‘Outlander’ Author Diana Gabaldon Made a Slick Cameo in the TV Series

Diana Gabaldon is the author of the Outlander novel series, on which the fan-favorite Starz drama TV series Outlander is based on. Essentially, Diana Gabaldon is to Outlander what George R.R. Martin is to Game of Thrones (in fact, Gabaldon has even thrown shade at her fellow author.)  Gabaldon has had a huge influence on the Outlander TV series including continuously writing further additions to the Outlander novel series, and she has even made a cameo on the TV series.

What is the Outlander TV Series? 

Diana Gabaldon and Sam Heughan
Diana Gabaldon and Sam Heughan | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

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If you haven’t already heard about it, Outlander is a historical, science-fiction drama-series that has been filmed for over six seasons.

Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall(Caitriona Balfe), who is living in post-WWII Scotland before she mysteriously travels back in time after encountering the stones at Craigh na Dun. Here she is unknowingly transported to 18th Century Scotland and finds romance and adventure with Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), a high warrior who is caught in the middle of the Jacobsites rising. 

Based on Diana Gabaldon’s novel, the Outlander series follows Claire and her romance with Jamie Fraser and the exhilarating adventure that comes with being in the middle of a rebellion. Although Claire initially marries Jamie out of safety, they quickly fall in love in a time when both Claire’s freedom and safety are constantly in jeopardy.

Who is Diana Gabaldon?

Diana Gabaldon was born on January 11th, 1952 in Scottsdale, Arizona. She went to college at Northern Arizona University where she earned an undergraduate degree in zoology.

Gabaldon then went on to earn her Master’s in marine biology before earning a Ph.D. in behavioral ecology from Northern Arizona University in 1975. She then went on to work as a research professor at Arizona State University. 

Gabaldon initially started writing novels with no intention of them ever being seen by the public. According to Gabaldon’s website, her first novel, Outlander, was inspired by a Doctor Who episode which involved both time travel and a Scotsman from the 18th Century. 

Gabaldon’s website also describes Gabaldon posted a small excerpt of the Outlander on a CompuServe Literary Forum where it was discovered by author John E. Smith who got her in touch with a publisher. Following the success of the Outlander (which was published in 1991) and the completion of her second novel, Gabaldon resigned from her position at Arizona State University to write full time.

Gabaldon’s involvement in the TV series 

The Outlander series was adapted to the television drama series in 2014. According to AZ Central, Gabaldon is a consultant for the TV series and has even helped write the screenplay for season 2, episode 11.

Additionally, all the seasons on the Outlander are based on Gabaldon’s books, and she releases additional novels prolifically so that the series never catches up to the novels

Although Gabaldon tries to keep her involvement in the writing of the TV series minimal, her significant influence on the series is undeniable. Apart from providing the basis of the TV series and writing the screenplay for an episode, Gabaldon has also made a cameo on the Outlander. As mentioned in Marie Claire, in season 1, episode 4 (The Gathering) of the Outlanders, Gabaldon appeared as Iona MacTavish and she had around two lines.

Currently, Outlander is entering its sixth season and, like most shows, filming has been stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sixth season is projected to begin filming in 2021 and is likely to premiere in 2022. Even further into the future, there is also predicted to be a Season 7, so the TV series isn’t likely to be slowing down anytime soon.