“Outlander” is being touted as the feminist response to shows like “Game of Thrones,” and for good reason. Its author, Diana Gabaldon, wrote a strong, capable heroine in Claire Randall because, in her own words, she isn’t a fan of “stupid women.”
During a group interview at San Diego Comic-Con, Gabaldon and “Outlander” showrunner Ron Moore explain why Claire is the biggest draw of the series. “I don’t like stupid women, so why would I write about one?” Gabaldon says.
Moore, who previously developed “Battlestar Galactica” and “Helix,” delves into the historical romance genre with “Outlander.” Though fans might think that’s a bit of a leap for him, he says Claire was the character who immediately grabbed him when his wife, Terry Dresbach, suggested he read Gabaldon’s novels.
“I really responded to her on the page and liked her and respected her,” he says. “I thought she was a smart, interesting character to wrap a story around. I really liked the period and the detail around the period. I like the history and I like historical fiction. I didn’t know much about 18th century Scotland and what was going on and yet there was an essential truth to it.”
Just like there is a respect between Moore and the character Claire, there is a respect between Moore and Gabaldon. Star Lotte Verbeek, who plays Geillis Duncan, says the two “get in touch on a daily basis,” and that “Diana really seems to be taken by the scripts and trust everyone working on this, so you feel that level of trust.”
“They have a great mutual respect for each other,” adds Graham McTavish, who plays Dougal MacKenzie.
Gabaldon doesn’t have a producing credit on “Outlander” and isn’t writing any of the show’s episodes like George R.R. Martin does for “Game of Thrones,” but she is perfectly happy with her level of involvement on the television adaptation of her beloved series.
“They’re very kind about including me,” she says. “They show me scripts and invite me to comment, which I do so sparingly, but I do comment. And they pay attention, which is very kind of them because they’re not obliged to take my opinion.”
“Outlander” premieres Saturday, Aug. 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Starz.
Reporting by Sydney Bucksbaum