Who's Been Cast in Starz's 'Outlander'? Plus 11 More Things We Know About the Upcoming Series

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Steven Bryan
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Outlander executive producer and writer Ronald D. Moore
Outlander executive producer and writer Ronald D. Moore

Diana Gabaldon, the author of the "Outlander" series of novels, created one of the most kick-ass heroines to ever grace the printed page. No stranger to danger, Claire Randall spends six years as a British army nurse during World War II before reuniting with her husband in England. Just as they return to a normal routine, Claire is mysteriously whisked back in time to Scotland in 1743.

Currently in production, the live-action adaptation of Gabaldon's original novel will air on Starz in 2014. Here's a rundown on what we know so far about Season 1 of "Outlander":

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

1. At the 2013 New York Comic Con, author Diana Gabaldon said she wrote "Outlander" for practice on how to write a novel. She chose 18th-century Scotland as a result of watching a "Dr. Who" rerun on public TV.

2. On about the third day of writing, Gabaldon revealed, she had to add a lot of men in traditional garb for the "kilt factor."

3. Superproducer Ronald D. Moore is bringing the adaptation to Starz. Besides "Outlander," Moore is also overseeing producing of Syfy's "Helix."

[Related: Syfy's Next Hit Drama? 8 Important Things to Know From the 'Helix' Comic-Con Panel]

4. John Dahl, who directed episodes of "Breaking Bad," will direct the first two "Outlander" episodes. Dahl and Moore previously worked together on "Battlestar Galactica" and "Caprica."

5. Moore said he and producing partner Maril Davis flew to Arizona to spend a weekend with Gabaldon. "It was important to me. I wanted to have a good relationship with the author of the material," he said at the 2013 New York Comic Con. "I didn't want it to be one of those shows where we say, 'Yeah, we bought the book and the author is out there somewhere.'"

6. The original "Outlander" book is rich in historical details for both postwar England and 18th-century Scotland. Gabaldon explained she does her research concurrently with the writing: "I know a lot of people who wrote historical fiction. Basically, what they do is 10 years of research and say, 'I don't know enough to begin writing yet.'"

7. The novels have a strong fan base, and Gabaldon said she listens politely to the input of her readers: "If you have more than one reader, you can't write for the readers because they are all going to want something different."

8. During NYCC, Moore said they had just completed the first week of shooting: "The first stuff we shot was still in the 1940s, which is great. It helps the character move back, helps the production move back in time."

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9. The crew has been shooting in Scotland. Moore said they have a production home outside Glasgow: "There's an old abandoned factory, which we have renovated and turned into a full-blown studio. We also shoot on location in the surrounding areas."

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10. Moore said they are filming 16 episodes for Season 1, which should take them through the first book.

11. Claire's World War II experiences, which are mentioned in the first novel, will be explored in more detail in the series.

Who's who on "Outlander":

1. Supermodel turned actress Caitriona Balfe has been cast in the lead role of Claire Randall, a woman sometimes referred to as "Sassenach" ("Englishman" or "outlander"). This month, the Irish-born Balfe appears opposite Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the new film "The Escape Plan."

Caitriona Balfe
Caitriona Balfe

2. Born in Scotland, actor Sam Heughan landed the coveted role of Jamie Fraser, an honorable young warrior who becomes emotionally entangled with the very married Claire. Fans can get a peek at Heughan on November 9 in the Hallmark Channel original movie, "A Princess for Christmas."

Sam Heughan
Sam Heughan

3. Tobias Menzies does double duty as Claire's loving husband, Frank Randall, and his notorious ancestor, Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall. No stranger to "Game of Thrones" fans, Menzies has appeared as Edmure Tully on the popular series.

Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully in Game of Thrones
Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully in Game of Thrones

4. "Game of Thrones" also provided Duncan Lacroix, the actor portraying Jamie's godfather, Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser. Upon first meeting Murtagh in the original novel, Claire describes him first as "weasel-faced" and later "ferret-faced."

Duncan Lacroix
Duncan Lacroix

5. Tackling a very meaty role, Graham McTavish plays Dougal MacKenzie, the war chieftain for Clan MacKenzie. McTavish seems oddly suited for the role, having appeared opposite Sylvester Stallone in 2008's "Rambo." Fans can also watch the actor in action in the ongoing "Hobbit" movie franchise.

6. The very versatile Gary Lewis ("Billy Elliot") plays Colum MacKenzie, the clan leader who is referred to as "The MacKenzie." Upon meeting Colum, Claire is shocked at his "bowed and stumpy legs," which she thinks may be the result of Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome. Colum is a proud man who doesn't give in to his condition or the pain it brings.

Gary Lewis and Graham McTavish
Gary Lewis and Graham McTavish

7. Lotte Verbeek, a featured player on Showtime's "The Borgias," has been cast as Geillis Duncan, a beautiful, surprisingly outspoken woman with vital knowledge of medicinal herbs and plants. She becomes a friend to the chronologically displaced Claire.

Lotte Verbeek as Guilia Farnese in The Borgias
Lotte Verbeek as Guilia Farnese in The Borgias

8. Irish actress Laura Donnelly will play Jenny Fraser Murray, Jamie's sister who gave herself to English soldiers to save her brother's life. Donnelly appeared on the short-lived Ashley Judd TV series "Missing" in 2012.

Laura Donnelly as Violet Heath in Missing
Laura Donnelly as Violet Heath in Missing

9. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Dr. Who" alum Annette Badland is Mrs. Fitzgibbons, the woman who keeps Castle Leoch, home base of Clan MacKenzie, running smoothly. The proper Mrs. Fitzgibbons doesn't quite know what to make of Claire when Dougal's men bring her to the castle.

Annette Badland
Annette Badland

10. Stephen Walters ("Hannibal Rising") has been cast as Angus Mhor, Colum's bodyguard. Angus is only briefly mentioned in the first novel, but he is known to massage Colum's back to help relieve his pain.

11. Scottish actor Roderick Gilkison will play the role of Hamish MacKenzie, son of Colum MacKenzie. Claire suspects that Colum may be impotent or sterile as a result of his Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome, which makes Hamish's true parentage a source of speculation and gossip.