Outlander actor Richard Rankin says his character’s “heart will be ripped out” during Season 4 of the hugely successful drama and will be left barely recognisable by the end of the next instalment of the show.
Rankin, who plays kind and bookish Roger Wakefield in the show, was speaking ahead of the launch of the new series of the time travelling historical romance, which is due to air on November 5.
Roger is taken to the next level as he embarks on a “huge evolution” of character as the show largely switches its focus to 18th Century North Carolina.
His love interest Brianna, daughter of main characters Claire and Jamie Fraser, attempts to step back in time from 20th Century Scotland to reunite with her parents, who have now arrived in colonial-era America.
Rankin would not be drawn on whether he tries to follow his love through the ages but added: “What I can say about Roger is that he has this huge evolution of character, there are a lot of trials for him and his relationship with Brianna is tested to the absolute limit.
“He follows his heart, he is very much driven by that, and there is this thing in Roger that he cannot stand the thought of someone being in danger or pain or discomfort.
“He will do everything in his power to right a wrong and he hits many hurdles in Season Four, he trips himself up.
“You are going to see a very different side to him and he emerges a completely different character by the end.”
He added: “Roger is such an interesting part to play and he is on such an amazing journey through Season 4. As an actor, he has everything I need in a character.”
Rankin refers to a scene in Season Three where he makes a surprise visit to Boston to wish Brianna a Merry Christmas. Wearing a nice coat, pressed shirt and neat tie with his hair immaculately combed, he is at peak Roger when he rings the doorbell.
“That whole guy, that whole guy standing there, well he just doesn’t exist any more. He has had his heart ripped out,” he says.
As Season 4 of Outlander approaches, the promotional schedule for the show intensifies with Rankin due to be in London, US and Glasgow this week, where he has been filming psychological thriller Trust Me for BBC2.
Once stateside, dates in New York, Savannah, Georgia and LA beckon.
Rankin says Outlander has been “all consuming” since he secured the part of Roger Wakefield in 2015.
He added: “It’s very much present in my life, even when I am on another job, like I have been recently. Everything I do in my spare time is to do with Outlander whether it be interviews, travelling or promotion. Don’t get me wrong, it is by no means a chore but it does take up a lot of time.”
Even when he is doing something else, he is often thinking about Roger, he says.
Rankin has now taken part in several fan conventions, which he enjoys, and described the Outlander fandom as “passionate, unique and fiercely intelligent”.
He added: “The fans are the beating heart of Outlander. They are a very unique group of people with their passion and commitment to the show.
“They are vocal too - they like to be heard and I think they do have the ear of production who I think like to listen to the fans. They pay attention to what the are saying.
“I think that is just different from any other show.
“They are fiercely intelligent and they really get you thinking about the who and the characters. It’s like ‘you guys are really on this’.
“I’m really keen to see what the fans think about Season Four and the story as we move forward with it.”
Rankin, a former computing student at Glasgow Caledonian University in Glasgow, got into acting after a chance conversation with a producer while on holiday at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles around 13 years ago.
He said: “This chap, he was a very nice chap, we just got chatting and he said he thought I had the look of an actor. He just sort of planted a seed. I have always been creative, whether it be drumming, guitar, or thinking I was going to be an author. I just decided to give it a go.”
For Rankin - like Roger himself - there is just no going back now.
- Outlander S4 is available on Prime Video from November 5.