EW – Vikings’ midseason finale left much of its cast bloodied, battered, and bruised. A wounded Ragnar retreated in defeat from a battle with Rollo, Lagertha was left on the verge of death after a brutal stabbing, and an aimless Bjorn set sail for the Mediterranean to honor his absent father.
As viewers continue to reel from the climactic episode, cast members Travis Fimmel (Ragnar Lothbrok), Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha), Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn Ironside), and Gustaf Skarsgård (Floki) stopped by EW’s studio at San Diego Comic-Con to tease what’s next in the back half of season 4.
Winnick said it’s “no secret” Lagertha is alive, as she’s currently filming season 5 in Ireland, but the shieldmaiden is in “a different place in her life.” She also promised a dramatic throwdown between Lagertha and Queen Aslaug.
“It’s going to be a cat fight. The two power women go head to head,” Winnick said. “It’s a really interesting scene because you don’t expect what happens.”
Bjorn, on the other hand, is enjoying a lighter storyline. “Floki and Bjorn end up going to the Mediterranean, and they work on their tans a little bit,” Ludwig said. “You’re definitely going to see Floki and Bjorn’s relationship flourish.”
For the full run-down on where Vikings will pick up, watch EW’s full interview above.
This article was written about Season 3 because that’s what is airing in the UK now.
HISTORY EXTRA – With its gripping mix of gory battles, religious conflict and compelling characters, the epic historical television show Vikings attracts millions of viewers worldwide. With the third season in full swing, we spoke to the show’s writer and creator Michael Hirst about the challenges of adapting historical material for the screen and why the world has been gripped by ‘Viking fever’…
Q: Vikings has proven to be incredibly popular with audiences across the world. Why do you think there is such an appetite for the Vikings at the moment?
A: Well, let me tell you a story. After I’d written and made Elizabeth [the 1998 film about the life of Elizabeth I, starring Cate Blanchett], I was commissioned to write a screenplay about Alfred the Great, who fought against the Vikings. I started researching the Vikings’ culture and gods and democratic ways – loads of really fascinating things I didn’t know about before. But when I told people about it, their response was pretty half-hearted. Fast-forward to when I began working on Vikings [which premiered in 2013]. Now, when I told friends what I was writing about, they were incredibly enthusiastic. Something had changed and Vikings were suddenly in the zeitgeist.
When I was researching the series, I was definitely aware of a new interest dawning. People are interested in the Vikings now in a way they weren’t interested 10 years ago, not even in Scandinavia. There’s no real satisfactory answer to why this is the case, but it’s true.
But there’s also some correlation between a successful show and a historical interest. I was shown round the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo recently and the curator told me that since our show began, admissions had doubled. So to some extent the show itself has also created an appetite. There must be some deeper explanation that I can’t help you with, but I know it exists!
Q: In many ways the morals, beliefs and value systems of Viking culture are completely alien to modern audiences. How do you make characters from such a different society relatable?
A: People told me I wouldn’t be able to make a successful series with Vikings as my lead characters, because the Vikings are always seen as the ‘other’ – they are seen as the hairy, ignorant savages who come in the dead of the night, break your door down, rape your wife and daughter and steal your goods. Just mentioning the word ‘Viking’ would summon up these prejudices and received opinions. But while there are elements of truth in this reputation, it’s largely a cliché.
ESQUIRE – The Australian actor easily balances the CGI-heavy Warcraft and indie comedy Maggie’s Plan.
The Travis Fimmel moment is upon us. After a brief career as an underwear model (“I only did that one modeling gig. I was 21 or something the last time I did that”), the Australian-born actor has been steadily working since he starred in in a 2003 reboot of Tarzan for The WB. A number of indies and TV shows followed before he found a signature role as Ragnar Lothbrok on the History Channel’s Vikings. He’s still swinging a sword, leading armies, and generally kicking ass in his first leading role in a big old Hollywood summer extravaganza, but the context is a bit different (and much more computer animated) in Warcraft, the Duncan Jones-directed adaptation of the massively popular knights-versus-orcs fantasy game series Worlds of Warcraft.
