60 Things You Never Knew About the Making of 'Outlander'

Everything from the epic costumes to the sex scenes.

Outlander Season 4 2018
Aimee SpinksStarz

Season 5 of Outlander is on its way (!) after a year off the air, and, like Jamie and Claire Fraser, our love for the drama stands the test of time. We took a deep-dive into the making of Outlander—ahead are the 60 craziest facts you never knew about the show.

Outlander Season 4 2018
Aimee Spinks
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While shooting season four, Sam Heughan decided to run two marathons in four weeks.

The leading man told Us Weekly beat his personal best both times by one minute in case you were wondering.

Outlander Season 3 2017
Aimee SpinksStarz
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John Bell got his family involved to prepare for the role of Young Ian.

"I’ll be honest; I went straight to the Wiki page, because I wanted to find out as much as I possibly could as quickly as possible,” he says on when he found out he got the part. “I read everything that I could on that, and that’s when 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."

Outlander S3 2017
David BloomerStarz
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'Outlander' borrowed a ship from a fellow Starz production.

In season three, when Jamie and Claire set sail for the Caribbean fellow Starz show Black Sails let them borrow a pirate ship for the production.

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Aimee SpinksStarz
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Richard Rankin actually sang in the Scottish festival scene.

Rankin, who plays Roger Wakefield, performed his own songs during the festival scene in season four. He said to 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."

Hat, Headgear, Movie, Screenshot, Fedora,
Aimee SpinksStarz
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Heughan was once a stable boy, well kinda.

“I used to live in sort-of converted stables on the grounds of a castle, and I spent a lot of my childhood running around with a pretend sword pretending to be Robert the Bruce,” he told EW in 2014.

PBS' The Great American Read Grand Finale
Gary GershoffGetty Images
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Author Diana Gabaldon didn't ever plan to publish "Outlander."

"I knew I was supposed to be a novelist, but I didn’t know how, and I decided the way to learn was to actually write a novel. So, Outlander was my practice book," she said at the TCA press day for the PBS series The Great American Read. “I was never going to show it to anyone, so it didn’t matter what I did with it."

Outlander Season 3
Aimee SpinksStarz
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Heughan actually operated printing presses in season three.

Heughan got really into the character. As writer Matthew B. Roberts shared, Heughan sent himself to "printing press school" to learn the craft for Jamie's print shop.

Outlander Season 4 2018
Aimee Spinks
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Filming for season four took place in Scotland, not North Carolina.

As fans know, season four was about the couple settling down with their family in North Carolina. Instead of filming in the state, they created and found sets in Scotland that resembled the landscape of North America and North Carolina.

Outlander Season 3 2017
David BloomerStarz
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Bell went back to school to learn the Mohawk language.

The actor signed up for an online course to learn the Mohawk language for season four. "I just had a great time. I love languages. I’m very passionate about it," he said to Parade. "The best way to understand someone’s culture is to be able to speak their language, so I think it was important to Ian."

At the opening ceremony and Café Society premiere
Getty
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In real life, Caitriona Balfe is actually Irish, too.

The actress grew up in the small village of Tydavnet with her six other siblings before moving to Paris at 19 to become a model.

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Starz
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The costume department goes to great lengths to give the clothes a more "lived-in feel."

Outlander takes garments very seriously. To give the clothes an appearance of being well-worn, the costume department uses everything from cheese graters to blowtorches to texturize the costumes.

View of Doune Castle
DEA / S. VANNINIGetty Images
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Tourism to Scotland actually grew by 67 percent after the series premiered.

Doune Castle, which doubles as Castle Leoch in the show, has seen the largest amount of new travelers with a 226.5 percent increase in visitors.

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Aimee SpinksStarz
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In season four finale, a woman really threw herself into fire.

The scene in which Wakefield witnesses a Cherokee woman throw herself into the flames where her lover and father of her child are tied to a burning stake gave us all the feels. It turns out; it was a real stunt. Executive producer, Matthew B. Roberts, says a stuntwoman wore protective fireproof clothing and had protective gel on her skin and hair when she did the scene.

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Gabaldon was inspired to write 'Outlander' by an episode of 'Doctor Who.'

Gabaldon was particularly drawn to the character Jamie McCrimmon.

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'Outlander' was originally going to be a movie.

Katherine Heigl was rumored to play Claire.

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The 'Outlander' costume department is *massive.*

The department is comprised of multiple rooms, all loaded with gowns and shoes. It's so big and complex that costumer designer Terry Dresbach started a digital inventory system with barcodes called "Mother" to keep track of everything.

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Claire's main 18th century outfit has 12 multiples.

Yes, 12. Just in case something happens.

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Every single costume is hand-dyed and aged.

No detail goes overlooked. "It gets painted, it gets sprayed, it gets torched. We do everything," Dresbach told Marie Claire.

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Dresbach is married to the show's executive producer Ronald D. Moore.

The couple met on the set of HBO's Carnivàle in 2003.

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Casting was a long process.

When casting for Jamie began, Liam Neeson and Sean Connery were the first contenders.

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Heughan eventually landed the role after a Skype interview.

Heughan interviewed with executive producer Maril Davis and co-executive producer Ira Behr, and they immediately felt that they had found their Jamie.

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But, Gabaldon wasn't initially convinced.

Before she saw Heughan's audition tape, Gabaldon looked up his IMdB. Her reaction to his photos? "This man is grotesque," which has now become a running joke between the two.

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The casting of Claire took much longer than anticipated.

Just three weeks before production was due to start, the casting director still hadn't found her Claire. They had a couple of actress on hold, but none were quite right. Finally, they saw a clip of Caitriona Balfe and booked her for the gig.

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The props are incredibly realistic looking.

The set is loaded with fake dead bodies for battle scenes.

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But, 'Outlander' doesn't use prop food.

Every meal you see on the show is real.

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The actors go commando under their kilts.

Unsurprisingly, they find it very comfortable.

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Gabaldon made a cameo in an episode.

In "The Gathering," the author had two lines as Iona MacTavish.

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The silicone scars that cover Jamie's back are so fragile, that they require special care during filming.

Any shirtless or backless scenes need to be filmed first.

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Heughan is also the actor who needs to stay in makeup the longest.

The scars take hours to apply—every, single time.

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Balfe and Tobias Menzies (Frank) wrote love letters to each other in character before filming sex scenes.

The letters helped the actors feel less awkward around a full camera crew.

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Although Gabaldon's story was set in Scotland, scouting the location wasn't an easy process.

At first, Eastern Europe and New Zealand were possibilities.

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Every female cast member wears a corset.

Even the extras have to wear them. It needs to be period-accurate!

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The season 3 Boston set was made from Claire and Jamie's home in Paris.

The crew completely redesigned it.

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Although the lead character is a female, men make up 50 percent of the 'Outlander' U.S. audience.

The show is proving that a female-centric show doesn't drive away a male audience.

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Shooting a historical show in the 21st century means the crew is constantly tweaking their set.

The crew pays attention to the smallest details to make sure every set reflects an 18th century setting. They even tweak windows, roofs, and shutters.

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Heughan is naturally blonde, but he dyes his hair red every two episodes.

At this point, we can't picture him any other way.

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Gabaldon's favorite scene from season 1 was Jamie's rape.

"This is terrific stuff for an actor, amazingly heavy material," she told Vulture.

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The crew tries to make the lighting as authentic as possible.

To recreate authentic lighting, L.E.D. and fluorescent lights are not used on the show.

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