To better set the stage, why not turn to none other than executive producer Maril Davis? We recently had a chance to chat with her about the construction of the upcoming season, crafting these arcs, and even the upcoming eighth and final season, as well. (This is one of a few Outlander pre-season interviews — stay tuned for more!)
Matt & Jess – So, you basically did sixteen episodes of a premium-cable show at a time when so many other shows are lessening episode counts. How are you feeling? How have you even recovered?
Maril Davis – It is a long season, but I will admit that in the UK, we do 10-hour days — we don’t do the crazy, 12-plus hour days you do in the United States. That makes a difference. We also do continuous days, which means that we do half-hour lunches instead of hour lunches and the crew can go home a little bit earlier.
Also, this season was so exciting, even though it was a year long! Season 6 was really tough for us. We were deep in [the global health crisis], we didn’t have a huge presence on set because of the restrictions. We still had restrictions this year — we still had to wear masks and do testing — but I think we were so excited to be back and energized by this season. It went by really fast. I can’t speak for the crew, they might think it was long — but I think it was a really fun season.
The fun part for me is that we’ve almost been on this roller coaster, going up and up and waiting for the Revolutionary War to drop. Now, it has! Obviously, you have tackled battle scenes before, but how did you make some of those work this season?
Every season has its own pressures, and this season was definitely tough. We were in a lot of different areas, times, places. Like you said, we had quite a few battles to film and figure out. I think this season, the direction we took was that each battle had a perspective from one of the characters. We saw that battle through their eyes. That really opened us up [with] our director Joss [Agnew], who did the first battles we did. I thought that was a really creative way to get inside the characters’ heads and [made] the battles seem personal.
For me, it really narrowed down the focus and for the crew, it made it manageable in a way we could pull it off.
You’ve got these elements — action, adventure, and drama, but then you’ve still got the focus on Jamie and Claire and all of these romantic stories. I mean, you have to be used to balancing all this, but is it ever daunting?
Oh, c’mon (laughs), just throw us another storyline and we’ll take it on! We’re so used to doing this and our crew is so amazing and ready. I think one of the things that has made this show fresh is you never know what’s around the corner. We’re a traveling show and we’ve been so since the first season. It makes it tough to film but on the other hand, it makes it new and fresh.
What did you enjoy the most about this season? The cast and crew are such a well-oiled machine at this point.
I’ve said this a couple of times now, but I think every character this season has their own special moment where they shine. Sam [Heughan] has such a great arc, and there are some really lovely moments with Caitriona [Balfe] and Sophie [Skelton]. Caitriona has some amazing stuff, and in the second half has a real tour de force performance. Sophie has this amazing episode I’m so excited for people to see, and Richard has this amazing performance. He teams up with another character we’ll see. John Bell has a really exciting storyline this season.
For everyone this season, there’s something. I think there are just some unbelievable performances from our cast this year.
What are you personally most excited to check out leading into Outlander season 7?
Be sure to check out more thoughts on the matter below! After you do that, keep coming back for more.