SDCC 2014: Outlander Has Tartan Carpeted Debut at Comic-Con

The Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon have been in television and film limbo for 20 years. Say what?

It’s not that hard to believe though – the story of Claire Beauchamp Randall and her time-traveling adventure is a complex and multi-faceted one. The (currently) 8-book series is a mix of genres – sci-fi, history, romance & drama – and it would be difficult to pay proper homage to in any other medium than in the format and freedom of a premium cable show. Whether or not the show follows the successes of other book-to-TV series like Game of Thrones is one thing – if you’re a fan of the books like myself, you probably believe (and hope) that it will.

But the other is wondering it will grab hold of those who are unfamiliar with the plot. Outlander follows Claire, a 1940’s married combat nurse, who is mysteriously swept back in time to 18th Century Scotland. Upon her arrival, she is thrown into an unknown world where everything she’s ever known is threatened. Certain circumstances force her to marry a young chivalrous Scottish warrior named Jamie Fraser. Igniting a passionate relationship, Claire’s heart is torn between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

I was very excited to see Starz pull out the tartan carpet for the show at San Diego Comic Con this year and even go above and beyond what they had done for Black Sails and Da Vinci’s Demons at previous Comic-Con’s. Fans had the chance to visit Castle Leoch on the exhibition floor, passing a forgotten picnic and a missing person’s flyer for Claire. Folks dolled up in 1940’s clothes handed out passes to the premiere and upon passing through the stones of Craigh na Dun, kilted Highlanders and kerchiefed lasses greeted you in 18th Century Scotland.

Inside, you could view actual set pieces flown in from Scotland such as Claire’s Apothecary and her desk. More photos from the exhibition floor can be found here:

But that was just the beginning of the Outlander goodness in store that weekend! Typically, Starz has the casts of their shows appear for a short period to take photos with the booth display but this year went above-and-beyond, having the cast appear for a meet and greet signing as well as handing out goodies like shot glasses, tote bags, t-shirts, iPhone covers and bandanas. The smiling faces that came away from the booth spoke more than anything I could write.

The tartan carpeted premiere at the Spreckels Theatre was one of the best planned events we’ve had the pleasure of attending. The cast members in attendance were: Catriona Balfe (Claire Randall), Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser), Tobias Menzies (Frank/Black Jack Randall), Graham McTavish (Dougal MacKenzie), Lotte Verbeek (Geillis Duncan) and Nell Hudson (Laoghaire MacKenzie) as well as creator Ron D. Moore and author Diana Gabaldon.

The show is produced by Starz and Sony Pictures Television – head executives were also there to celebrate the series including Carmi Zlotnik, Starz’s Managing Director and his wife (who were both gorgeously clad in her family’s Clan Cameron tartan), SVP of Original Programming, Karen Bailey and Executive Producer, Maril Davis.

Music is also an extremely important part of setting the tone of the series and Outlander has the genius of composer Bear McCreary lending his skill to the theme sung by Raya Yarbrough. Everyone was in great spirits – especially thanks to the lovely bagpipers who entertained all before doing so again inside the grand Spreckels Theatre.

The star-studded guest list included some of the cast of Black Sails, The Walking Dead, The Originals, Arrow and Battlestar Galactica  among others. You can see images of everyone below and the full album here:

Upon entering the theatre, which was decked out like the Highlands (kilted gentlemen included!), we were handed Outlander-branded water and shown to our seats in the balcony, which had the perfect view from which to listen to the the female bagpipers who opened the screening as well as classic Scottish songs Bear McCreary, accompanied by fiddler Paul Cartwright and Raya Yarbrough. Having already seen the first episode, goosebumps were had when the first notes of the show’s theme “Skye Boat Song” rang through the air – you could hear a pin drop! You can check it out yourselves here.

The first episode was everything a fan could’ve hoped for – stay tuned for a our spoiler-free review in the coming week! We also have interviews with the entire cast as well as creators Ron D Moore and Diana Gabaldon coming up so keep an eye on Geek Syndicate for all the Outlander news you can handle!

Reporter: Sharlene Mousfar
Photographers: Mirjana Vuga and Sharlene Mousfar
Video Credit: Theresa (Outlander Kitchen)

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