Outlander: Why was Rory Burns replaced as Roger?
Outlander: Sam Heughan discusses playing Young Ian
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Starz series Outlander is known for its expansive cast and storytelling with the show going back and forth in time. The show not only sees the action going from the 1940s in the aftermath of World War II to 17th century Scotland, but also covers a large period of time. To account for the passage of time on the show, some of the actors have been re-cast over the years.
Why was Rory Burns replaced as Roger Wakefield?
Roger Wakefield was recast with child actor Rory Burns originally playing the character in Outlander.
He appeared in the show between 2014 and 2016 in two episodes – Both Sides Now and Through a Glass, Darkly.
Roger, who was the adoptive son of Reverend Ian Wakefield (James Fleet), was depicted as a young, bookish boy.
He spent a lot of time in his father’s library with the vicar being something of an amateur historian when he wasn’t delivering sermons.
According to a blog post from Outlander TV News in 2014, Rory filmed his scenes at Hunterston House in West Kilbride.
The blog goes on to detail how the young actor was “unfazed” by the film set despite the size of the crew and the lighting equipment.
His mother said: “A highlight for Rory was a scene in which he gets a biscuit to eat.
“Eventually after three biscuits the props staff realised that given the chance Rory would eat the whole packet!”
There were even some behind-the-scenes photos of Claire Fraser star Caitriona Balfe with young Rory when he reprised the role in 2016.
Actor Richard Rankin was cast as the adult Roger in season three, which features a 20-year time jump to mark the separation between Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and Claire.
Rankin simply portrays an adult version of the character in order to show time has passed since he was featured as a young boy.
So, rather than replacing the character outright, it was more a case of having an adult version and a child version of Roger.
Rankin revealed he had many auditions before landing the role of Roger including reading some scenes with Claire and Brianna Fraser (Sophie Skelton).
Speaking to Showbiz Junkies back in 2017, Rankin said of clinching the part: “There weren’t many scenes that I auditioned with that were in season two and most of them weren’t even in season three.
“So, I think they just wanted to get a good sense of where we may go with the characters. A lot of them were spread out over the books rather than already adapted scenes for television.”
When viewers first met adult Roger, he was serving as a history professor at Oxford University and was also aiding Claire in her quest to discover whether Jamie had survived Culloden.
The actor revealed he did a lot of research both of the time period as well as the culture, politics and music of the era.
He also read a lot from Diana Gabaldon’s novels to get a sense of Roger in preparation for filming.
Rankin admitted to reading the fifth novel The Fiery Cross, saying: “The reason that I read ahead was just to get an idea, because I didn’t have a whole lot of material available to me when we started on season two.
“I just wanted to get a more rounded idea of what Roger was about and what the fans would expect and their perception of him.
“And also to give myself an idea of where he was headed so I’m then in a better position to plot that throughline for Roger.”
Outlander season 7 is in production now
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