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OUTLANDER’s Brianna and Roger Talk Expanding the Series’ Crazy Time-Traveling Mystery

For as fast as time travel can accelerate things, Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin want you to take this season of Outlander slowly. Longtime fans of Diana Gabaldon‘s seemingly never-ending series of novels following the epic love story of Claire Randall, a nurse from the 1940s, and Jamie Fraser, a Scottish highlander in 1740, have waited ages for the arrival of Brianna Randall and Roger Wakefield. Claire’s time-traveling fetus is now a woman fully grown and ready to embark on an epic adventure of her own. But for as exciting as that journey will no doubt be for fans who are clamoring for it, Skelton and Rankin think it’s best to just enjoy the ride.

“The fans are really great and they’re so supportive of the show,” explained Skelton. “It’s half of what it’s all about, really, and Richard and I are fans of the books as well so we’re just as protective over our characters as they are.”

“They are so passionate,” Rankin added. “It just provides such an energy in coming on in this show. You really feel it coming on this show, hitting the ground running.”

Though they appeared at the end of season two, the third season of the series is where things really start to accelerate for Brianna, Jamie and Claire’s daughter, and Roger, the young lad the Wakefields adopted who—it was revealed—is actually a MacKenzie directly descended from Geillis Duncan and Dougal MacKenzie’s illegitimate lovechild. (~spooky~) And theirs is a story that truly opens up the universe of Outlander and our own understanding of how and why people can travel through the stones like Claire did all those years ago. It’s a major turn for the story and one for which fans are positively rabid.

And boy, do they keep Rankin and Skelton on their toes, with Skelton noting that they frequently find themselves in “healthy debates and discussions with [the fans], so it’s quite nice, ’cause there is no animosity there. It’s actually quite fun to get into a trivia debate with them. It’s nice!”

“We don’t get caught off guard [though],” Rankin added. “We’re pretty well informed as far as the story goes.”

Rankin and Skelton are both fans of the source material and feel deeply attached to their characters—conversations with the duo made that much clear. They understand the excitement and anticipation fans feel because they feel it, too. But, as with all good TV adaptations, don’t expect Outlander to necessarily take the straight and narrow path already lain out for these two.

“I think it’s got to be great if you’re book reader, right?” posited Rankin. “If the story’s told in slightly different way of those things that you’re expecting or new elements of the story coming along on screen—that’s gotta be quite refreshing for them.”

Of course Skelton was quick to understand that there may be disappointment for fans hoping for a more literal take on their characters. “Hopefully with the fans it’s not too heartbreaking when the characters are a little bit different, or the story’s a bit different; hopefully it’s just something that keeps it fresh for them.”

One of those things that purportedly changes? The speed and circumstances regarding Roger and Brianna’s relationship and journey, which leans into the mysterious adventure aspect for most of season three. “There are elements that move slower between them and the books, and elements that move a little bit quicker between them. It keeps it a really nice dynamic,” noted Skelton.

“I think it’s important to not be tainted by what these characters become,” explained Rankin. “I think it’s important just not to allow yourself to be too affected by the character’s future because, as so good and exciting as so many things happening are, these characters change so quickly; they become different people by the time we get going into the full season.”

“It quite clearly becomes a completely different story for Roger and Brianna,” he added.

“And I think it’s really nice that we do have the luxury of time, [so we] can really peel the character out super slowly,” said Skelton. “I mean, you’ve only seen a glimpse of Brianna and Roger thus far. Even in season three, you see more and more of them, but you’re still not quite fully seeing completely into their heads yet. We get to play so many people in one, it’s amazing.”

Are you watching Outlander this season? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Starz

Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor, creator/host of Fangirling, and resident Khaleesi of House Nerdist. Find her on Twitter!

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