The first half of Outlander season seven has come to an end with episode eight (‘Turning Points’), with Jamie, Claire and Ian leaving the American Revolutionary War and finally heading back to Scotland, while in the 20th century Roger and Bree discovered Rob Cameron has kidnapped their son, Jemmy.

There’s eight more episodes of the time-travelling drama series still to come – they have already been filmed but are not scheduled to be aired until 2024 – as well as a final eighth season that will wrap up the stories of the Fraser and Mackenzie families.

Still reeling from the cliffhangers at the end of mid-season finale, Digital Spy sat down for an exclusive chat with executive producer Maril Davis about that finale, what to expect from the second half of the season, and the long-awaited return of fan favourite Graham McTavish…

You’ve packed a lot of story into season seven so far – is it hard to decide what to leave out from Diana Gabaldon’s books?

It’s always hard because everyone has different favourite moments, and sometimes your favourite moments are not necessarily something that moves the plot forward. And while that’s fine in a book, we have to keep the dramatic tension going and keep things moving on screen – and sometimes things that work in the book don’t work in the show.

This season started with elements from book six, A Breath Of Snow And Ashes. Where does it end up?

Going into this season, we didn’t know if it would be our last. So we were like, let’s put it all in there. So they [the writers] took the last part of book six, then seven and the eighth. And they smushed it all together and I think they did such an amazing job grabbing all the high moments but still making it a cohesive season.

And it’s so exciting. But the second half is even more exciting – it’s like the second half does not give you time to breathe. There are so many ups and down for everyone and so many life moments. I can’t even put it into words – the second half is going to be even crazier than the first.

After the second half of season seven, due next year, there is one more season to go. What will that cover?

We’ve condensed quite a lot of material this time and it’s really worked. So the last season will be mostly book nine or whatever – maybe things we’ve left out that we feel can make a cohesive story for the last season.

Is it hard to plan the end of the series because Diana Gabaldon is still writing Outlander novels (she’s working on book ten)?

Matt [showrunner Matt Roberts] and I have had conversations with Diana, just kind of feeling her out about the last season and some ideas of what we’re thinking. Obviously we don’t want to step on her toes, we want to be respectful.

She’s been so kind and open and giving with her book series and her love of what we’ve been doing and we want to share that respect. Certainly, we don’t want to do something in the show that maybe she hasn’t done in the books yet, or is planning to do but obviously it’s always a little difficult to wrap up a series before the books have ended.

Can you say anything about how Outlander will end at the end of season eight?

We want a satisfying ending for the show and for the fans and to leave them feeling like, ‘Okay, it’s really sad but we’re satisfied with how this ended.’ So there’s a lot of pressure and we have been talking to Diana and will continue to do so and will tell her our ending – we want to make sure she’s happy as well.

Can you tell me your ending?

I’ll be honest, I don’t even totally know the ending. I have an idea and certainly Matt Roberts has some really great ideas but nothing has been decided yet. I promise you’ll be maybe the 200th person to know!

Going back to the first half of season seven, do you have a favourite scene from episode eight, the mid-season finale?

There are a couple of special moments. Obviously we’ve been waiting to see Jamie face William and that moment where he shoots the fun and tries to miss Simon Fraser and then realises he’s almost killed William – the look on Sam’s [Heughan] face, showing that his worst fears almost came true. I love that scene.

And I love when Jamie gives William his hat and it’s like, ‘I owe you a hat, sir,’ and William realises this is the man who shot his hat off. And I love seeing Jamie and Claire talking about Benedict Arnold, that’s a lot of fun.

What about the scene between Young Ian and Rachel when he kisses her?

Of course, hello, I am a romantic at heart! I love it, it’s a classic, iconic scene and I think there’s so much great chemistry between Izzy [Meikle-Small] and John [Bell] – they’re a great team.

The episode also features the second Battle of Saratoga – are battle scenes the hardest ones to film?

Yeah – I mean, we’re not Game Of Thrones! We don’t have Game Of Thrones money so battles have to be approached in a different way. In episode seven, a battle was scene from William’s point of view and in episode eight it’s Jamie’s point of view and I love that in that way, it lets us still have the battles and they’re still exciting but it’s focused in a way that is also doable.

It was one of our biggest and director Joss Agnew and everyone else who worked on this episode and choreographed it, they did such a great job, and all the extras and everyone else – it was a true team effort.

There’s a little nod to earlier seasons when towards the end of the episode Jamie is seasick on the boat to Scotland. Is it fun adding those touches for fans?

We do try to do those little things – and we added in a little cat that’s running through the ship that reminds us that Ian left Rollo the dog behind. It’s a fun finale to end on – it gives us some hope as Jamie and Claire and Ian come up on deck and see Scotland, and it brings us back to our roots. And also with Brianna and Roger it leaves us in a place of what’s going to happen, will they find Jemmy – it’s a crossing of highs and lows.

There’s also the return of Arch Bug, who wants revenge on Ian and has found Rachel with Rollo…

I love that he’s over the season always the shadow behind Ian, and the promise [of revenge] that he made to him at Medina’s [Bug’s wife] funeral. Like, just when you’re happiest, I’ll be there to ruin your happiness. And I’ll be following you. It’s a great pressure point to put on a character, and John Bell handles that really well – there’s this weight on his shoulders going into the next half of the season.

He loves this girl, but doesn’t want to burden her with this and doesn’t want anything to happen to her.

There’s now a gap until the second half of season seven is released. Can you say when the Droughtlander will be over?

I can’t share that with you! I haven’t been allowed to share that yet – it’s above my pay grade. But I’m sure they will share it at some point.

Can you tease anything about the rest of season seven? Claire, Jamie and Ian are in Scotland so does that mean they go to Lallybroch in the 18th century, which is also now Roger and Bree’s home in the 20th century?

That’s what was so crazy about the season for our art department, it was really tough knowing we would have all these time periods at Lallybroch. And we could only handle so much because you can’t really turn around the sets that quickly and we are going to see Lallybroch in at least two time periods with Jamie and Claire potentially and with Brianna and Roger in a different time period.

But it was exciting to see the changes that were going to happen at Lallybroch. Like Fraser’s Ridge, Lallybroch is our other home point. And to return back to Lallybroch where it all started in so many ways is really exciting, and to see it in different time periods.

We know there will be some flashbacks to earlier in Jamie’s life as Graham McTavish is returning as his uncle Dougal, who died in season two. Is that why the other role Graham previously played, his relative Buck, was recast for this season?

We did reach out to Graham and asked if he would be interested in playing Buck continuously because we just thought it would be a fun thing. We asked, but he couldn’t do it because he was very busy.

And quite honestly we lucked out because we still have Graham [as Dougal] but we got this amazing actor Diarmaid Murtagh who’s playing Buck and he just stepped into this character and took it to places I had not imagined. And I love the pairing of him and Roger – you know, Richard and Diarmaid together, I think it really magic. It’s like a buddy roadshow. So we got really, really lucky.

Outlander season 7 part one is now available on LIONSGATE+ in the UK and Starz in the US.


By Ivaylo Angelov

Ivaylo Angelov born in Bulgaria, Varna graduated School Geo Milev is Tvserieswelove's Soaps Editor and oversees all of the section's news, features, spoilers and interviews.