Why Releasing an Outlander Season 4 Scene Was Smart PR
STARZ released an Outlander Season 4 scene after a day-long marathon of Outlander Season 3. We take a look at why the scene was good PR.
Droughtlander is only a month in, but STARZ gave already-parched Outlander fans a sip of water Sunday night by airing a scene from Season 4. It was a move that was smart for fan maintenance and for public relations. Here’s why.
Spoiler alert: We’re going to be talking about the book, Drums of Autumn, so if you don’t want to know what’s coming, stop here and go back and re-watch “A. Malcolm” or something. For those who have read the book, consider joining us in the Outlander Cast Clan Book Club for our hosted group re-read. We take it a few chapters at a time and kick-off a new discussion thread each Sunday that elicits some lively banter and, maybe, just maybe, allows you to see new things you missed the first time.
Anyway, back to that sneak peek scene. The clip shows a moment not long after Drums of Autumn begins. The book opens with a hanging. Gavin Hayes, a former fellow prisoner at Ardsmuir with Jamie, is the doomed man. It would be logical to assume the body in the shroud is Gavin’s, but as we all know, it’s not. Gavin is already in the ground by this point in the story. Instead, the body in the bag is one Stephen Bonnet, the prisoner lucky enough to escape hanging. He had escaped by hiding, cleverly, inside the shroud with Gavin after his body was loaded into the wagon.
Rather than simply let Bonnet go his own way after initially discovering him as Jamie, Fergus, Ian and Claire prepare to bury Gavin, Jamie agrees to Bonnet’s request to give him a lift to meet up with his fellow smugglers. Jamie will grow to rue that decision in spades, and as a re-reader, I ALWAYS scream in my head at this point, “No, Jamie! No! Let him go! Do NOT help him!” But I digress…
The scene was both a safe and smart choice for STARZ. With rumors swirling about whether or not Outlander will be renewed for seasons 5 (and 6, please god) and whether showrunner Ron D. Moore will continue on given his many other projects, the recent brouhaha about Optimum dropping the STARZ channel in its cable package, has only made the fandom touchier than normal during this Droughtlander. Tossing fans a scene that shows Jamie and Claire together—and one that book fans would recognize—was a good way to assuage people’s discomfort. We are staying the course, fans. Take a deep breath.
It’s also a way for the STARZ PR and its parent company, Liongate, to show yet another reason why dropping the channel in a market that serves New York City, as well as parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, is a mistake. True, they knew the clip would make it out into the internet quickly (see above clip). But in a world where instant gratification is the expectation not the exception, not being able to see that scene the instant it was shown to cable-package only viewers might help the Outlander fandom become reinvigorated in calling Optimum and complaining, thus helping the STARZ cause. And the more fans complain, the more leverage STARZ has in its fight to get back on Optimum. (Here’s the info if you’re interested: Call 844-71-STARZ and go to http://KeepSTARZ.com.)
For TV-only viewers, the clip also set the stage that something was likely up. One look at Jamie’s and Claire’s faces when the soldier ordered his sidekick to lance the body just to be sure it’s really dead was enough to make that clear. While viewers will be in on the deception once the show airs, the scene right now serves to suggest that there’s something about that body bag that is a secret. It’s just enough suspense to keep people wondering.
Hang on to the reins, folks. The ride is just beginning.
What scenes from Drums of Autumn do you hope are included in Season 4? Join the discussion here and in our Outlander Cast Clan Book Club on Facebook!