Vikings gets an afterlife on Netflix with Valhalla, but how will it link to the original series?

L-R: Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) and Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) from HISTORY's "Vikings." Two-hour season six premiere airs Wed. December 4 at 9PM ET/PT.. Photo by Jonathan Hession.. Copyright 2019
L-R: Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) and Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) from HISTORY's "Vikings." Two-hour season six premiere airs Wed. December 4 at 9PM ET/PT.. Photo by Jonathan Hession.. Copyright 2019 /

After six successful seasons on the History Channel, the story of the Vikings will continue, but on Netflix, a perfect fit for so much captivating material. Vikings: Valhalla will pick up the saga 100 years after the History Channel version concludes next year.

Vikings remains the biggest hit for the History Channel, and fans of the series will be excited that a new spin-off is moving to Netflix. Vikings: Valhalla will spin the tale of famous Vikings Leif Erikson, Freydis, Harald Harada, and William the Conqueror, a Viking descendant who became Norman king.

Although the spin-off will transpire a century after the original series wraps up, there may be a link to the character Rollo, played by Clive Standen, Ragnar Lothbrok’s brother. The history gets a bit sketchy with Ragnar based on a few historical characters, but William the Conqueror was a descendant of Rollo, who is based on Gaange Rolf, the first Duke of Normandy and first ruler of that French region.

Leif Erikson’s adventures will surely bring the series to the shores of America, where he famously ventured prior to Christopher Columbus, with him and his men being labeled the first Nordic Americans. Freydis is likely to be Leif’s sister, a fierce warrior famed for her fearless battle skills, a rich role for an actress that will be a satisfying stepping stone from Katheryn Winnick’s Lagertha.

Netflix has a lot of confidence in the popular series, having picked up a hefty haul of episodes — 24 in total — with creator Michael Hirst still at the helm, alongside Vikings’ executive producers Jeb Stuart and Morgan O’Sullivan. The 24 episodes represent a longer telling of the tale, with the original series airing 20 episodes, split into halves, in the last two years. As the series increased in stature, so did the production value, doubling in size since its first three seasons (average 10 episodes each).

Netflix hasn’t announced whether the two dozen episodes signify two separate seasons or one gargantuan one. Twenty-four episodes seems like a hefty amount to drop all at once onto the streaming service. Ordering such an installment size continues Netflix’s confidence in spending on quality content, even in a more competitive environment that includes new streaming titans Disney+, HBO Max, as well as current behemoths HULU and Amazon Prime.

Most of the original series crew will transition to the spinoff, returning to Ireland to begin filming.

“I am beyond excited that we are announcing the continuation of our Vikings saga,” Hirst said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I know that the millions of our fans across the globe will be thrilled by the belief being shown in our show by MGM and Netflix. Jeb Stuart, a truly wonderful writer, will bring new storylines and a powerful visceral vision to stories about some of the most famous Vikings known to history.”

Vikings has been a boon for the History Channel, as its longest-running script series, and continues to breathe life into an epic history that has hardly been tapped. It was also a groundbreaking show for MGM TV, the first since bankruptcy, helping the studio rise back from the ashes.

Vikings continues to demonstrate that there’s plenty of story to plunder, even after the departure of Travis Flimmel, who was killed off in  season 4. However, the series also owes a debt of gratitude to the Australian actor, whose enigmatic, multi-layered portrayal of Ragnar Lothbrok created such a sensation in the first place (and who is rumored to be coming back to TV in a new Wyatt Earp project for History Channel and a sci-fi role for HBO Max’s Raised by Wolves).

With the Norse roles being developed for the spinoff, there’s plenty of room for actors to sink their teeth into some larger-than-life figures.

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