Those saddened by the conclusion to the sixth and final season of Vikings, the History Channel hit, will be enthused by the news that a sequel series is on the way. Admittedly, Vikings: Valhalla may not be far along the way just yet, with no casting announcements or production dates released, but there is tentative talk from Newsweek of the series hitting Netflix at some point in 2021. The production and release of the sequel demonstrate how Vikings is being elevated from a standalone television series into a modern heavyweight franchise.
An important time in history
Valhalla is slated to welcome viewers back into the world of the Vikings 100 years after the conclusion of the Vikings series finale. Valhalla will focus on the end of the age of the Vikings and a power struggle for the English throne, featuring plenty of real-life big hitters.
A battle to sit on the throne will no doubt provide countless opportunities for scheming, betrayals, and battles, so Valhalla may also help to scratch the itch of those bemoaning the absence of Game of Thrones. Here are a few of the famous names from history that are expected to play crucial roles in Valhalla.
William the Conqueror
The arrival of William the Conqueror will be bad news for viewers that want several more series of Vikings-related spin-offs, given that the Norman invader ends the Viking Age in England. William is the descendent of Rollo, portrayed by Clive Standen in Vikings, so there could be scope for Standen to appear in Valhalla in flashbacks or as some sort of Jedi-esque ghost.
The arrival of William the Conqueror will also be particularly bad news for the character of Godwinson, given that Harold was slain at the Battle of Hastings when William claimed the British throne. Still, it would be interesting to get to know Godwinson before his untimely demise.
Hardrada was not content with simply being King of Norway, so he staked a claim for the English throne by doing the most stereotypical Viking thing: invading. However, the incumbent king Godwinson would not relent so easily to an invading force (at least until William rocked up on English shores).
Freydís Eiríksdóttir and Leif Erikson
These Viking siblings were no strangers to adventure. Freydis is famous for her fighting exploits in Greenland, while brother Leif is purported to have beaten Christopher Columbus by hundreds of years to be the first European in North America. This duo may help to take Valhalla to intriguing new locations.
If these prospective characters don’t pique your interest, then the team behind Valhalla will no doubt have lined up some lesser-known or completely fictional beings to draw us into the world of the Vikings. The History Channel series introduced us to memorable individuals like Katheryn Winnick’s Lagertha and Travis Fimmel’s Ragnar Lothbrok, with the success of Vikings making stars of Winnick and Fimmel.
The start of a franchise
Vikings has generated positive reviews throughout its six-season run and created a devoted fanbase, which has helped to propel the Canadian actor Winnick to international fame. Valhalla will no doubt see new actors follow in her footsteps, while the weight of the Netflix name (and the depth of the Netflix budget) may also attract some established stars to come on board.
The sequel will be a pivotal step in turning the Vikings name from a television series into a global brand. Simply having a spin-off series is not sufficient to start a franchise, as it is also important to make moves in other media forms. The groundwork for this has already been done throughout the run of Vikings.
Here’s a quick look at how Vikings have already inspired creations in other forms of entertainment.
Titan Comics has released comic books inspired by the television series since April 2016, including four-issue runs titled Godhead and Uprising. These graphic works feature the familiar faces of Lagertha, Ragnar and more, but they show an alternative side to the characters. While superhero shows pay tribute to comics, here it is comics that have been inspired by an original television series.
Providing the theme for an online slot is normally reserved for the biggest names in television and cinema, so NetEnt’s Vikings slot is a testament to the global appeal of the show. The slot is part of the collection at Betway Slots where Lagertha and Ragnar are among the symbols on the reels. The Vikings slot also pays homage to Viking life in general, with Norse imagery and raiding bonus features making the slot feel like an extension of the TV show.
Vikings: Raid & Conquer from High Roller Games, a strategic deck-building card game inspired by the themes and characters of Vikings. Its 7.3 rating on Board Game Geek reflects the positive experience of players, with each person acting as a key character from Vikings and raiding for treasure. Just like NetEnt’s slot, players don’t necessarily need any prior knowledge of Vikings to fully appreciate the game.
Another central part of franchise-building is developing a passionate fanbase that engages with the show’s content. Podcasts are becoming one of the most effective ways for fans to feel connected to a wider community of like-minded people, so media like The Wild Hunt: A Vikings Podcast is important in strengthening a fanbase. This podcast follows a few devoted fans as they recap and analyze each episode of the History Channel series.
If the sequel series is a success, then it could be the first of many spin-offs bearing the Vikings name. Whether we delve deeper into the backstories of key characters or meet new civilizations, fans of Vikings will have hours upon hours of new entertainment ahead. What began as a simple series inspired by historical events has now given birth to a globally popular multimedia franchise.