Vikings: Valhalla is a brand new spin-off to History Channels signature Vikings series. The Netflix Original is coming globally at some point in 2021 and here’s an up-to-date roundup of everything we know about season one of Vikings: Valhalla.
Vikings: Valhalla is an upcoming Netflix Original historical-drama created by Michael Hirst and a spin-off of the popular History Channel series, Vikings. The series will be produced by MGM Productions like its predecessor.
Hirst offered his thoughts whether the new series will match Vikings in scope and scale and gave a little glimpse of how the world is changed in the prequel:
“It couldn’t be on a greater scale than the final episodes of my Vikings. Because the armies and the big battles we had… You really can’t get much bigger than that, actually. But what can I say? It is being made in the same places, a lot of it. We go back to Kattegat. That, of course, is the spiritual home of the Vikings. But it’s a changed Kattegat. It’s an established… It’s one of the biggest ports really, trading ports in Europe. It’s grown in size and significance.The King of England has become a Viking. The Vikings have overrun most of England and they own Normandy.”
Jeb Stuart is on board to write who is most known for his work on movies including The Fugitive from 1993, Die Hard from 1988 and is also currently working on The Liberator for Netflix.
What is the plot of Vikings: Valhalla?
Set over 100 years after the events of Vikings, the end of the Viking age draws ever closer as the Kingdom of England stands tall against its Scandanavian raiders. After the death of King Edward the Confessor, three lords make claim to the English throne, changing the future of England forever.
In a recent interview, Hirst commented on how Valhalla will be connected to the original Vikings show, confirming that we will be seeing a lot of the same locations from it:
“What Jeb [Stuart] does actually is he pays attention to the mythology of the Vikings. So whenever they meet in the great hall in Kattegat, and of course they talk about the great eras who used to sit in the same hall at the same table, and they were Ragnar Lothbrok, Lagertha, and Bjorn Ironside, and Ivar the Boneless, who are now mythic characters even within the show, even within Vikings: Valhalla. That’s a really great connection and effect. It gives ready-made histories to the new show. So you don’t need to know who Ragnar is to watch the new show. But it enriches the show and it hopefully will make people go back and find out, ‘Well who are these people they keep talking about? Was Ragnar so great? Why are these people mythic characters?’ So everything connects in a useful, and interesting, and fascinating way.”
Who are the main characters in Vikings: Valhalla?
It has already been confirmed that we’ll be seeing the following historical figures in action: Leif Eriksson, Freydis Eriksdottir, Harald Hardrada, and William the Conqueror. Michael Hirst also mentioned Erik the Red in an interview with Collider. Erik is the father to Leif and Freydis, as it can be seen by their last names.
In August 2020, we got word of a number of characters and the first trickle of actors set to appear however we still don’t have official cast names for the main characters. With that said, we can reveal some of the main character names and character descriptions.
Leif Eriksson (Codename: Vidar Skardesson)
The official casting description for “Vidar” is the following:
Born in Iceland and raised in Greenland, Vidar represents a new breed of Viking – one raised far from the Norse mothership and without the experience of raiding. But as we will quickly discover, that doesn’t mean he is any less a Viking. Vidar is a warrior and an adventurer, fascinated by unknown lands and unafraid of the sea. When we meet him, he has just piloted a small ship of Greenlanders across 2000 miles of the North Atlantic. Fiercely loyal to his family, there are signs of trouble with his domineering and dogmatic father (Skarde), and he’s primed for rebellion. Like his sister Signe, Vidar has been raised a believer of Odin and “the old ways”, but unlike Signe, he is much more open to new thoughts.
