Outlander Trivia: Little-Known Facts From The Show

Since Outlander season 5 finished recently, why not play along by answering a few questions and upgrade your Outlander knowledge? Who spends the most time in the makeup chair? And how long did it take to shoot Claire and Jamie’s wedding night? These are just some of the Outlander hidden details you can look forward to.


WHAT IS REAL ON THE SHOW? AND WHAT IS NOT?

Can you distinguish between what was real and what, “fake”? Let’s see how you fare! In the season 4 episode, “Providence,” Roger had to watch on as a Cherokee woman threw herself into the flames. Was that real or not? The answer is real!

According to executive producer, Roberts, the actress was a stuntwoman in protective fireproof clothing and lathered in the protective gel. Now that’s true dedication! Are the foods you see real or fake? Real! Outlander doesn't use prop food. Every meal you see on the show is the real deal.


Now, when Black Jack nailed Jamie's hand into the table, was that real? Yes! Sam had to let his hand heal for about two months after that.... can you believe that? No? Of course not, we're just teasing you! Of course, this scene required a prosthetic hand.

How about that scene where Roger was singing during the Scottish Festival scene in season 4? Was it Richard Rankin’s voice? Yes, and apparently he annoyed his castmates! Rankin told Entertainment Tonight: "I basically spent every minute of every day learning to play that track and it drove the crew nuts, so that was fun.”


BEST HIDDEN SET SECRETS?

If you look really closely at the print shop’s set, you’ll notice similarities with that Season 2 episode when Claire visited Master Raymond at his Paris apothecary. Oh, and yet another repurposed set is Claire and Frank’s Boston home. Interesting right?

It doubled up as Claire and Jamie’s Paris apartment. Oh, we wanna squeeze in a bonus question! What other shows used Outlander’s “Castle Leoch”? It’s none other than Winterfell in Game of Thrones, and it also featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.


WHAT WAS WRONG WITH SAM'S PHOTOS?

Author Diana initially had her doubts about Sam in the lead, because she thought his photos looked grotesque. "Frankly, I thought he looked bizarre", she wrote on her website. But within five seconds of watching his audition tape, Sam Heughan was gone, and it was Jamie Fraser right there in front of her. On that note!


HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO CAST CAITRIONA BALFE?

Was it as quick and easy to find the perfect Claire? No! In fact, it took four long months, and by that time, the production team was starting to sweat, because it was just too close to the start of filming for their comfort! We almost didn't have Caitriona as Claire.


And if that surprised you, then did you know that Caitriona submitted a selfie audition that she made on her phone? Three days later, Balfe had packed up her L.A. life into storage and was in Glasgow to start filming. Now that’s what we’d call cutting it close! Right, next!


WHOSE MAKEUP TAKES THE LONGEST?

Is it Sam? Or maybe Cait? Is that your final answer? Well, we’re here to tell you that Sam spends the most time in the makeup chair! Heughan told Design Trend: "It's ridiculous. I'll get into makeup at 4 a.m. and be there until 8 or 9 a.m. And you have to be standing for most of it."

What, standing? That’s hectic! The reason it takes so long is, of course, to create his back scars, which we often saw in the earlier seasons. In the more recent seasons, his scars aren’t shown that often, so he could at least be seated - and take naps - while they “age” him. Now for a tricky one.


WHY DID CLAIRE AND JAMIE MARRY TWICE?

To keep Claire out of British hands in season one, she had to wed Jamie, making her Scottish by marriage. Not everyone knows that the production team actually filmed TWO versions of Claire and Jamie’s famous wedding day, though! Yeah, showrunner Roberts told Parade that it was oddly enough something they filmed twice.

“We did it once and then realized we needed a bigger, more romantic wedding, so we filmed it again.”


HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO SHOOT THE WEDDING  NIGHT?

About Claire and Jamie’s iconic wedding night scene... do you want to phone a friend? The answer is five days! As director Anna Foerster told MarieClaire, they choreographed every movement for the scene:

"The actors felt comfortable—they knew where to move, which direction to fall on the bed, how their hair was falling so I could capture it—it's very technical."


SURPRISING FACT ABOUT OUTLANDER'S FANBASE!

