New York Comic Con 2019: Recapping the Outlander Cast Panel
The Outlander cast took a break from filming to greet fans and offer tidbits about Season 5 at New York Comic Con 2019. Here’s what they had to say.
A certain STARZ Outlander Fab Five brought more than a little special something to New York Comic Con 2019. To paraphrase the Mackenzie Clan motto, Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, David Berry, Duncan LaCroix and Maria Doyle Kennedy shined and burned with the Fraser fire on the Madison Square Garden Hulu Theater stage.
Everywhere they went at #NYCC2019, the Fab Five drew the largest crowds and the loudest cheers. Whether it was signing autographs, posing with fans for selfies or pulling out their best New York accents, Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, they cheekily and cheerfully entertained us Obsessenachs.
Madison Square Garden Magic
The Hulu Theater stage at Madison Square Garden was a great venue for the 5:30 p.m. Outlander cast panel. Even from the back, there was a good view of the stage.
A large percentage of the 5,600 seats were filled with Obsessenachs and a small press contingent. Even Jeffrey Hirsch (of Premium Woman fame) was there.
The Fab Five were joined by Diana Gabaldon, Maril Davis and Ron D. Moore and they totally absquatulated with our hearts. Moderator Ginger Zee from ABC’s Good Morning America brought some insightful questions and, despite holding Season 5 specifics close to the vest, they gave us a lot of amusing tidbits and that little something special. Here are the highlights…
A Wee Surprise
Best video Q&A? On Twitter, @kate_strze asked Richard to describe Jamie and Roger’s relationship – “complex”– and asked about their preparation – “a wrestle, went to the gym lots, got sweaty together.” Sam later mentioned a bonus exciting sauna session and confirmed we’d see that in the Season 5 DVD Extras. We’d pay extra for that, for sure, right?
Best Sophie line: She said they’d change the Ridge’s name to Fraser’s Fridge. Cold, rain and mud are their constant companions.
Best Richard line: “Roger ain’t got no monies.” Lucky for him, Bree loves him anyway.
And that little special something introduced by Richard? It was a crowd-thrilling Season 5 preview.
Best bits? The big house and Jamie on his horse, in his tricorn and greatcoat, channeling George Washington.
Let the Love Flow
An Obsessenach herself, Ginger wasted no time, getting things rolling with introductions and coining a new nickname — “Queen of Women” — for the Kelly Green-clad Caitriona. She kept the pace lively by producing whisky for use with the fiddly bits, but essentially it was a love fest.
Maria spoke eloquently about the enduring love story between Jamie and Claire that we will see in Season 5. She also stole my heart when she said the one thing she’d take from set is Aunt Jocasta’s beautiful blue upholstered furniture. I covet that fabric, Jon Gary Steele!
Duncan revealed that Murtagh’s role is getting juicier and juicier and he is looking forward to hearing what we think. There’s one thing we already know and Sam said it, “We all want a Murtagh in our lives.” It was noted later that Murtagh could do some good in the present as could Claire.
Caitriona talked about how Jamie and Claire’s love grows and deepens in Season 5. Sam took it a step further when he described recently filming a Jamie and Claire love scene. The interplay with David and Caitriona while he did so was priceless. Here’s Sam’s quote that launched a thousand sighs…
“We made love, I think, without making love, if you know what I mean. For me, that’s what we were trying to do. Does that make sense?”
Yes, Sam, that made perfect sense. Good choice to finally stop talking at “sticking points” and go for the whisky. Sam and Caitriona flashing hand hearts was a sweet touch. Slainte!
Diana brought a different vibe during the discussion about which Season 1-4 characters they would like to bring back. Sam mentioned Geillis and she slipped in, “Are you sure she’s dead?” When responding herself, she said…
“When I kill them, they stay dead. I mean no offense to Murtagh or Duncan, but you should have stayed dead.”
