EXCLUSIVE: 'Outlander' Premiere Secrets: Jamie's Culloden Vision of Claire Was Almost Not in the Episode!

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Outlander Season 3 Jamie Claire
Photo: Starz

WARNING: We're about to discuss spoilers from the season three premiere of Outlander. If you have not watched "The Battle Joined," then you'd better head back through the stones and press play immediately. For everyone else, grab a dram of whisky and read on…

Cheers, Outlander fans!

We survived the gruesome 428 days of the Droughtlander and we've finally reunited with Claire and Jamie in Sunday night's highly anticipated season three premiere.

It was 54 minutes of heart-pounding perfection, but we know that all true Outlander fans wanted more -- so ET called up executive producer Maril Davis to get the inside scoop on Jamie's fighting flashbacks and Claire's doting housewife dilemmas.

ET: In the season three premiere, I loved the fact that the Battle of Culloden was told through wounded Jamie's flashbacks. Can you explain the decision behind that creative choice?

MD: When we were facing Culloden, obviously there was a lot of pressure, but we still set out to make the best episode that we could. Actually, Ron wrote the script in a much more linear fashion initially, and the battle was [originally told] just kind of like A-B-C. But when we got down to try and schedule the battle, we realized we could never shoot that in the number of days we had, so through that we realized we had to do a more creative way of seeing the battle take place.

We all talked about doing it in flashbacks and chopping it up, and actually we're so much more pleased with the end result then I think we would've been if we had been able to make that in a linear fashion. So in some ways, our restrictions from a production standpoint actually led us to a more creative place. Then adding in the Claire vision and Rupert and everything else -- it's just such a special episode. Also, we actually never see Culloden in the books and, as a book fan, I think you do feel disappointed because for two full books, that's all they've been talking about. To not see it seems like it would be a little bit of a disappointment, so I'm so thrilled that we were able to start off the season with that.

Meanwhile, in the present-day side of the premiere, we saw that Claire is struggling with the fact that she's in a world where women are treated like second-class citizens. Why was it important for you to highlight that theme right off the bat?

Well, I think we've always talked about the fact that in an strange way, Claire going back to the 1700s had much more freedom in some ways then she ever would've had if she had never gone thought the stones. We've talked about her marriage with Frank and the fact that it probably wouldn’t have ended happily -- even though it obviously doesn’t end happily in our show either. Claire, after the war, was used to being on the front lines and being able to help out, and when she goes back, we see a glimpse of what her life would've been. She has seen all of this action and she's so used to being so hands-on, but now she's been relegated to being housewife and having everyone's restrictions of how they feel about women being placed on her.

It's really hard for her, because she does want to be a healer and a doctor and she doesn’t want to feel like she's not contributing, so it's important for us to show a realistic portrayal of the struggles a woman would've gone through. Obviously, she's struggling with the loss of Jamie, and Jamie is struggling as well in his time, but they're both dealing with things in their own times. Not just the loss of each other, but also feeling like they're no longer themselves and they can't do the things that they want to do.

Outlander Caitriona Balfe
Photo: Starz

For all the fans who have waited so many months for this new season, what do you want to say to them as they embark into Voyager and continue into season three?

MD: I hope that the wait has been worth it. I know everyone is like, "What's taking you so long?!" and I keep saying to people that if we could be on earlier, we would. We're still working on this season. We just saw a cut of [episode] 3x13 yesterday and that's all still in post, so we haven't actually even finished the season in post yet, but I hope the wait is worth it.

I'm not lying when I say I think this is our best season yet. All seasons are loved, but this season we get a chance to see Jamie really come into this own and I think Sam [Heughan] is a tour de force this season, and Caitriona [Balfe] just keeps raising her game. I think this season is so satisfying for me and will be so incredibly satisfying [for the fans] to see their journey back to each other. Voyager is just such an apt name for this season, because everyone is on a voyage. Claire and Jamie are on a voyage to get back to each other, Bree is on a voyage to self discovery – everyone has their journey to kind of get to that place and be the people they become. And I think there is much more intimacy this season. Certainly once you get to the back half the season, the train leaves the station and we're well on our way, so I think it's extremely satisfying and I think everyone will be incredibly pleased.

Listen up, Outlander fans! Be sure to keep it locked to ETonline every Sunday night for exclusive post-episode details from executive producer Maril Davis and your favorite Outlander stars!