One of the biggest draws at this year’s Wizard World New Orleans was the Outlander panel held on Saturday, January 4, 2020. The panel was a delightful respite for fans suffering through Droughtlander and anxiously anticipating the premiere of the Starz series’ fifth season on February 16, 2020.
Sam Heughan (“Jamie Fraser”) participated in the panel which featured a Q&A with Outlander fans fortunate enough to make the trek to New Orleans as well as a trivia game pitting Heughan’s memory of events from the series based on Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling books against fans. He and his fellow cast members Maria Doyle Kennedy (“Jocasta Cameron”), Ed Speleers (” Stephen Bonnet”), and John Bell (“Young Ian”) also spent hours posing for photos and signing autographs during the 10th annual Wizard World New Orleans.
So, what did we learn about the upcoming season? Heughan’s gotten to be an expert at not revealing any spoilers. However, he did explain during the panel why we see Jamie in full Red Coat attire in the season’s latest trailer.
“I know, right?! Yes, I had a very late email conversation last night with some people because I wanted to make sure that we talk about it. I can’t really too much but it’s something that I really pushed for this season. I thought as a visual it’s a really strong image to see Jamie Fraser in a red coat. But also, everything that’s gone before…Black Jack Randall, Culloden…you know Jamie’s been fighting for his people, he’s been oppressed by the Red Coats. He’s been imprisoned by them. For him, it’s everything that he hates. I think for him to have to swallow that pride and that honor and to have to don the red coat is going to be something really, really special. It’s a big storyline in this so I don’t want to give too much away, but it is big for Jamie Fraser.”
“They weren’t going to put me in a hat and I asked for it as well. It just felt right. It’s the full uniform. The uniform sort of does something to Jamie as well,” said Heughan.
Heughan also revealed that while he loves the writing in the series, it’s the scenes that are lifted from the books that he really enjoys. “The scenes actually from the books, from Diana – thank you, Gabs – those scenes really for some reason they’re the ones that really have a lot of life to them. It’s because it’s her voice, you know? So, we’re very lucky that we still use a lot of her dialogue.”
He added, “Even if we don’t have certain…we missed some part in some books, we always still try to get them in later on or in other places.”
Edging as close to a spoiler as he could without giving too much away, Heughan confessed he hasn’t seen the final edits for season five while teasing what’s likely to be included. “There have been certain scenes – dare I say the cutting your initials into someone’s hand which I wouldn’t recommend for anyone – but we shot that scene I think about three times now and it’s still not made the cut yet. But it might one day appear.”
Diving into the heart of his character, Heughan was asked after five seasons of playing Jamie which traits he’s assimilated into himself and which traits of Jamie he still aspires to possess. “He’s remarkable,” replied Heughan. “I think the part that we all love and the part of the story that we all want is this love story. I think we’re all looking for that, aren’t we? We’re all looking for a relationship that’s mutually supportive and no matter what happens or where the other person goes, you’re always there with them. So, yeah, I think it’s a great love story, definitely, that Diana created.
I don’t know. Every character you play you have to bring yourself to, so I guess a different actor would play Jamie a different way. But I guess his dedication; I guess his stubbornness. I’ve got those. He’s probably funnier than I am. When he was younger, I think he was a bit more…he’s definitely more passionate than I am – more fiery.
It’s fun to see the similarities in yourself in a character but also to be surprised by them, to discover things. Sometimes when you read some stage direction or a line and you think, ‘Why is he saying that? I don’t know why he’s saying that.’ And then through rehearsing it or playing it, you really learn something about him. Sometimes you’re like, ‘Why are you doing that, Jamie? It’s dumb.’ (Laughing) But actually he sometimes just doesn’t think when he’s younger. But now that he’s gotten older, he’s a lot more wise. He’s a lot more savvy. He’s a lot more calculated. It’s nice to see that progression.”
A few projects outside of Outlander were brought up during the fan Q&A, including Bond, James Bond. When asked about roles he’d like to play other than Jamie Fraser, Heughan said, “I guess Bond would be fantastic. There’s been a lot of press about that and really I don’t quite know where it’s come from. But I did a long time ago audition for James Bond when they were remaking it with Daniel Craig – Bond 21,” explained Heughan. “I read a few scenes and met the director and the Broccolis. On the table they had the golden gun from Man with the Golden Gun. That was pretty intimidating, actually.
But as for a chosen role, I think probably I’d like to do something modern now. I have, obviously, two movies coming out this next year as well as Outlander. I have Bloodshot with Vin Diesel and I have another one called S.A.S. which was so fun because I got to wear a T-shirt and jeans. It’s just such a joy. I really enjoyed that – doing something modern, so maybe a modern piece.”