Freydis Eriksdottir (Codename: Signe Skardesdottir)
The official character description for “Signe” is the following:
Vidar’s fiery half-sister. A sexually liberated and fiercely pagan shield-maiden. Signe is much more like their volatile father than Vidar. A horrific rape at the hands of a Christian Viking made her militantly anti-Christian and as the series progresses, Signe becomes the leader of the last Viking pagan holdouts against the rising tide of Christianity that is flooding Scandinavia. Mentored by the strong female leader of Kattegat, The Jarl, Signe leads the “last holdouts” in defence of a Viking Holy City against Christian Vikings and will eventually begin a personal quest to find a new home for them. Despite the hardened pagan views, she is romantically drawn into a relationship with the final main lead: a Christian Viking named Torsen.
The official character for “Torsen” is the following:
If Vidar is rough around the edges, Torsen is smooth and polished. Though every bit the warrior as Vidar, Torsen comes from Viking royal stock, close to the seat of Norse power and charismatic leader. Having just escaped the massacre of St. Brice’s Day Torsen is an active part of a great retribution force being assembled by King Kaden and one of his chief lieutenants. His relationship with Vidar, forged on the battlefields of Season 1 will grow as the series progresses.
Harold Harada (Codename: Kaden I)
The official character description for “Kaden” is as follows:
Son of a king of Denmark, wise, savvy and ruthless, Kaden is guided by two different voices: Alienor, his politically astute queen and Earl Colby, a scheming and ambitious Anglo-Saxon councellor.
Do we know any cast members of Vikings: Valhalla?
We have very good reasons to believe that the following four actors will be either main or recurring characters in the upcoming Vikings spinoff. Firstly, we have Danish actor Kenneth Christensen (Borgen, The Last Kingdom) and Icelandic actor Johannes Haukur Johannesson (Game of Thrones, Cursed). Both have been in Ireland for the last several months and can even be seen in the following photo together from Christensen’s Instagram.
Next two actors are Frida Gustavsson (The Witcher) and David Oakes (Victoria, The Borgias). As with the previous two, they have spent the last few months in Ireland and Frida can be seen with crew members celebrating the wrapping. Next to Frida is Icelandic actress Álfrún Laufeyjardóttir and we believe she might be cast too, but she sometimes works as a production assistant as well so we aren’t sure which job she has in Valhalla. While we don’t know which characters they play, we can be sure Christensen, Johannesson and Gustavsson play vikings while Oakes is most likely playing an English character.
Moreover, in summer 2020, we got some of the first actual cast names including German actress Yvonne Mai has been cast in Vikings: Valhalla to play a character named Merin. Secondly, Bill Murphy will play the character named Odgar in season 1. And lastly, we have Ethan Dillon whose role is currently unknown, although we know it is a recurring role.
In September 2020, we learned of a few more cast members for Vikings: Valhalla. First, there’s Bosco Hogan playing a character named Athelred. Then we have two others: both men of William the Conqueror’s royal court. Alan Devine has been cast as the Ealdorman of Kent and Gavin O’Connor will portray the Ealdorman of East Anglia. Interestingly, Alan Devine and Bosco Hogan have already appeared in Vikings as Ealdorman Eadric in the second season and Abbot of Lindisfarne in the fifth season respectively. Lastly, we have Jack Mullarkey playing a character named Toke.
We can also confirm that Karen Connell, who played the Angel of Death in Vikings will return in Valhalla. It is currently unknown whether she will have the same role or a different one since as you noticed above, returning actors don’t always have the same roles. Other than Connell, we have learned that another Vikings actor, Gavan O’Connor Duffy will play a character named Njall in Valhalla. Previously in Vikings he played King Frodo. Irish actor Mark Huberman will play the Ealdorman of Sussex.
Who else is involved with Vikings: Valhalla?
Beyond the cast we know of a few other crew members working on the show:
Steve Saint Leger is currently pegged to direct three episodes of Season 1. He’s not only directed a number of episodes in the main Vikings series but also is set to direct in Netflix’s Barbarians arriving in late 2020.
Niels Arden Oplev, the BAFTA-winning Danish director who helmed episodes for such series as Mr. Robot and Under the Dome is also set to direct one or more episodes for the first season of Valhalla.
