Warning: Spoilers ahead for the September 10 episode of Outlander.
In Outlander‘s season three premiere, viewers were treated to something readers only hear about in the book series: the Battle of Culloden. Showing the battle was important to the writers because they wanted viewers to see “Jamie’s plight.” It also gave them a chance to give Black Jack Randall a real send-off, which actor Tobias Menzies really appreciated.
“I like the way it was built into this sort of hallucinatory sequence of Jamie remembering fragments of the battle, it’s buried in there,” Menzies told Brit + Co and a group of reporters at the 2017 TCA summer press tour. “I liked that it was a strange kind of dance-slash-fight-slash-embrace. It felt like it was in keeping with what’s come before. But it’s a hard relationship to tie up, really.”
In fact, it’s a relationship the show almost didn’t tie up. Menzies revealed to us that the show actually “shot an alternate [take] where he takes a breath.”
As book readers well know, Black Jack Randall dies at Culloden and that’s the end of things. But it turns out that the Outlander writers gave some serious thought to keeping him alive.
“We wanted the option, you know what I mean?” said executive producer Maril Davis when we asked her about Black Jack’s possible survival. But she went on to say that the more they discussed it, the more they didn’t think it was the right move.
“We realized, like, how much farther could we take that character? He’s already done so much to Jamie and Claire. I don’t know if we could have, and even in talking to [author Diana Gabaldon], it just seemed like that character had probably completed his arc,” Davis said.
Still, she admitted it was “so tempting” to keep him alive. “He’s such a baddie and such a significant character in the show, so it’s hard to lose him — and Tobias, I love him,” Davis said.
We had to ask, though — if they had kept him alive, where and when was Black Jack Randall going to reappear?
“Honestly, I was thinking maybe we’d see him in America,” Davis revealed. “Maybe somehow he ended up there, but we decided not to use that take. It was an interesting thing that we wondered about because it is a great loss of a character, even though obviously everyone’s excited to see him finally die. But it is a great loss.”
What do you think about Black Jack Randall’s death? Tell us @BritandCo.
(photos via Starz)