Right, we’ll broadly classify Outlander as a time-travel romance with lots of action thrown in, and a strong female lead. Plus, what makes it stand out is its refreshing female-centric gaze in its intimate scenes. Considering all that, some would guess it would have a predominantly female audience, but the truth is quite different!

Heughan told ELLE that “something like 50 percent of our audience in the U.S. are men. The show wasn't made specifically for women. I think there's something in there for every guy. There's a lot more graphic scenes [and violence], not just intimate scenes.”


MENZIES AND BALFE WROTE SECRET LOVE LETTERS FOR LOVE SCENES?

Still, on the topic of Outlander’s romantic scenes, Caitriona and Tobias had barely met before they had to get their kilt off and their lovemaking on! Naturally, this was a bit weird for both of them, so they wrote each other love letters in character before filming the intimate scenes. They said the letters helped them feel less awkward around the crew.


WHAT'S DIANA'S TERM FOR UNPLANNED CHARACTERS?

Only superfans will know this one! Mushroom is the author's word for characters she doesn’t plan. “I have no idea where they come from; they just pop up out of nowhere, and they walk off with any scene that they’re in,” she told Parade.

Which characters were mushrooms, then, you ask? Well, Lord John (the English soldier who popped up to try and slit Jamie’s throat), as well as Geillis Duncan, Master Raymond, and Fergus. What? Fergus, too! We learn something new every day.


WHY DID IT TAKE AGES TO GET OUTLANDER ON THE SMALL SCREEN?

The first book in the series of Outlander novels was already published in 1991! In other words, it took really long before it was adapted for TV. Do you know the insider story? Let’s tell you! Firstly, Diana’s books were optioned as a movie four times before producer Ronald D. Moore offered to make a TV series. For the first time, Diana obliged.

“This is the first thing I’ve ever read based on my work that didn’t make me turn white or burst into flames,” she said of Moore’s pilot script for the show."


WHAT DOES DRAGONFLY IN AMBER MEAN?

Have you ever wondered what Diana’s train of thought was when she was writing “Dragonfly in Amber”? With such an accomplished author, nothing is just random, and it’s the same here! It symbolizes Jamie and Claire’s marriage, says Gabaldon.

“It is a metaphor for something of great beauty that is preserved and exists out of its proper time.”


From which other series did Outlander borrow ships? Anyone? Oh, there’s a buzzer going off! Here’s the answer! In season three, when Jamie and Claire set sail, the Starz series Black Sails lent Outlander the ships they were using!

Sam revealed that those ships were actually on dry land. “They’ve got wheels and they drive around. So, we’re outside Cape Town and it’s very hot, and we’re dressed in these thick clothes. We all struggled with the heat, being from Scotland.”


HOW DO THE SHOW'S COSTUMES GET A MAKE-OVER?

So we all know that Outlander’s costumes are all really accurate and true to the times! To make them look worn-in, you won’t believe which lengths the crew goes to! They use things like cheese graters, pumice stones, and blowtorches to give the clothing items that second-hand look! Hell, once they even used a cement mixer for good measure.


WHICH OTHER FILMING LOCATIONS WERE CONSIDERED?

Did you know that Outlander nearly wasn't filmed in Scotland? Before showrunner Moore convinced Starz of Scotland (and later America), Eastern Europe and New Zealand were considered! Wow, the cast and crew are basically real-life world travelers - how interesting!


WHO GOT HELP FROM HIS GRAN FOR THIS ROLE?

Can you guess? It’s John Bell or Young Ian! Once he heard he’d landed the role, he went straight to the Wiki page to find out as much as quickly as possible! “I got the books. I got my mum to start reading the books, and I got my gran to start reading the books. We’d all get together in a little book club and discuss”, Bell told MarieClaire.


WHICH SKILL WAS THE TRICKIEST TO LEARN?

Oh Sam, our Sam! Is there anything you can’t do? The actor learned so many new skills for his role as Jamie, among others: sword fighting, horseback riding, and the Highland fling! Of them all, which skill was the toughest of them all? None of the above! It was actually learning Gaelic words!

“[Gaelic] is a really strong part of who Jamie is, and it’s his first language,” Sam told Parade.