Should you find yourself interested in spending time with Mr. Fimmel’s hirsute mug but need less swordplay in your life, be advised that he is also a charming romantic foil to Gretta Gerwig in Rebecca Miller’s new indie Maggie’s Plan. As you’d suspect to look at it him for even a second, Fimmel is a self-avowed outdoorsy type, and he even has a horse just outside of Los Angeles. Esquire caught him on the phone just as he was about to fly out L.A. and talked to him about pickles and knowing where to look when you’re fighting an orc.
I know you’re from Australia, but where do you live these days?
It depends on where the work is. I don’t get home as much as I wanna. The last four years, I’ve been in Ireland most of the time.
That’s where you shoot Vikings, right?
Yeah. I love it, mate. Great people, great crew. It’s a beautiful country. It rains a lot, unfortunately, but other than the rain, it’s beautiful.
DIGITAL SPY – Clive Standen – star of Vikings – has hit out at pointless sex scenes and excessive violence on cable TV shows.
Standen, who plays the formidable Rollo on History’s series, says that screen sex and violence are fine if they “move the story on”.
“I think there’s too much violence and too many sex scenes in dramas nowadays – especially on cable shows,” he told Digital Spy. “It’s a lot of noise signifying nothing. They’ve turned into moments where we go and make a cup of tea.
“You’ve got to almost put the audience in the battle. You’ve got to feel that some of your favourite characters are going to die at any second – that keeps it visceral and keeps it real.”
Standen added that he often gets injured filming the rough-and-tumble battle sequences on Vikings, but insisted he has no complaints.
“I get shields in the face, I got caught in the shoulder by a spear,” he revealed. “But it’s Vikings. It does exactly what it says on the tin. If you’re going to start complaining about that kind of stuff, then you’ve signed on to do the wrong job.”
Vikings charts the sibling rivalry between Rollo and his brother Ragnar (Travis Fimmel), with Standen admitting it’s “easy playing the jealousy” with his co-star.
(The UK is behind a season so this article talks about Season 3 mostly)
FEMALE FIRST – Critically-acclaimed series Vikings returns for its third season on HISTORY tonight, and we managed to catch some time with actor from the show Clive Standen, to chat all about where his character Rollo will be going from here.
We also spoke about his new lead role in the Taken television series and much more – read on to find out what he had to say…
What should British Vikings viewers expect from the third season of the show?
Well, season 1 and season 2 of Vikings was only the tip of the iceberg of what the Vikings accomplished. Now, as we go into season 3, Ragnar’s ambitions, because he’s now the king, we’re hitting the golden age of the vikings and what the vikings were famous for. They’re far and wide – it wasn’t just about England, it was about most of Europe. What’s interesting is, Ragnar now has risen through the ranks of viking society, so he is their king and he has a great responsibility that now rests on his shoulders.
Can you give us a little bit of a tease as to what your character Rollo will be getting up to this season?
Rollo’s trying to prove to his brother that the betrayal was in the past. His ambition won’t go away but I think he realises it was misplaced, that it wasn’t Ragnar that was getting in the way. He needs to find a way of existing outside of Ragnar’s shadow, but without having conflicting interests towards his brother. As usual Rollo is going to be put through the ringer. He is gonna have some major confrontations with key characters in the series, and some of these confrontations might change him forever.
THE WRAP – “You’ve got to remind them that it’s a TV show — I’m not actually a Viking,” actor tells TheWrap
“Vikings” star Alexander Ludwig admits his role can land him in trouble off set.
“People will try to fight you,” Ludwig says of periodically pugnacious fans of the often violent History series. “You’ve got to remind them that it’s a TV show [laughs] — I’m not actually a Viking.”
Seemingly obvious explanations aside, Ludwig’s experience on the show has been “amazing,” if occasionally “brutal.”
“The freakin’ weather!” the actor exclaimed during an interview at TheWrap Studio. “We’d never filmed in the winter, and this year has just been awful. It’s been the most exhausting, brutal. … The only way we get through it is because we’re all doing it together.”
Enduring the rough circumstances together has brought Ludwig close to his co-stars, particularly his roommate and the show’s lead, Travis Fimmel.