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It is still four months until Outlander returns to STARZ for its fifth season, which will play out over 12 episodes and is based on Diana Gabaldon’s The Fiery Cross, but on Saturday, Oct. 5, members of the cast of Outlander gathered for a panel, moderated by Ginger Zee, at New York Comic Con. Attending were Caitriona Balfe (Claire), Sam Heughan (Jamie), Duncan Lacroix (Murtagh), Maria Doyle Kennedy (Jocasta) and David Berry (Lord John Grey), as well as executive producers Ronald D. Moore and Maril Davis and author Gabaldon.

According to STARZ: Season 5 finds the Frasers fighting for their family and the home they have forged on Fraser’s Ridge. Jamie must find a way to defend all that he has created in America, and to protect those who look to him for leadership and protection – while hiding his personal relationship with Murtagh Fitzgibbons , the man whom Governor William Tryon (Tim Downie) has ordered him to hunt down and kill.

With her family together at last, Claire Fraser must use her modern medical knowledge and foresight to prevent them from being ripped apart once again. However, while focusing on protecting others, she risks losing sight of what it means to protect herself.

Meanwhile, Brianna Fraser (Sophie Skelton) and Roger MacKenzie (Richard Rankin) have been reunited, but the spectre of Stephen Bonnet (Edward Speleers) still haunts them. Roger strives to find his place – as well as Jamie’s respect – in this new and dangerous time. The Frasers must come together, navigating the many perils that they foresee – and those they can’t.

Following is a bit of what Heughan and Balfe had to say:

Caitriona and Sam, you are producers this season how will we see that impact season 5?

Caitriona: If it is good, we will take full credit. If there are any complaints, don’t call us. (joke) It has really been interesting to be able to see the behind the scenes and the work that goes on. A lot of this has been us observing and learning and I think that was very important to us to see what great work that they do behind the scenes on Outlander, just watching the work of each different department and the work that they do. We have the most incredible crew back in Scotland and being able to sit in on production meetings, and hearing what each one of them contributes has been eye opening. As actors, you show up on the day and say, “Look at everything,” but to see that process has been really interesting.

This is driven by Jamie and Claire’s love story. What can we expect in season 5?

Caitriona: It is so wonderful to be able to play a relationship that keeps growing and growing, and deepening and deepening. I think that is something that you really see evidence of this season. It is that time and the love they have for each other keeps expanding. You don’t think that is possible from season one, but it really does. They are there for each other no matter what. They support each other through really tough, tough times and their knowledge of each other and how intimately they know what is going on inside each other.

Sam: They are a great unit. They are a great partnership. They are looking out for their extended family, but together they are really strong. We had a scene the other day – I can’t give away too much – but we made love without making love. For me, that is what we were trying to do.

As Sam and Caitriona, have you learned something about each other recently?

Caitriona: I have learned he is a ridiculous human being (joke). I think we have been working so closely alongside each other for six years, and, it is true, we have a secondhand with each other and I know exactly what he is thinking many times.

Sam: I think that is it. We know each other and I can tell if she is upset or she has a sticking point.

If Jamie could go through the stones back to season one, what would he tell himself?

Sam: Don’t go near her. Your life is going to be a mess. She just turns his world upside down and every time he looks at her, I think he sees his own demise in that he knows he would do anything for her. He would die for her.

Are there times when people come up to you and think you can help them?

Caitriona: I sometimes think I can. Of course, if someone has a protruding something in their stomach, I think, “I will cut that open. I have my little scalpel.” (joke) It is really interesting, this season in particular, it is a combination of Claire using her knowledge from the ‘60s and using what’s around her to try and keep everybody safe at the Ridge. She has created a beautiful surgery and we have this amazing set. I get to do a lot of different operations this season.

Do you have a specific costume or prop that helps you get into your character?

Caitriona: I think in the very beginning, it was always the corset. Once you put on those undergarments, you are automatically transported to a different time. The very modern way we carry ourselves is automatically gone. I think that is the most transformative piece of costume that I wear.

Sam: It used to be the kilt, but now it is the boots. I have great boots. They give you more weight and stability.

How did you prepare for the medical aspect of your role?

Caitriona: We are really lucky we have this amazing medical advisor on the show called Dr. Claire, and she has been with us from the very beginning and I would be absolutely lost without her. Whenever we have a complicated medical procedure, I always meet with her. She talks me through everything I am going to do, everything from how you hold your scalpel, to how to tie a one-handed knot, to all of the different things. Also, in season three when we had these incredible surgeries, we had this incredible ER nurse who was there. She came in and she was, “No! It’s all wrong.” And she went and changed the layout of all the cotton swabs and things like that, so the detail is really incredible and it helps me do the job. I love learning the procedures and it is great because it is spongy bits and I can’t actually kill anybody when I am doing it.

How has Claire changed since season one?

Caitriona: So many ways. I think when we first meet Claire in season one, she is a very young woman, who wasn’t living her life in the present in some ways. She was not connected to who I think she was in many ways, and she was in a marriage that was fine, but not really true. I think it is like anyone, when you live your life to the fullest and with passion – like the passion she finds with Jamie and the passion she finds in her career – then you become a whole and full version of yourself. I think that is who we see Claire as now.

What adjustments have you made to your performance over the years since you are playing such a wide age range?

Sam: I think Jamie started off as this young man with no responsibility. He was hotheaded. He didn’t think before he acted. Now, he’s become almost his Uncle Colum (Gary Lewis), a laird of sorts. So, he has grown up. He is less tempestuous and impulsive, but he still has that Fraser fire. He is an adult now and I think that is the marked difference.

We are playing people who are way older than when we started. Then there is the appearance. We have a great makeup team. For myself, they do a lot of shading. The wig has more grey in it. It’s interesting to see how the character has evolved. And he has more scars. It has been a wonderful journey to go on with him.

Caitriona: I think it is a unique challenge to play someone who ages 30 years. One thing in season three, I think Claire had such an authority back in the ‘60s but she had a reserved nature because she was not living her full self. She was a compromised woman in some ways and when she goes back to the past, back to Jamie, I feel like she’s an ageless person when she’s with him. That’s something I love playing. Together, they are not old. Their hearts and their souls are ageless with each other.

Outlander season 5 returns on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020 on STARZ. [Source]

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