Outlander: Why was Roger not originally supposed to be in Outlander? Star reveals all

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Starz series Outlander takes its cue from American author Diana Gabaldon’s novel series. Each season of the show roughly covers one book from the saga. The Outlander TV show has remained faithful by and large to the source material with many of the characters introduced to the adaptation.

Among the characters to gradually take on more of a main role of Roger MacKenzie (played by Richard Rankin).

Roger was previously introduced as the adoptive son of Reverend Ian Wakefield (James Fleet).

The Oxford University history professor went on to have a relationship with Brianna Fraser (Sophie Skelton) with a pair eventually tying the knot in season five.

Season four saw Roger and Brianna start to gain more prominence after being peripheral characters previously.

However, author Gabaldon has suggested Roger was never really intended to be part of the Outlander story when she was penning the books.

Speaking recently on panel for Paley Fest, she and other members of the Outlander cast and crew opened up about the show and the books.

She said: “Roger sort of came about by accident really because I needed somebody to back in history and find something for Claire.

“Then we had Brianna. She only existed because Claire was pregnant at the end.

“So, it took me a little while to figure her out, found out who she was.

“She’s what I call a hard nut, people I just have to live with for a while and beat on them and eventually they crack open and show you themselves which she did.

But because of this gradual discovery of their characters, they came to life somewhat differently and also they are part of Jamie and Claire’s relationship as well.”

Roger has been a tricky character and a deeply flawed one, particularly with regard to Brianna given his traditional outlook on marriage and sex despite the pair living at the height of the sexual revolution.

He also landed himself in trouble with the Frasers after leaving Brianna to fend for herself following a heated argument.

Brianna was subsequently sexually assaulted and the paternity of the father was unclear.

To make matters worse, Roger decided he needed time to think about whether he wanted to be with her after he discovered Brianna was expecting.

Gabaldon went on to explain how Brianna’s relationship with her father was going to affect her relationship choices.

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In the case of Brianna, she had a tricky dynamic because she essentially had two fathers: Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).

She was close to Frank, whom she grew up with, and spent most of her life believing the Harvard history professor was her father.

Her relationship with Jamie was more complex given he is an 18th century Highlander and struggled to cope with her sexual assault at the hands of Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers).

“So that kind of relationship – a girl’s relationship with her father is going to affect her marriage, her choice of mate, how she gets along with said mate and Brianna has had a much different background to Claire did.

“So, her marriage is going to be different too regardless of who she marries. As it is, she luckily got a nice, patient man.”

Outlander seasons 1 to 5 are streaming on Amazon Prime Video now

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