- Outlander -Graham McTavish Hasn’t Ruled Out Returning To ‘Outlander’ In Future Seasons
Graham McTavish said goodbye to Outlander when Dougal MacKenzie was killed by his nephew — and his nephew's wife — in the Season 2 finale. But the actor made his triumphant return when McTavish appeared in Outlander Season 5 as Dougal's son Buck MacKenzie.
His appearance was a shock to the fandom since production kept it a secret and many people had assumed that Mark Barrett would fill the role of Geillis and Dougal's son, William Buccleigh "Buck" MacKenzie. While speaking to The Dipp, McTavish says that he too was taken a bit aback when he was approached for the role — but that didn't mean the actor hesitated at all when Outlander came a-knocking again.
"There was surprise on my part," McTavish tells me of his return to Outlander during a Zoom call. "I kind of half expected them to ask me to come back as Dougal in some kind of flashback."
Having kept busy since Dougal's demise in the 2016 episode "Dragonfly in Amber," McTavish was on the set of Preacher when he got the call from Outlander to come back. "When they actually said, 'No, we'd like you to come back as your own son,' I was like, 'Huh, how's that gonna work?'"
Tobias Menzies set the precedent of the same actor playing both ancestor and descendant when Outlander first began. But McTavish's double roles were seasons apart when Dougal's illegitimate son Buck came onto the scene in Season 5, Episode 7, "The Ballad of Roger Mac." While Buck is a grown man with a family of his own, it still meant McTavish had to be playing a character decades younger than his actual 59-year-old self. But the production of Outlander, who has been reserved when it comes to the aging-up of Heughan's Jamie and Caitriona Balfe's Claire, took on the task of aging-down McTavish for this bit of inspired casting.
"The makeup department did a fine job," McTavish says of his dark, long-haired look. "Some people didn't recognize me at all."
Beyond giving fans a shock, it also added to the menacing nature of McTavish's return, because Buccleigh isn't introduced in the most flattering light. When he sees Roger hugging his wife Morag, he assumes the worst, and things turn violent — fast. He goes to attack Morag and when Roger stops him, he beats Roger and falsely turns him over as a Regulator to the British army.
But the actor can understand, in part, why Buck reacted the way he did. "I mean, he obviously had inherited Dougal's extraordinary anger and rage about many things," McTavish says. "As far as he was concerned, the guy was hitting on his wife."
While turning his ancestor over to be hanged by the Redcoats may be a tad on the extreme sign, McTavish jokingly reasons his character's actions. After all, what was Buck supposed to have done in that situation?
"I see him hugging my wife and I [am supposed to say], 'Go on! Carry on! Don't worry, it's fine. Stay for dinner!'?" McTavish says in a faux-thick Scottish accent. (Even though he was born in Glasgow, his own accent is a far cry from Dougal or Buck's.) "No, no, no, no. He's lucky I didn't bite his nose off ... The family trademark move — just lean in and rip it off," referencing a particularly savage Dougal moment that was cut from the Battle at Prestonpans.
(He lamented about Dougal's nose-biting scene being left on the cutting room floor to Vulture after Dougal's death and, as evidenced by our Zoom call, McTavish is still not over it. "It would have been great. And it would've been totally realistic," he says.)
In his brief appearances in "The Ballad of Roger Mac" and "Famous Last Words," Buck was a jealous man whose vengeance was terrifying — even against his own ancestor. (Though, to be fair, how was Buck to know Roger is his time-traveling relative?) So maybe it's a relief to know that Buck is not in Book 6 of the Outlander series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes.
That means McTavish's second Outlander character most likely won't return in Season 6, but as people who have read Diana Gabaldon's novels know, Buck comes back into Roger's life in a big way in Books 7 and 8, An Echo in the Bone and Written in My Own Heart's Blood. And despite Buck not being the most pleasant character at the outset, McTavish seems quite keen to continue portraying him.
"I'd love to give Buck another airing," McTavish says, teasing a possible return if Outlander is renewed for a Season 7. "It'd be fun."
Not sure Roger would consider it "fun," but TV fans would be willing to give Buck a second chance — at least with McTavish playing him.