- A Discovery of Witches -'Outlander' Fans Will Love Steven Cree's 'A Discovery Of Witches' Character Gallowglass
The century-spanning worlds of Outlander and A Discovery of Witches are about to feel one another's magic. Ian Murray actor Steven Cree will be vampire Gallowglass when A Discovery of Witches Season 2 premieres. This character is new to the series this season, so if you haven't read the Deborah Harkness books that the show is based on, here's everything you need to know about Cree's Gallowglass.
The Scottish Cree has been in projects like Pixar's Brave, Outlaw King, and Terminator: Dark Fate. But for American audiences, Outlander was his big breakout role as he appeared as Jamie's brother-in-law and friend Ian in Seasons 1–4. As there's already a good deal of similarities between Diana Gabaldon's Outlander novels and Harkness's All Souls trilogy, he's making fandom dreams come true in his new role as Gallowglass.
Gallowglass is widely considered a fan-favorite character (though, of course, there's debate about that), but he doesn't pop up until the second book, Shadow of Night. At the end of Season 1, Diana and Matthew attempted to timewalk to Matthew's past and although the season ended in a cliffhanger, previews for Season 2 confirm that they successfully land in Elizabethan London. It's in 1590 that Diana meets Matthew's warrior nephew Gallowglass.
To give you the de Clermont family tree (since vampire family trees are quite complicated), Gallowglass was sired by Hugh de Clermont. Hugh is the vampire son of Ysabeau's husband Philippe de Clermont. (Matthew refers to Philippe as his stepfather to Diana in Season 1.) As Hugh is his vampire brother, Matthew considers Gallowglass to be his nephew.
Cree explained Gallowglass's relationship with Matthew Goode's character in an interview with RadioTimes.com. "... he's incredibly loyal to Matthew and the Clairmonts, despite perhaps not necessarily always agreeing with everything, particularly with Philippe," Cree said. "But he's quite a bombastic type of guy, and enjoys having fun." And this fun-loving, blonde giant is quite handy when it comes to assisting vampire Matthew and witch Diana.
As for his unique name, book readers didn't know Gallowglass's true name while reading Shadow of Night or even the third All Souls book, The Book of Life. But Harkness revealed his name in The World of All Souls: The Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life. As she tweeted, Gallowglass's full vampire name is Eric Ragnall Brendan William Sorley de Clermont.
So why the Gallowglass? That's based on his past profession. Gallowglass were Irish mercenaries that were from Scottish clans of Scandinavian descent. (The fan site Daemons Domain helpfully outlined his background in a post and a podcast episode, mentioning that gallowglass mercenaries got a shoutout in Macbeth.) Fitting his name, Gallowglass is of Norse and Scottish descent. So... he's a Norse Viking-Scot... just like James Fraser. Coincidence? Well, very much yes since Jamie is no vampire.
Fans are excited about Gallowglass's arrival, but the character doesn't get that much love in the official Season 2 trailer with Cree only being briefly shown on the London streets. However, the preview featured during New York Comic Con (available below) gives a little more insight into why he's so beloved. He dramatically drops from a ceiling above and puts his Viking fighting skills to good use. In another scene, his good humor is on display as he and Matthew clasp hands.
During New York Comic Con, Harkness talked about the casting of Cree. "When Steven Cree took on the role, I was so grateful," the author said. "He is just perfect as Gallowglass. So much so that now when I write and I'm writing Gallowglass's dialogue in my head ... now I hear Steven."
The casting of Gallowglass was announced in September 2019. And Ginger Wiseman and Summer Reynolds, who host both The Outlander Podcast and The All Souls Podcast, share with The Dipp what they think about Cree in the role.
"Of course, as longtime fans of Outlander, we were thrilled at this crossover in casting," they say via email. "What better than one of our beloved Outlander actors spending even more time on our screens and as one of the most favorite characters of A Discovery of Witches?"
However, there was a bit of concern about the casting since Reynolds, who particularly loved Cree's portrayal of Ian Sr., worried she couldn't "see him as anything else" other than Jenny's husband. But that changed once A Discovery of Witches released photos of Cree in character. "And now I approve vehemently," she says.
In the RadioTimes.com interview, Cree acknowledged that his time on Outlander prepared him for taking on another role in a TV show based on a beloved historical-fantasy book series. "It wasn't until kind of after Outlander came out, really, that I kind of learned more about that. And when I joined Twitter, I kind of understood it even more. It has a fanbase immediately in place before you even start on it," Cree said. "Because of social media, I've been very aware of the expectations for Gallowglass. Whereas on Outlander, I had no idea." It's also through his social media that Cree has engaged with the fanbase — often giving very important wig updates.
Cree isn't the only actor to cross over from the two series (Simon Meacock played Hugh Munro on Outlander and according to IMDb, he will be Pole in one episode of A Discovery of Witches), but his turn from Ian Murray to Gallowglass is the most notable. He's even intertwined the fandoms further during COVID quarantine with Caitriona Balfe and Teresa Palmer joining him for the internet spoof Star Force.
Outlander fans are in limbo when it comes to whether or not they'll see Ian Sr. on their screens again since Starz hasn't renewed the series for a Season 7. But A Discovery of Witches fans can rest easy knowing that Season 3 already began filming... and that Cree and his beard will return. Now all there is to do is wait and see how his Gallowglass holds up to his novel counterpart when A Discovery of Witches Season 2 premieres in the U.S. on Sundance Now and Shudder on Saturday, Jan. 9.
Images: SkyTV, Starz