Caitriona Balfe knew there was a loyal “Outlander” fanbase when she took on the role of Claire for the Starz adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s series of best-selling novels, but she was surprised at the response she’s gotten from fans.
“They genuinely want to tell me their stories, which is not what I expected. But it’s really humbling,” says the Irish actress. “You have women come up to you who have obviously dealt with things like miscarriage, losing a loved one and losing a child and other things that have happened on the show,” she explains. “And a lot of them want to share those experiences with me with me.”
The time-traveling historical romantic fantasy begins its third series with 13 new episodes Sunday and has already renewed for a 13-episode fourth year.
Balfe plays a World War II-era nurse in the handsomely produced series. In the story, while visiting some ancient Stonehenge-like monuments, she is mysteriously transported back to the 18th-century Highlands.
Season 3, however, finds Claire and the love of her life, the hunky Scotsman Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) separated. At the end of last year, Jaime has sent a pregnant Claire back through the portal to her own time and her professor husband, Frank (Tobias Menzies). Jaime believed that he was destined to die in battle, but in a flash-forward 20 years after she returns Claire discovers he survived.
When the story picks up, Claire is living with Frank in Boston in 1948, where he is a Harvard history professor. He has taken her back, despite her being pregnant. It won’t be until later she finds out about Jaime’s fate, and Jaime himself must deal with the fact that he didn’t die and now must live without Claire.