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Main Article: Moorwen
The development of Outlander and its alien monster, the Moorwen, stemmed from director Howard McCain’s interest in Old English folklore — and particularly, the epic poem Beowulf. The would-be director discovered the story in 1992, and immediately began to envision a film version of the poem. In a time when The Lord of the Rings had yet to be released, McCain did not think that a purely fantasy film would resonate with audiences. He thus wanted to convert Beowulf into a science-fiction film, since the genre had experienced a new rise in popularity in the precedent decade. With this intention in mind, McCain had to find a manner to represent its main antagonist — Grendel, a creature deeply rooted in folklore and mythology — without having to resort to the supernatural. Working with writer Dirk Blackman, McCain found the solution in turning Grendel into an extraterrestrial entity — an approach that he found more convincing than a magical beast. “We said, ‘what if an alien creature landed on Earth [at the time of] the Vikings?’We believe that if Beowulf was based on the slightest grain of truth, that would be the most plausible explanation — the only possible source of the myth.”