Get ready for a bit of a shock.
We're just about a week away from the premiere of Outlander's second season, and when Starz' epic romance returns, you're probably going to be a bit confused. Whether you're a book fan or just a fan of the show, there are plenty of surprises in store.
You can probably already tell that the show is going to look different, given the pictures that have been released so far, but the look is not the only thing that will be a new experience in at least the first half of season two. We caught up with executive producer Ronald D. Moore and stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan at the celebration of their TV Guide Magazine cover to get the scoop on what's to come.
"For the people that have read the books, I think they know the general plot and where we're going, but we're going to open the season different than the books do, so that's surprise one," executive producer Moore tells E! News of the upcoming season, which is based on the second book in the series, "Dragonfly in Amber." "For the non-book fans, we're going to start not where you expect at all based on where you last saw Claire and Jamie, sailing off to France to change history. We're going to sort of surprise you right off the bat with what happened."
Trust us when we say the season's opening scene is a shock to the system. We asked Caitriona Balfe if she had any advice on how to prepare you, but she had none.
"I want them to be surprised!" she tells us of that first scene. "I want them to be shocked. I love that [Ron Moore] chose that way to tell the story. He shows us in the beginning where we're going to end up, and then it's like a choice of here's how we get there, and I thought it was a really bold, wonderful move."
While the start of the season may not be quite what you expected, don't get confused or discouraged. Moore promises that book fans will not be disappointed.
"For the people that have read the books, I think they know the general plot and where we're going," he tells us. "I think all the major events of the second book are present in the second season. Sometimes we get there in different ways, we might do them in little different sequence than the book presents it, but I'd say all the major scenes that the book fans are probably looking forward to are going to be there."
The biggest and most obvious change between seasons one and two is the location and the look of the show, since all the action has moved to the French Court of King Louis XV.
"I would say the people who don't know the books probably think of this as the Scottish show, so the biggest change is just that half of this season takes place in Paris and looks and feels very very different than season one," Moore says. "It's a whole different kind of feel for the show. It's going to look like we reinvented the show, and we did. We had to sort of reinvent the whole way we did this production for the first half of this story, so that will be the biggest change to people that don't quite know where we're going."
The look will be different, and the emotions will be different as well."Season one was two people getting to know each other and the honeymoon and the marriage and kind of a new relationship, a discovery," Heughan explains of the changing and growing relationship between Claire and Jamie. "Season two for me is very much a grown-up relationship, a modern day marriage with all its kind of grey areas and complexity."
The French court is also a whole new world for both Jamie and Claire, since it requires a whole new kind of behavior and way of thinking.
"They're trying to learn to interact with each other, but also what's required of them in this society," Heughan continues. "Claire's required to be a woman of leisure and he's supposed to be out on this mission so they're both playing roles and their roles are what neither of them are suited to, but they get good at it and they learn to adapt, but it's poisonous and it certainly changes their relationship. So I think it's more dark this season in a strange way."
"I always felt that Claire last season was very reactionary," Balfe says of the whole new Claire we're going to meet in season two. "She was just surviving from moment to moment and things were coming at her so fast that there wasn't a second for her to really wallow in anything or absorb anything, and this season she's so much more contemplative, and with that, things bubble to the surface. A lot of it is also sort of helping Jamie deal with his PTSD from last season, and her solution is to make him busy and give him a mission and give him something to sort of challenge himself with. I think it's a much more emotionally mature woman you're going to see this season."
Basically, everything is different, but there's no doubt it's the same show you fell in love with last season. However, if the change in setting scares you, there's no need to worry—Claire and Jamie will be back in Scotland before you even know it for the second half of the season.
"In all honesty, I think not only for myself as an actor but for the characters as well, it is a relief," Heughan says of heading back to where the story began. "Scotland to them is a healing place and a familiar place and you'll have to watch. The second half really is a great climax, a great finish to the season."
Outlander returns to Starz Saturday, April 9 at 9 p.m. And make sure to check back with us all next week leading out to the season two premiere for exclusive scoop and interviews with the cast!