How Outlander executed that thrilling conclusion
WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Sunday’s episode of Outlander, “Creme De Menthe.”
Rest assured, fans: the A. Malcolm sign was saved.
But the rest of the print shop was “almost burned to the ground” while filming the pivotal moment in Sunday’s episode of Outlander. To prepare for the red-hot sequence where Jamie (Sam Heughan) saves his nephew Ian (John Bell) from the blaze, executive producer Matthew B. Roberts tells EW they set fire to a separate print shop erected in the parking lot of their Cumbernauld soundstages in Scotland. (There was also a big house close to Edinburgh off of the Royal Mile that served as the print shop’s practical location, though they could hardly take matches to that).
“We progressively burned it until it was a raging inferno,” explains Roberts of the parking lot structure. “We did it over two nights. We would get it to a certain stage and then art department would fix it up a bit so we can burn it again the next night. We took it progressively through the stages of the burn until it became roaring, fully engulfed.”
In the meantime, Heughan “got to do some great stunts” in his effort to save young Ian, who passed out because of the smoke.
“I love all that stuff, jumping over the balcony,” says Heughan, who hoisted Bell over his shoulder to escape the inferno. “When I first read that, I thought it was Jamie being heroic. It tells a story. How can he move the printing presses [to climb out of the first floor]? It’s so heavy. When you have to do these things when someone’s life is in danger, he brings this superhuman strength to save Ian’s life. It was really fun to do.”
And though it looked like Heughan danced with the flames up close, the actor was “protected,” says Roberts. Visual effects made it seem a lot more dangerous than it actually looked while filming the episode. “When you have all of the elements you move that fire around,” explains Roberts. “For Sam, we built the interior of the print shop. We did burns in there as well but we used flame bars so it was much more controlled. The ones in back, we burned wood.”
Thankfully, not everything from the print shop was left behind in a pile of ashes. The A. Malcolm sign not only “survived” the fire but now hangs in Roberts’ Scotland office.
Want to keep talking about Sunday’s episode? Tune into Outlander Live! on EW Radio, Sirius XM 105, at noon ET on Oct. 30.
Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.
Diana Gabaldon's genre-bending time-travel novels come to life in the Starz series.