Maril and an unusually quiet Ron spoke about the strong season for MacBree. He noted that, “it’s no easy picnic being Jamie Fraser’s son-in-law,” and got a huge cheer when he played Oprah and jokingly said there was a copy of Diana Gabaldon’s unfinished Go Tell the Bees I am Gone book under every seat. Diana did say, “we’re getting there!” about the book. #soon
They also gave loads of love to the crew, as did Sam and Caitriona. Maril said they’re the reason they continue to film in Scotland. It isn’t easy to turn the Scottish Lowlands into Colonial America, but I think they do a great job. I’ve visited many Revolutionary War sites and am excited to see how it’s portrayed in Scottish locations.
Sam and Cait put on their producer hats and spoke about their new appreciation of what happens with each department behind the scenes. Like Jackson Browne’s roadies on a concert tour, the Outlander crew is the first to come and the last to leave. We ALL heart you, Outlander crew!
Other Best-of Bits
Best self-evaluation? In answer to Ginger’s question about playing different Outlander characters, dinosaur-loving David Berry’s “I’m such a talent, aren’t I? I could play any character” and the interplay with Duncan made my day. Struth, David! You could totally play Claire! Check out this SnapChat transformation photo from Duncan’s Instagram feed…
Best cast to character advice? Ginger asked Sam if Season 5 Jamie could go back through the stones, what would he warn Season 1 Jamie about? “Don’t go near her. Your life is gonna be a mess.” After a little back and forth with Caitriona, digging in even deeper, he did redeem himself.
Best IRL experiences? Some people think Caitriona is really a medical professional and ask for advice. Sometimes she can help them.
Best use of whisky? Maria evidently has loose lips, having called herself Mrs. Blooper in an earlier interview. Loved that when asked about any Season 5 favorite moments, she went straight to “You better just give me the whisky.” Slainte!
Best one-word response? There were discussions sprinkled throughout about Diana’s Outlander vocabulary that includes “bonnie lass” and words like “absquatulate,” “coccygodynia,” “borborygmi” and “bumf.” Sam said his favorite word is “Sassenach.” A mic drop moment!
Best moment seen so far from Season 5? Diana shared she recently heard the phrase, “F**ing bast**d snake!” Sounds like a potentially exciting improvisation.
Best New York accent? So glad they chose to play instead of drink a dram. They were all phenomenal, but Caitriona had an even better mic-drop moment.
The panel ended with a fan Q&A that included a happy birthday song for Caitriona led by David Berry. Fans were fairly heavy on the thank yous, sharing how the Outlander story had shaped their lives. The question that evoked the most interesting responses from everyone came from costume designer Katie from NY: “Do you have a specific costume piece or prop that helps you to really get into your character?” Paraphrased answers:
Caitriona: corset — automatically transports her to a different time
Sam: boots — give him more weight, stability and make him stronger
Duncan: plaid kilt — loves to roll into that big baby every morning and then let it fly
Maria: cane and wig — helps her navigate and get into the character
David: Lord John’s entire wardrobe — people go “Damn!” when he walks on the set and that grounds him in the role
But the fun didn’t end with the panel. To cap off the day, the Outlander Cast staff and members trekked across the street to the Tir na Nog (Land of the Young) Irish Pub. We relived the NYCC fun, noshed and had a dram. Of all the things I learned that day, discovering the Church of Sam Heughan and their Samday services was a highlight. Maybe it was because I’d had a double Glenfiddich but ask Mary Larsen — I laughed so hard reading their “Sam’s Ten Commandments” and caveats that I almost fell off my bar stool. Slainte!
While the panel was for sure the highlight, the day was filled with other NYCC Outlander magic, so let me share with you a few details about our Outlander tailgate of sorts to fill you in on the full picture before we got to the main event. As this was my first Con, I was just excited for the experience. I arrived Saturday morning at the Jacob Javits Convention Center around 10:00 a.m. and snagged my press badge.
