- Outlander -Diana Gabaldon Tells Us About 'Outlander' Season 6 Production, Scripts, & COVID Difficulties
Claire Fraser knows a thing or two about vaccines (particularly those of the smallpox variety). But even Dr. Claire hasn't faced the struggle of filming a hit TV show during a global pandemic. The woman who created her, however, does, which is why we asked Diana Gabaldon to give us details on filming Outlander Season 6 and how COVID-19 has impacted production.
Though the Arizona-based author hasn't been to the Glasgow set of the Starz series for this season (finishing the ninth Outlander book and pandemic restrictions haven't been ideal travel companions), Gabaldon was able to share a bit about what she's seen so far and her part in the adaptation process. "It's incredibly more difficult than previous seasons just because of the logistical considerations," she tells The Dipp.
As a consultant, she continues to "comment on scripts and dailies and things like that." But as anyone who follows her on social media knows, she's more than willing to share her opinion when the Starz adaptation does something she's not particularly impressed with.
When it comes to the good, I previously reported on her approval of the actors cast to portray the Christies. Here's what else the brain behind Outlander had to say about Season 6.
Note: Since we spoke on April 9, there surely has been some progress in the status of production and updates to COVID-19 restrictions.
The status of the Season 6 scripts
"They're still iterating. I haven't seen all of them, no. But I see them as they come in. And then I see them as they're revised. [laughs] So the first two episodes are– there's still stuff missing from one of those. But most of the pieces are there."
How COVID-19 is impacting filming
"They're filming in a little more of a scattershot way because of the COVID restrictions as they're having to build sets that are larger than usual. And in order to keep the members of the crew at a safe distance from the actors, they can't do what they usually do and have a cameraman standing right behind an actor looking over his or her shoulder into the face of the other actor, nor can they be standing in front of them like that. They need to be at least six feet away, which is going to change the photographical aspect of it.
So it looks a little different. It still looks good, but it is more difficult, plainly, to make all these adjustments and make sure that everybody is staying safe. Sam Heughan said they have to be COVID tested every morning when they come on set. [He] said he thinks his nose is going to fall off."
On the dailies (unedited scenes) she's seen so far
"They're actually really good. Especially, there's a number of new actors, who are portraying different characters. Well, all of them I've seen have been really great. But in particular, the ones playing Tom Christie and his daughter Malva Christie."
Whether she's still giving the show feedback
"Yeah, if I can think of something constructive to say rather than, 'Oh, my god.' [laughs] And, in fact, they do an absolutely amazing job with the adaptation. I personally would have no idea how to adapt anything like the scope of my books into a coherent television show. And yet they do this very well.
Occasionally, you get to something slightly awkward. And that usually happens when they pick a direction that they think a character should go that isn't really amenable to that character's personality. But it doesn't last long, it's just these little jogs. And usually, it's really good. The actors are extremely good and can do a good job with just about anything. But they do have good scripts to work with, too, as a general rule."
If she'd visit the Season 6 set
"I didn't go at all for Season 4 or 5 I don't think. So I don't know. It kind of depends how long they shoot and what the travel restrictions for the UK are, things like that. If it worked out, I would certainly love to be on set, but I don't know that I will need to be in the UK at a time when they have lifted all their restrictions."
Here's hoping Gabaldon and the Outlander cast and crew can be reunited at the Season 6 premiere!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.