Cover Photo: One of the early promo shots of Jamie and Claire for Season 1 of Outlander, Starz
There was much celebrating yesterday, for the anniversary of the premiere of Outlander’s very first episode, Sassenach which graced our screens 7 years ago, on August 9, 2014. I would imagine this was a big moment for everyone in the production, as they waited anxiously to see how all their hard work would be received. Indeed, Sam and Cait were relative “unknowns” in that moment, unaware of how their lives were about to change, shaped by the journey of Outlander over the next seven + years.
And, of course, it didn’t start there. Sam’s casting was announced on July 9, 2013 with the approval of Herself…
— Diana Gabaldon (@Writer_DG) July 9, 2013
And after seeing scads of possible Claires, the production chose Caitriona, and her casting was announced on September 11, 2013…
— Caitríona Balfe (@caitrionambalfe) September 11, 2013
Filming began a short three weeks after Caitriona landed in Glasgow, after quick goodbyes to her home, life and friends in LA. She has said this whirlwind helped her to inhabit the character of Claire, thrown into the foreign world of the 1743 Scottish Highlands. (more on Cait’s casting story here).
But of course, the timeline started even before that. In July 2012, Sony acquired the rights to Outlander, with Ron D. Moore and Jim Kohlberg (Story Mining and Supply Co) also on board. Starz came on in November 2012. The writing team was hired in April 2013, and the first director, John Dahl was announced in August, 2013.
Before that, over the years, Diana had received offers from creatives wanting to make the book series into a feature film or miniseries, in fact, over 20 years, there were four options granted. Lucky for us, none of those happened, until Sony approached her in 2011 about making Outlander into a TV series.
Fast forward ten years, and here we are.
To celebrate yesterday’s milestone, there were lots of great BTS photos and posts on SM – I have captured my favorites here. Enjoy…
From Outlander Starz…
BTS from that classic scene in Ep 101, Sassenach – “I guess that means yer comin’ with me.” Starz
BTS shot of filming Episode 101, Sassenach, Foreground: Grant, Graham, Duncan and Sam on location. Background: (I think that’s) Maril, chatting with Àdhamh ÓBroin, Starz
BTS of the druids! Lead by Mrs. Graham, all bedecked in matching robes. From Season 1, Ep 101, Sassenach. Starz
From Cait on Twitter… “7 years!!!!! The anniversary of our first airing and what a thrilling ride it’s been since then.. Thank you to all our fans who’ve stuck with us so faithfully year after year and to [Diana Gabaldon] for giving us all this gift. And Outlander Starz and SPTV for the continued support.”
Caitriona, age 35. My guess is this was taken after shooting the WWII nursing scenes, which were in the very first days of shooting.
Diana responded today, saying, “And what a great ride it’s been! Couldn’t have done it without you! (literally…)”
And what a great ride it's been! Couldn't have done it without you! (literally…) 😘🌈 https://t.co/P5bqlxauou
— Diana Gabaldon (@Writer_DG) August 10, 2021
From Sam on Instagram…
“7 years ago today Outlander Starz premiered! These are the first photos I have on my phone (I actually lost my phone on set in the prison whilst filming the season 1 finale). After 7 years, looks like nothings changed, still learning my lines whilst Cait sleeps.🙌❤️”
Sam, age 35, reviews his script during filming of Episode 116, with one of the dead guys we got to see in this scene from Ep 115, (when Claire gets expelled though the trap door by BJR).
Cait snuggling with one of the wee fellows during a break
Sam in the break room between shoots of Ep 116, To Ransom A Man’s Soul
Maril Davis tweeted something encouraging, for those of us die-hards who are hoping for ten full seasons of Outlander – “I can’t believe that it’s been 7 years since this amazing show first premiered. Congrats to all the amazing people who have been on this journey. And thanks to the fans for being on this ride with us. So excited we have much more to share with everyone!!!”
Duncan Lacroix piped up on Instagram and included this photo – “Seven years ago today Outlander first appeared on your screens where I got to bash Caitriona Balfe on the head with my Dirk and take her back to see the lads for a nice cuppa and a chat.”
Seasons 1-4 Costume Designer Terry Dresbach added these today, saying “One afternoon, I walk into my office…”
Season 1 prep, the Highlanders in Terry Dresbach’s office, for fittings, no doubt, photos by Terry Dresbach, Twitter.
Costuming starts well before filming, often in parallel with script writing, at least on Outlander, and you can tell by the haircuts that this was early days. I asked Terry via Twitter when she and Gary Steele (production designer for Seasons 1-5) came on board,
She said, “A year before shooting. We did a HUGE presentation of the visual concept for the show that Ron used to sell the idea to Starz.”
A year before shooting.
We did a HUGE presentation of the visual concept for the show that Ron used to sell the idea to Starz.
— Terry Dresbach (Outlander Costume) (@OutlanderCostum) August 11, 2021
Terry also marked the anniversary by including a photo of the first “knit collar thing” that was conceived and later became a hallmark of Claire’s costumes…
“The costume needs SOMETHING. She will freeze to death. Where is that knit collar thing I got??”
Season 1 costuming process, Terry trying to keep Caitriona warm on location, came up with the “knit collar thing” (and sleeves). Photo taken in her office at the studio in Cumbernauld, UK, Terry Dresbach, Twitter. (This is not Cait modeling).
Here are some lovely early Season 1 promo shots, when ironically, like Jamie and Claire, these two didn’t know each other very well yet…
Along those lines, here is a video from Outlander Obsessed, which shows Sam and Cait filming what became the poster for Outlander Season 1. Keep in mind they’re in the Scottish Highlands, sometime in the winter or spring, Cait has virtually nothing on, AND they’re blowing a fan on her!! She must’ve been freezing her arse off! This was probably not foreign to Cait, as she had modeled for a good ten years before joining the cast of Outlander.
C. Diane Manning did some sleuthing and came up with this shot from Ron’s Twitter back on premiere day, 8/9/14, commemorating the first day of filming a year before, in September, 2013.
For a look at the Season 1 Boot Camp, which is always fun and a must see if you haven’t, go to OutlanderBTS #TBT: Season 1 Boot Camp, Where it All Started…
Have a lovely day. xo
Click here for the second edition in the OutlanderBTS: Where Are They Now series.
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