In a story from Variety, Essential Pictures has started to develop "Outlander as a potential franchise based on the Diana Gabaldon series of fantasy novels."

Essential is "out to directors with an adaptation from Randall Wallace (Braveheart); the goal is to start production next spring. Gabaldon's series of six novels center on an 18th century Scottish Highlander and his time-traveling wife."

The production company "made the announcement in conjunction with disclosing that it's expanding operations from financing-sales shingle Essential Entertainment. The production arm's headed by equity firm maven Jim Kohlberg and former Trilogy Entertainment president Neal Kaplan."

The plan for Essential Pictures is "to develop, finance and produce two to three films a year in the $10 million-$40 million budget range, with some financing coming from foreign sales and domestic partners."

Evan Jacobs