Diana Gabaldon explains why the show won’t get ahead of the books

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

Diana Gabaldon has previous said that she won’t do a George R.R. Martin, where the show gets head of the book content. In an interview, she explained why that wouldn’t happen with plenty of hope for the fans.

Outlander the TV series is not going to get ahead of the books. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this from Diana Gabaldon, but in an interview with Parade, she reconfirmed this statement. Rather than just saying it, though, she shared the reasons why.

One thing many Sassenachs worry about is the show telling the end of Claire and Jamie’s story before author Diana Gabaldon has a chance to. There’s the fear that the same thing that happened to Game of Thrones will occur. That certainly isn’t going to happen and with good reason.

While it takes Diana four to five years to write a book (depending on her travel commitments), it takes about 18 months to film a season. This likely takes into account the pre- and post-production process, which is lengthy, as the filming takes about nine months.

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Wait, that’s still a shorter time than writing the books, right? Well, there’s a benefit in when the filming started. Unlike Game of Thrones, which started filming when George R.R. Martin was still to bring out book six (and he’s still working on that book), the Outlander showrunners didn’t start developing the love story until Diana had brought out book eight. She’s working on book nine right now.

Diana Gabaldon shares that “Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone” should be out sometime next year. That’s the date she’s working with and has been for a while. By this time next year, Outlander Season 5 will still likely be filming. The fifth season isn’t likely to air until 2020 and then the sixth season will air sometime in 2021, possibly. That’s two years there for Diana to work on book 10, which is the final book.

Outlander Season 4
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

If STARZ renews Outlander after the sixth season (which is likely and the network does want to see this through to the end), there would still be three seasons of filming to catch up to book 10, so plenty of time for Diana to write it.

This does assume the show continues following one season per book. There’s the possibility that two seasons will need to cover one book at later stages. Of course, there’s also the chance that one season will cover two books, a little like The Last Kingdom.

However, Gabaldon doesn’t think the show is going to get ahead of her stories. Book fans will always have her source material first.

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Are you happy to hear confirmation that the show won’t get ahead of the books? What do you think of Diana Gabaldon’s explanation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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