History has set the premier date for its forthcoming drama series Vikings written by Michael Hirst, whose previous credits include The Tudors and Camelot, which will star Travis Fimmel, Earl Haraldson and Gustaf Skarsgard.
The word “Viking” has been synonymous with brutality, terror, and mystery ever since the first Norse warriors appeared along the coasts of England and France at the end of the eighth century. Their notoriety for barbarianism without pity was an important part of the mythology that grew up around them. And while Vikings are still characterized as such in popular culture, the reality is much more complex, visceral, and powerful than their reputation suggests. The extraordinary tales of the lives and epic adventures of these warriors are told in Vikings, a new nine-part scripted series premiering Sunday, March 3 at 10 p.m. (ET) on History®. The drama portrays the world of these Dark Age raiders, traders, explorers – not from an outsider’s view, but, through the eyes of Viking society.
While Vikings is filled with conflict, warfare and bloodshed – for these were extreme times – it is a family saga at heart. It follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel, The Beast, Baytown Outlaws), a curious, compelling man who is always looking to break through barriers and discover new worlds to conquer. A young farmer and family man, Ragnar is deeply frustrated by the unadventurous policies of his local chieftain, Earl Haraldson (Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment, Usual Suspects, Millers Crossing), who continues to send his Vikings raiders east every summer, to the Baltic states and Russia, whose populations are as materially poor as themselves.
Vikings will chart Ragnar’s ambitions to discover civilizations across the great ocean to the west as well as his inevitable conflicts along the way. With the help of his jester friend Floki, (Gustaf Skarsgard, The Way Back), they build a new generation of boats – faster, sleeker and more beautifully crafted than anything else on the sea. The series will also delve into how the Vikings – the last pagans – worshipped ancient gods like Odin, Thor, Freya and Loki. Ragnar claims to be a direct descendant of the Norse god Odin, who, as well as being the god of warriors slain in battle, is also the god of curiosity.
Joining Fimmel, Byrne and Skarsgard are Katheryn Winnick (Bones, Love and Other Drugs, The Black Marks) as Lagertha, a fierce shield maiden and Ragnar’s wife; Jessalyn Gilsig (Glee, Heroes, Nip/Tuck, Friday Night Lights) as Siggy, Earl Haraldson’s beautiful wife; George Blagden (Les Miserables, Wrath of the Titans) as Athelstan, a young, innocent Christian monk captured by Ragnar on his first raid on England and Clive Standen (Camelot, Robin Hood) as Rollo, Ragnar’s impulsive, wild, care-free brother.
Created and written by Michael Hirst – one of the premier historical story-tellers in the industry (Academy-Award winning film Elizabeth; and the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated series The Tudors), Michael serves as Executive Producer along with Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000 (The Count of Monte Cristo; The Tudors), John Weber of Take 5 Productions (The Tudors; The Borgias), Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer, James Flynn (The Tudors; The Borgias) and Sheila Hockin (The Tudors; The Borgias). Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs are the Executives in Charge of Production for History.
Vikings is an international Irish/Canadian co-production being co-produced by World 2000 and Take 5 Productions. History will broadcast domestically in the U.S. MGM Television will bring Vikings to the global audience, serving as the international distributor outside of Ireland, Canada and the U.S. Vikings is produced in association with Shaw Media, and the series will air on History in Canada.