Foreigner is based on the books by Diana Gabaldon. Usually, each season adapts a different book. However, the shortened season 6 means that some of A breath of snow and ashes in season 7. In adapting the books for television episodes, the writers also bring their own personal backgrounds to the series.
Executive producers and screenwriters Toni Graphia and Luke Schelhaas discussed this adaptation on episode 603 of The Outlander Podcast. This is where Gabaldon’s books end and the Foreigner the writers bring their own experience.
‘Outlander’ is more than Diana Gabaldon’s books
Graphia gives full credit to Gabaldon for the stories of Foreigner. However, in his books, Gabaldon can stick to his point of view. When they turn the Foreigner books in a television show, the writers have to bring their own points of view. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a very good adaptation.
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“Everything that happens in Foreigner, it’s there in the books but it always pushes us to talk about [things]“said Graphia on The Outlander Podcast. “I think the best writers are the ones who are open and willing to dig into themselves and their own story and talk about things. So that at least when you write, you can bring some of that. Not the details of your own experience, but the feelings and emotions. The emotional tsunamis that flow from your own experiences should be on the page when you write. Otherwise, you’re just taking a dictation. Or your writing is flat.
Claire’s Ether Addiction Is An Example Of The ‘Outlander’ Writers Making It Personal
The conversation started on The Outlander Podcast when Schelhaas discussed a scene with Claire and Ether in the episode “Temperance”. Claire turns to the ether to deal with her kidnapping and rape in Season 5.
“There were a lot of conversations about it that I remember as well,” Schelhaas said. “Just in terms of we didn’t want her to use ether every episode. So we had to show her tempted but not use it sometimes. We had to show her that she was tempted in different ways. He couldn’t always feel the same. It had to feel like it was moving forward and it had to be real. We did a lot of research and talked a lot about this subject of temptation, addiction.
Diana Gabaldon’s Books Spark Many Modern Conversations
Foreigner is about a woman from the 1940s (and later 60s) time-traveling to the 1700s. However, the themes spark a lot of discussion about what’s going on in the writers’ lives today.
“The richness in it comes not only from our strong book base, but also from the things we discuss in the room and are brave enough to share with each other,” Graphia said. “That way we all get to know each other well and we appreciate, I think, and admire that we can share some of our things to do great art here. I’m sure the actors do the same and there bring their own emotions and draw inspiration from them when acting methodically.
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Even if a discussion does not make it Foreigner, Graphia always enjoys having these discussions with her fellow writers. Graphia said it made the writers room feel like a family.
It can become almost like therapy sessions because to be a writer, at least my experience has been, I don’t speak for everyone but I think you have to bring your own experience and be willing to share it in the writers room. Many of us end up opening up and it feels like a safe space where we can talk about things that have happened to us, obstacles we’ve encountered in life, or people we’ve known. Everyone brings their perspective because almost everyone has been through something, whether it’s violent trauma, illness or death.
Toni Graphia, The Outlander Podcast episode 603
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