“Outlander” might have just wrapped Season 1, but filming is already underway for the Starz series’ second season. The plan is to have it premiere in 2016 with a straight run of at least 13 episodes, and fans already know they’re in for a shift in settings. As the Season 1 finale established, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) are heading to Paris.
Scotland will double for the interiors of the French scenes, but “Outlander” is going globe-trotting around Europe to find exteriors that are true to what 18th-century Paris would look like. Somewhat surprisingly, that doesn’t involve shooting in France at all.
“We’re looking for street scenes; a place that looks like Paris in the 18th century. So we looked around and Prague was the closest we could do,” showrunner Ron Moore tells Zap2it. “We’re not shooting those scenes yet. We’ll shoot them all together, so all the Paris episodes, we’ll take out all the street scenes and save them, and then go to Prague once and shoot all those scenes.
“We’re also doing some shooting in the south of England at some other palaces, for interiors and exteriors that would feel sort of like Versailles and other locations in Paris.”
Season 2 will be based on Diana Gabaldon’s novel “Dragonfly in Amber,” which is much more politically charged than her first book, “Outlander.” That means Season 2 will have a different feel than the first season, as instead of Jamie and Claire coming to know one another and falling in love they’ll be trying to stop the Battle of Culloden — the final battle that ended the Jacobite Rising, a loss that forever changed Scotland — from happening.
“It’s a very different book, and so the pacing and the structure is very different,” Moore says. “The first half of the book is all in Paris and it’s very political and it’s a lot of conspiracies and maneuvering and
gossips and double-dealing as they’re trying to stop Culloden and start to change history, and then the book shifts and they return to Scotland and then it’s a war story. It’s two very distinct halves.
“You could theoretically broadcast it in two pieces because they are almost standalone sections, but right now the intention is probably to show them straight through.”
There are plenty of other twists and turns in Season 2, and Moore is keeping them close to his chest. Two of those are new characters Brianna and Roger, who haven’t been cast yet. Moore won’t tease when fans can expect to meet them, saying, “I don’t think I’m ready to give that away yet.”
He will say viewers can expect to see Lotte Verbeek return as Geillis Duncan but is tight-lipped on anything more than that. Also returning is Tobias Menzies as Claire’s present day husband Frank — but will he also reprise his role as the evil Black Jack, who was trampled by bulls when viewers last saw him?
“It’s a spoiler for people who haven’t read the books,” Moore says of whether that should be answered before Season 2 premieres. “It’s a difficult question because it’s sort of like ‘Game of Thrones’; if you’ve read the books, everything is fair game. If you haven’t, you don’t want to know anything.”
“Outlander” Season 2 still doesn’t have a set premiere date beyond the vague 2016, and fans are speculating it could coincide with the 270th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden on April 16 (a Saturday). While that’s certainly a sound theory, Moore says he hasn’t even considered it.
“I hadn’t even thought about,” he admits. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Starz is way ahead of me. It has intricate plans, but I haven’t thought about it at all.”