As I had missed the autograph lottery, I soaked up the vibe and chatted with Outlander fans I met along the way then headed to the SYFYWIRE fan lounge for info on their 12:30 p.m Outlander interview. A nice young man gave me directions to their interview stage and also shared that he had been told by many that he resembled Sam Heughan. What do you think?
My Outlander Cast Adso-on-a-stick and I arrived at the stage tucked away in a far corner of the main floor around 11:00 a.m. Although I was a newbie, I know how Obsessenachs work so I wasn’t surprised to find a standing-room-only crowd with almost all the 100 or so completely filled seats occupied by Outlander cosplayers, plaid-clad fans and a few Peakers in their My Peak Challenge tees.
The best I could manage was navigating to a spot near the makeshift green room entrance. As the current interview concluded and some unknown-to-me SciFi stars headed off the stage and through the slit in the green room black curtains, I heard my name! Lucky for me, some of my fellow Outlander Cast staff members had spotted me and, magically, a seat opened up right beside them.
As the interviews rolled on, we chatted in between with other Obsessenachs and the standing crowd continued to grow. Then, to our utter delight, moderator Tara Bennett (The Making of Outlander: The Series) introduced Ron Moore and the cast of his new project, For All Mankind. It was exciting to hear them talk about the show’s alternate reality story line with, no surprise, strong female characters.
Finally, it was time for Outlander and They. Were. Phenomenal.
My fave moments…
- Sam, whose path was blocked by a stage tech, literally jumped over the back of the sofa into his seat and plopped one of his red-soled Louboutins onto the coffee table.
- My Peak Challenge works, y’all! Join us!
- They sang “Happy Birthday” to Caitriona.
- Yes, even Sam sang.
- Duncan called himself a bad ass, which lead to Sam saying Murtagh has taken over.
- I know not everyone likes the Murtagh adaptation, but I’m a fan.
- Caitriona broke out a MurCasta.
- Again, another adaptation that Obsessenachs either love or hate.
- Maria talked about the passion of mature couples.
- Thank you!! Many Obsessenachs who found the books at the very beginning are now mature, and vibrant, “premium” women, right?
- After our warm welcome, David said, “They do know who I am, Sam.”
- Was that really in question, Mr. David Berry? Hope you and everyone at STARZ know we’re pulling for a Lord John spinoff!
With a little free time before the 5:30 p.m. panel at Madison Square Garden, I made my way up to the Press Lounge where my lucky streak continued. First, I found a great view of all the action on the Con floor. Second, I met and had a nice chat with two wonderful Obsessenachs who had some serious cosplay game.
Lastly, by coincidence I connected with Outlander Cast founders Mary and Blake Larsen and fellow writer Anne Gavin, and we walked over to Hulu together. Blake took charge and got us in well advance of the Outlander panel. We scoped out where other Outlander Cast staff had scored seats, noshed a bit and watched the Castle Rock panel and Season 2 premiere episode. If you’re a Stephen King fan, you’re gonna love it!
There were other fun happenings on stage, courtesy of some MCs/DJs. Most notably, several couples were invited up for a musical game that was actually… check this out… a ruse for a surprise wedding proposal. She said yes! BTW, two Outlander Cast members in the most awesome Jamie and Claire cosplay were selected to be part of the game (see photo below). The cosplay aspect was intriguing. It ranged from young kids with masks or a headpiece to some of the most elaborate costumes I’ve seen outside a Broadway theater. You have to see it in person to really appreciate it. Here are some of Outlander Cast’s own…
That’s a Wrap
The cast participated in other interviews that seemed to not have an audience component. So much Outlander fun! If you’d like to see some of the interviews in full, here is a sampling:
Entertainment Tonight with Leanne Aguilera
My takeaway on the Outlander New York Comic Con 2019 experience? Definitely worth the time. I’d travel through the stones to relive all that Outlander love again.
Did you attend New York Comic Con 2019?
Or have you attended any con experiences for the love of Outlander before?
Would love to hear how my experience mirrors or differs from yours!