Katheryn Winnick is also very likely to direct episodes of Valhalla. Winnick famously played the legendary shield-maiden Lagertha for six seasons of Vikings and also directed one episode of the final season for which she won Women’s Image Award in the ‘Best Director’ category. The aforementioned actor Mark Huberman lists Winnick as the director of his episode in his acting CV.
Steve Saint Leger will be returning to the Vikings universe to direct episodes of Netflix’s Vikings: Valhalla. pic.twitter.com/BqkgbP2r3N
— What’s on Netflix (@whatonnetflix) September 1, 2020
Trevor Morris who serves as the composer for much of season 6 of Vikings will return for Valhalla. His other credits include The Tudors and Hunter Killer.
What is the production status of Vikings: Valhalla?
Official Production Status: On hiatus (Last Updated: 28/11/2020)
Pre-production for Vikings: Valhalla had started earlier this year, but was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, it was resumed in July 2020 and now we can confirm that filming has started in Ashford Studios, Ireland as of August 2020. We don’t know exactly how long filming will last, but originally it was planned to be from March to October 2020.
On another note, we’re hearing that the second season of Vikings: Valhalla is in already development. Considering that the previous Vikings seasons were filmed with not very big intervals, we could expect Vikings: Valhalla Season 2 to enter production sometime in the second half of 2021 for a possible late 2022 or early 2023 release.
In September 2020 we got a few more photos from the set. Below, you can see a gallery of photos from the first weeks of filming at Ashford Studios. As you can see, it is clearly Kattegat. Many of the pictures are by Broadsheet‘s Harry Warren.
On October 8th 2020 it was reported by The Irish Times that filming for Vikings: Valhalla was suspended that week after a dozen of cast and crew members tested positive for Covid. Later that week production resumed after it was cleared that those were only false positives and the cast and crew members were fine. The production halt only lasted a few days and Vikings were back to their viking business.
In late November 2020 cast and crew started to post updates about wrapping production on Vikings: Valhalla after filming for four months. It is unknown how much material have they filmed and whether this is a real Season 1 wrap or a Christmas/Covid hiatus until early 2021.
Where will Vikings: Valhalla be filmed?
As mentioned above, pre-production has already resumed and the location is a very dear and familiar place for Vikings fans: Ashford Studios, Wicklow, Ireland. This is the place where most of the original Vikings series was being filmed for many years. To add to that, back in 2019, after filming of the final season of Vikings was finished, Ashford Studios secured permission for a €90m expansion, allowing them to build five new studios and support space. This will likely reflect on the production quality of Vikings: Valhalla.
With the main production hub being the same for Valhalla, we can expect to see many familiar external Irish locations that are just nearby. We can also expect many of the same crew working on the Vikings spinoff.
How many episodes will Vikings: Valhalla air?
It has been confirmed that 24 episodes of Vikings: Valhalla have been ordered thus far. That is a lot of episodes for Netflix to commit to considering the typical amount is anywhere between eight and thirteen.
Thanks to Vikings already on a schedule that splits seasons in half, we’d expect the first season of Vikings: Valhalla to do the same. This means there would be twelve episodes for Vikings: Valhalla season one.
Will the original Vikings series be coming to Netflix?
Unlike Lucifer and Designated Survivor, Vikings: Valhalla is not a continuation of Vikings and is instead a spin-off. This is important because previously, Netflix US eventually picked up all of the seasons from canceled network shows.
Vikings is currently available on Hulu and Amazon in the US, but the deal for Vikings: Valhalla is not likely to include Netflix receiving all six seasons of Vikings. This doesn’t mean Netflix won’t pursue Vikings when the license is up at Hulu and Amazon.
Are you excited for the release of Vikings: Valhalla? Let us know in the comments below!
Editor’s note: includes additional reporting from Tigran Asatryan.