‘Outlander’ Creator Reveals Roger’s Storyline In the Series Was Accidental

Roger MacKenzie is one of the most beloved characters in the Outlander books and TV series. He’s become a central player in the time-traveling story. But according to author Diana Gabaldon, Roger’s storyline was actually created by accident.

Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton in 'Outlander'
Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton in ‘Outlander’ | Starz

Roger MacKenzie was introduced later in the ‘Outlander’ series

Outlander is centered on the epic love story of Claire and Jamie Fraser — characters portrayed by Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan on the Starz series. After Claire accidentally jumps through a time portal that takes her back 200 years, she meets the Highlander, falls in love, and gets married. They have a daughter together, Brianna (played by Sophie Skelton on the show), who is born when Claire travels back to the future. 

Roger Wakefield/MacKenzie is introduced as a child in both the first novel and Season 1 of the TV series. As the adoptive son of Reverend Wakefield, he doesn’t have much of a role and has nothing to do with Claire’s initial time-traveling adventures. 

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But in Gabaldon’s second book, Dragonfly in Amber, and Season 2 of the Starz series, Roger (portrayed by Richard Rankin) reappears as an adult in Claire’s life. While she’s visiting him in Scotland, Claire tells Roger and Brianna about her time-travel and Jamie. Roger believes Claire and helps her find historical documents that prove her story to be true. 

Roger is now one of the main characters in ‘Outlander’

After returning to her time, Claire always believed that Jamie died in the Battle of Culloden. But Roger finds proof that Jamie survived the war, and he helps Claire travel back in time to find him. After Claire goes back through the portal, Brianna and Roger’s friendship turns into a romance. 

When Brianna travels back in time to find her parents, Roger follows her. The two are then married in the 1700s colonial America, where they end up making a home and having a baby, Jemmy. 

Along with Claire, Jamie, and Brianna, Roger has become one of the series’ main characters. And his every action is tied to the well-being of the rest of the Fraser family. 

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Diana Gabaldon admits Roger came about by accident

In a recent Outlander panel for Paley Fest, Gabaldon chatted with the cast and creators of the Starz series. When asked about how and why she wrote Roger and Brianna’s relationship in contrast to Claire and Jamie’s, the author noted that it wasn’t intentional and that she lets her characters grow as she writes. 

“I don’t actually create characters, I kind fo find them, and then we add layers as they come along,” said Gabaldon. “Some characters, like Claire and Jamie, I understand them immediately, but they kind of get more pungent and rich as we work together, me and the book that is.”

Gabaldon also admitted that Roger’s addition to the story was just a happy accident. “Brianna and Roger sort of came about…well, Roger came about accidentally because I needed somebody to go back in history and find something for Claire,” she explained. 

In the same way that Roger went from plot device to main character, Gabaldon said that his fiery relationship with Brianna continued to grow. Hopefully, as both the Starz and Gabaldon series continue, fans will see more of Roger and how he fits into the Fraser’s larger time-traveling story arc.