‘Outlander’ Season 3 First Look At Sam Heughan At War, Plus Why The Opening Scene Is Not The Same As The Book

When Outlander returns to Starz next year, fans can expect a big departure from the book. Season 3 will pick up at the Battle of Culloden and Jamie (Sam Heughan) at war, which is a change from where Diana Gabaldon starts her third book in the hit series, Voyager.

Why did executive producer Ronald D. Moore decide to switch things up?

“It just felt like for the TV show, we’ve been promising this for a while and it just felt like we should have something,” Moore shared in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “We should give the audience some sense of what happened on that moor.”

With production for Season 3 in full swing, the first looks at Heughan in action have been released. On the show, fans can expect to watch Jamie duel it out with Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies), who imprisoned and raped him in Season 1.

Tobias Menzies as Black Jack Randall on 'Outlander.' [Photo by Aimee Spinks/Starz]

International Business Times is reporting that the new batch of photos show Jamie and Randall locked in a struggle for life and death. Based on the images, things are going to get bloody between the two men.

This is also a huge change from the books, which feature Jamie forgetting the main details of the battle. In fact, Voyager begins with a worn-out Jamie having virtually no memory of went down at the 1746 fight.

“We’re playing it out more,” Moore teased. “[It was] easily one of our biggest set pieces.”

“Tobias and I love doing the battle scenes,” Heughan added. “It felt very intense, very emotional for both characters. Something they both have been seeking.”

According to Fansided, the Battle of Culloden is one of the most anticipated events in the new season. Fans haven’t been this excited about a scene since Jamie’s imprisonment at the hands of Black Jack and, of course, his wedding to Claire (Caitriona Balfe).

“It felt like everyone was really desperate to get into this battle,” says Heughan. “This is a big part of our culture and our history.”

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser in a sneak peek from Season 3 of 'Outlander.' [Image by Aimee Spinks/Starz]

Of course, the television series has had to change a lot of things from the books. Last season, fans were surprised after Angus (Stephen Walters) was killed instead of Willie (Finn Den Herzog).

Outlander scribe Gabaldon doesn’t mind all the changes from the book and even switched things up herself when she wrote the 11th episode of last season. As fans will recall, the episode featured the death of the Duke of Sandringham, which wasn’t included in the book. Despite the changes, the majority of Outlander’s plot lines have stayed true to the book series, and the same can be said of the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, fans will be introduced to a number of exciting characters next season, including Lord John Grey, played by David Berry. In the books, Lord John meets Jamie at a prison, and the two become fast friends. Gabaldon liked Lord John so much that she even wrote a number of spin-off novels devoted entirely to the character.

We have our Lord John Grey. Welcome to the clan @mrdavidberry! #Outlander

A photo posted by Outlander (@outlander_starz) on

At the same time, John Bell is set to play the part of Jamie’s nephew, Ian Murray.

Apart from starting the season with the historical battle, fans will also see an aged Jamie and Claire reunite. As most fans know, the Season 2 finale featured Claire traveling back to her own time in the 20th century, unaware that Jamie would survive the epic battle.

The two remain apart for twenty years before Claire realizes Jamie is alive and travels back in time to rekindle their love.

“For the first few episodes, we’re going to show the parallel journeys that Jamie and Claire took during their 20 years apart from one another,” explains Balfe.

It is unknown when their reunion will take place next season, but the two lovers will eventually travel far from Scotland across the ocean to exotic places like the Caribbean.

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser (Randall) on 'Outlander.' [Photo by Aimee Spinks/Starz]

With production now underway, fans can expect the producers to release more teasers about the new season in the months to come.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before we see the first looks of Jamie as an older man.

Season 3 of Outlander is expected to premiere on Starz in 2017. Be sure to check out EW’s behind-the-scenes photos below.

[Featured Image by Aimee Spinks/Starz]