‘Outlander’: Why Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe Were Determined to Become Series Producers

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe are famous for playing Jamie and Claire Fraser on Outlander, but the two are also series producers. In a recent interview, Balfe revealed that she and Heughan were determined to get these behind-the-scenes positions for years.

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe
Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe have been on ‘Outlander’ since 2015

Starz hit series, Outlander is based on author Diana Gabaldon’s literary series of the same name. With its 2015 premiere, the show gave Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe their career-defining roles as Jamie and Claire. 

Since then, the two stars have been at the center of the show’s epic love story, playing a couple that would travel through space and time to be together. The series has aired five seasons so far, all of which are centered around Balfe and Heughan’s characters. 

There is no ‘Outlander’ without Balfe and Heughan

At this point, for most fans, it’s hard to imagine that any other actors besides Balfe and Heughan as Claire and Jamie. They’ve both been in almost every episode of the season, and they are just as much a part of the show as its writing. In a recent interview with Gold Derby, Balfe revealed that after immersing themselves in these characters, she and Heughan felt they could contribute more to the series, especially on a production level.

“I think Sam and I are in quite a unique position,” she explained. “We’ve been on the show, and I’ve been on that set you know every single day pretty much since season 1, little less in the last two seasons, but you become just so aware of everything that’s going on. And you know, it became apparent to me that there are certain places that I can be of benefit and I could really help out.”

The two stars put in requests to be producers years ago

In her chat with Gold Derby, Balfe said that she and Heughan realized they could offer a lot more to the series behind the scenes after the first few seasons. But when the actors asked for positions as Outlander producers, it took a while for their requests to be filled. 

“We sort of put in a request in prior seasons,” she explained. “I don’t think they were ready for that, but we had a renegotiation, and part of that was that we both wanted to be producers. And it takes a long time for these things to be worked out, so it wasn’t until this last season that that happens.”


‘Outlander’ Star Caitriona Balfe Was ‘Paid Abysmally’ and Worked ‘Insane Hours’ in Season 1

Heughan and Balfe finally assumed their roles as producers in 2019. But Balfe noted that they weren’t able to contribute fully at the beginning of Season 5 because of how late they joined the production team. 

“We didn’t really get the approval until right before shooting, so earlier on, I think we didn’t have as much influence,” Balfe said. “But definitely toward the end of the season, in terms of really working the scripts, we were there and we had a lot of new writers and a lot of new producers this season — I think we were really helpful being on the grounds, and being able to sort of walk people, who are kind of newer to the show, through what the core of our show [is], and really trying to retain the essence that we believed we may have slightly lost a little in Season 4.”

Balfe and Heughan will both return to produce and star in Outlander when it returns for season 6.