Ronald D Moore on Outlander fandom and Diana Gabaldon

We talk to Ronald D Moore about working with Diana Gabaldon and pleasing the fans

Catriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Outlander
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Outlander

Time-crossed romance Outlander is now available on Amazon Prime, allowing UK viewers to immerse themselves in the acclaimed TV version of Diana Gabaldon’s beloved series of books.

It’s the story of Claire, a woman from 1945 who suddenly finds herself in 1743 Scotland and becomes torn between her present with her fiance, and this new past with the dashing Jamie. You might think it would be a daunting task adapting something with such a large fanbase, but if anyone knows anything about fandom, it’s Ronald D Moore.

We spoke to the man behind the Battlestar Galactica reboot about the pressures of developing a show with a lot of very interested parties so eager to see it brought to life.

“I sort of fall back on my experiences of dealing with fans from Star Trek and Battlestar and also being a fan myself growing up,” he tells us.

“I approach them from that perspective, just always understanding that in my opinion, fandom in general, regardless of what it is about, is always about love. It’s always about these people love this material. They’re interested in it and they want to immerse themselves in it and they want to feel like you understand their concerns and their interests and so I just think about them that way and trust them and have a nice dialogue with them and try to talk to them as much about the production process as we can, I think a lot of the fans are fascinated with how things are done, and it’s good.

“I don’t really look to the fans to tell us how to do the show, I don’t surf the sites and take information that way because it’s not a democracy, we’re not voting on how we do the show here. I’ll decide how we do the show and hope that everybody likes it.”

Claire finds herself out of time in Outlander
Claire finds herself out of time in Outlander

Moore tells us that he spent several years trying to win the rights to develop Outlander as a TV show, but that it was also crucial to win over Gabaldon.

“She’s been great, she’s been great from the very beginning,” he enthuses. “I met with her initially before we even sold the show, went out and spent a weekend with her in Arizona, talked about the story and the characters and the mythology and she was very open and upfront from the beginning and just said ‘Hey, I’m an author, you’re a TV writer, I don’t do what you do and I have to trust you to handle these characters and I will, and I’ll give you whatever help and advice that I can,’ and I really appreciated that.”

“She sees the stories and the outlines and she gives comments here and there and points out things that maybe we missed or something that might contradict that, and then we can call her and say ‘How does this play into some of the other books? Is this a secret?’ So it’s a good dialogue back and forth, it’s been great. It’s the first time I’ve done an adaptation like this, so it’s been really great for me. I don’t know how it typically is but this has been a good experience.”

Outlander has been a big success for Moore and Starz over in the States, and Moore tells us that he thinks that it has more in common with his previous work than you might think.

“I think it’s the same thing that appeals to me about any period piece,” he explains. Galactica, Trek and Outlander to me are all just periods. Some happen to be future periods but I think there’s something interesting about watching a show that takes place in another world, another reality from the one you live in every day so you can sort of transport yourself to this other place and this other time and just wonder what it would be like if the world around you were completely different.

“I think people are always drawn to that.”

You can watch the first episodes of Outlander now on Amazon Prime. Keep up with the latest genre TV news with the new issue of SciFiNow.