Young Ian is a member of the Mohawk now!
In the Sunday finale of Outlander, Ian (John Bell) sacrificed himself to the Mohawk in order to spare Roger (Richard Rankin). Bell says the decision wasn’t much of a burden on his character and he relishes the new adventure. Here, Bell tells EW what it was like to shoot those scenes and also explains whether Young Ian will finally just go by Ian in future seasons.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It seems like Young Ian kind of relished the idea of this new adventure with the Mohawk, like it wasn’t actually a huge sacrifice for him to be traded to secure Roger’s freedom.
JOHN BELL: Yeah. It’s very true. I think for Ian, the minute he landed in the New World, he was fascinated by Native Americans and their culture. So to actually get the opportunity to not just observe and learn, but to actually live that life? He had to take it. He’s ready to have some fun and meet new people. You’re right. It wasn’t as much of a sacrifice for him to stay. But there is a sacrifice there to have to leave Jimmy and Claire behind.
Is he full of fear? Does he have any fear about it?
I would say, yeah. As a human being, absolutely. This is a New World that he’s now delving into. He is going to be fearful. But he’s also very much trying to prove that he is capable of surviving on his own. Ian is a survivor. When it comes to this new challenge, he is not swept off his feet in a moment of chaos. He is staring it down, head first! There is fear. But with fear comes ambition and adrenaline. That’s what sees him through.
It seems like Ian instinctively knew that he had to survive by running through that Mohawk gauntlet. Is that correct?
Absolutely. He knows exactly the consequences of what is going to happen over the next few minutes. There is nothing in his way. He says to himself, “No matter how many war cuffs, or sticks, or what warriors they throw at me, I will make it to that finish line.” It’s part of his faith, part of his destiny to see that through. It’s high tension but he rises to the occasion and proves that he is capable of being warrior-like, like Jamie.
What was it like shooting that gauntlet scene? Were the guys gentle with you?
[Laughs] Yeah. They were. They were as gentle as they could be when you’ve got war cuffs flying in your face. It was great to film, actually. I had such a blast. I love to dance, so to have that choreographed, it was just so exciting. Some people kept trying to be like, “Do you need a break? Do you want to take five?” I’m like, “No. No. Let’s go again. I want to go again.” As much as the tensions were high, I just had to keep reminding myself not to have a massive grin on my face because I was having so much fun.
Rollo obviously stays with Ian, right? I mean, the poor dog has no say?
Yeah. Ian is not there alone. He has Rollo by his side for as long as possible. They are lifelong buddies.
Did you make plans to stay in touch with Rollo over the hiatus so he wouldn’t forget you?
Yes. I did. Yes. It’s good to see Rollo when I can. I live in London but I’m also back and forth a lot. Whenever I go up to Scotland, I make sure to get in touch so I can see my Rollo. He hasn’t forgotten me yet, Lynette. You’ll be pleased to know.
Ian really grew up this season. Will we finally see them drop the “young” in front of his name?
Good question. Ian doesn’t see himself as much of a young Ian anymore. But nicknames can stick with you. So even when he comes back in the story later, I think there will always be a little part of him that is young Ian. You know?
For more about the season finale of Outlander, make sure to tune into Outlander Live! at 1 p.m. ET on Monday. We’ll have interviews with executive producer Toni Graphia and Sophie Skelton! Outlander Live! can be found on EW Radio, Sirius XM 105.