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Starz series Outlander is very much about Jamie (played by Sam Heughan) and Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe). However, when the show first launched, there were in fact three leads with Tobias Menzies rounding off the trio in the dual role of Claire’s first husband Frank Randall and his psychotic ancestor Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall. For the first three seasons of Outlander, the actors were a major part of the drama but by the end of this time, Menzies’ two characters met their maker in different circumstances.
How did Tobias Menzies feel about Black Jack death?
WARNING: This article contains spoilers from all seasons of Outlander
Season three saw Black Jack killed by Jamie at the Battle of Culloden as the British and the Jacobites went head to head in a catastrophic conflict, which would shape the course of Scottish history going forward.
Frank, on the other hand, died in a car crash in 20th century Boston after a quarrel with Claire in which he planned to divorce her.
While Black Jack may be gone now, Frank featured in a small moment in season four when his adoptive daughter Brianna MacKenzie (Sophie Skelton) travelled back in time to be reunited with her mother and biological father.
Speaking on the DVD extras about exiting the show, actor Menzies broke down his death scene at Culloden.
He said: “In season three you see the demise of both Frank and Jack, so it’s the end of an almost four-year collaboration with this show. A bit of an end of an era.”
The British actor went onto say how the makers wanted to create a duality between his two characters.
Menzies explained: “That’s the dice game we’ve played throughout the show.
“Obviously, the contrast but then to find flashes of Frank in Jack and vice-versa.”
He said of his final scenes: “In season three, we only get a little hit of Jack at Culloden and it’s done rather beautifully.
“It’s the last encounter between Jack and Jamie, which is spoken about in the books but not directly dramatized.”
The star continued: “We were looking for, as always with those encounters, a slightly leftfield angle of this hatred stroke love affair between these two men.
“It ends in this strange, sort of dream-like death dance. It’s this strange kind of embrace.”
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While co-star Heughan said: “They sort of go into this, almost Hades sort of space where they are fighting for so long that everyone else disappears and it’s only the two of them left.”
In Black Jack’s death throes, it seemed as if he reached out to touch Jamie before the two men fell to the ground.
This moment was either choreographed in rehearsals or something the two actors decided to do on set on the day, according to producer Ronald D. Moore.
Addressing this last gesture, Menzies said this last beat of the relationship seemed like an apt way to address the fraught dynamic between Jamie and Black Jack.
He said: “That felt in keeping with what we’d tried to do all the way along.”
Although it looks like Menzies part in the show is very much over bar any flashbacks, Black Jack does make an appearance in the later books by Diana Gabaldon.
This means, there’s scope for the actor to return at a later date should either Frank or Black Jack show up.
Since finding fame on Outlander, Menzies has taken on a raft from projects from the likes of Game of Thrones, Doctor Who and The Terror.
He will be returning to the role of Prince Philip for The Crown season four, which will be arriving on Netflix very soon.
Outlander seasons 1 to 5 are available to buy on Blu-Ray and DVD now
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