean. We used the Black Sails ships, and some are in water tanks.
Q Was surprised by the negative reaction this seasons. Most fans love it. Do you do pep talk with cast and crew since you’ve experienced this with Star Trek?
A I tell everyone not to get too caught up in the reactions of the moment. The show lives forever, that’s the important thing.
Q The writers create the script, what we see is an interpretation of the script by the director, or do the writers have a say?
A There’s a writer/producer there all through prep and through the entire shoot. Changes are a collaborative decision.
Q S2: Brianna and Roger go up to Craigh na Dun. Roger says, “It smells like a f**king barbeque.” Did Rick come up with that line?
A I think Toni came up with that line as a callback to S1.
Q When Jamie speaks of the “sun coming out” when he’s with Claire, are they not your words and feelings for your wife Terry?
A That is very true… and always will be.
Q (from @SamHeughansHair) Which of my looks is your favorite? Loose free ginger madness? Plaited? In a tricorn hat? or dunbonnet?
A I dig that tricorn.
Q Do you have a tradition on the first day or filming and/or the last day?
A After the first shot I always shake hands with everyone around the camera. On the last I look for a cigarette.
Q I wanted Claire to tell Jenny the truth earlier in the book… did you guys contemplate revealing the truth earlier than it was in the book?
A We’ve talked about this several times. It comes up in regards to her and other characters depending on the circumstances.
Q I began to read the Outlander books because of S1. I’m enjoying S3 but not everybody does. How do you take criticism?
A It comes with the territory. Trust me, the Outlander fans are no more critical than the Trek or BSG fans – it’s part of loving a show!
Q At what point did you decide to veer from the book and start S3 from Jamie’s perspective at Culloden?
A Pretty early on. Back in S2 I knew we were going to start S3 with Culloden.
Q How involved with the editing are you?
A It’s one of my favorite parts of the process so I’m very involved. Joe Menosky once told me “you do your 2nd draft in the editing room.”
Q Have you ever really disliked a scene already shot and made everyone do it all over again?
A I wasn’t happy with the wedding scene from S1, so we did it again. Ultimately, it’s my fault if something wasn’t done right the first time.
Q Which prop, if any, will you keep from the show?
A I have my eye on a couple of things…
Q My son is a huge fan of yours. He’s a software guy but would love to write for TV. Do you have any advice for Tom?
A It’s a hard business, full of rejection. Tom, believe in your talent even when no one else does and keep at it until you succeed.
Q Are all the scripts for each season written before filming begins, or do they write them as filming goes on?
A We’re constantly writing and rewriting all through the season.
Q Do you get the final say in the editing room and once a scene has been cut have you ever changed your mind and put it back in?
A I do get the last word but I have definitely been persuaded after the fact to go back and change something. You have to keep an open mind.
Q What are you watching these days, besides Outlander of course.
A Just started Mindhunter. Binged Narcos and Rick & Morty recently.
Q Was Jamie really on just whisky in surgery or laudanum from Claire’s bag? He didn’t flinch an inch!
A He’s the King of Men, what did you expect?
Q The part where BJR reaches for Jamie when they are near the end of the fight – was that scripted or something Tobias improvised?
A It wasn’t scripted. I think the actors and director came up with that during rehearsal.
Q Will you make another cameo appearance in a future event?
A It’s no picnic being an extra, so probably not – I don’t like to work as hard as they do.
Q Which would you rather have: more air time for an episode or more filming time to perfect the air time you have?
A More filming time, absolutely.
Q What’s going on with Murtagh? Wondering why Jamie hasn’t yet told Claire about Murtagh surviving Culloden and being at Ardsmuir.
A I think we can assume Jamie tells her about this off-camera.
Q How do you balance the wishes of the book fans with the non-readers who follow the show?
A We try to keep both audiences in mind. But in the end, you have to go with what you think is the best story and hope the audience agrees.
Q Is there already a director assigned to the season finale?
A It’s already been shot and locked! Directed by our own Matt Roberts.
Q I thought Matt was a writer/producer, not a director.
A He’s actually been directing second unit for some time now.
Q Have you fully stepped back from all Outlander production? And if so, why?
A No, I’m still involved but I’ve delegated more of the day to day duties to Matt & Toni.
Q Which writer tends to be the last one standing defending his/her position in the writers room?
A They’re all passionate and willing to fight to the end. That’s the mark of a good writers’ room.
Q Whose idea was it to do podcasts? They give us such a great insight into all your hard work. Missed you in the last!
A It was my idea. I enjoyed doing them for BSG so I thought it would be great to do it again for Outlander.
Q I love the podcasts. Are they recorded after, near the air time, or after the final cut is locked?
A Much closer to airtime – sometimes too close!
Q How do you select which questions to answer?
A It’s hard to keep up with the torrent of questions, so I just try to scan through them and look for ones that are new.
Q Do you have a fave classic film actress/actor? I’m fond of Bette Davis (oh what she does with her face!) and Cary Grant.
A I’m right there with you on Bette Davis.
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