Vikings showrunner told he shouldn’t make a show with Viking heroes

Vikings: Amazon Prime release trailer for final season

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Michael Hirst is known to Vikings fans for being the life and soul of the popular History Channel show. It’s thanks to him the show didn’t only make it to air but stayed on for six whole seasons. When he first started the show, he didn’t imagine it would last long after critics were told him it wasn’t a good premise to begin with. 

However, Hirst’s intentions with the show were always clear to him. 

“One of the things I most wanted to do was to overturn all the cliches about Vikings,” he said in a recent interview. 

“I was told by some people at the beginning that I couldn’t really make a show about Vikings,” admitted the showrunner. 

“Or, at least, I couldn’t make a show where Vikings were the heroes.

“Because they were always the Other. They’re the bad guys,” he told Den of Geek. 

“They’re the people who come in the night and steal and rape and burn,” he continued. 

“And how could I make them heroic in any way?” critics were telling him before the show proved itself to be a massive success with fans. 

But while Vikings never aimed to be educational or historically accurate, Hirst’s intention was to change people’s mind, especially that of his detractors. 

“And of course, people thought they knew about the Vikings,” he said. 

“Actually, they didn’t know anything,” he added, taking a swipe at those who doubted him, adding: “Which is often the case.”

“And so I thought, ‘Well, how do I show that?’” Hirst explained. 

Fortunately Hirst ignored his critics and managed to ensure the series was successful.

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Viewers never saw the Vikings as villainous throughout the show’s run and were actually really heartbroken when many of their favourite characters met their end in season six. 

One character, in particular, fans were dreading to see getting killed: Lagertha (played by Katheryn Winnick) 

In an interview after the show’s finale, the actress revealed how her character was never supposed to survive. 

“I thought I was going to go a lot earlier, I’m not gonna lie,” she admitted. 

She explained: “I definitely was ready to go earlier, only just because I think these are the Vikings times, the average life was maybe 40, and I was already pushing it with high 50s and 60s as a grandmother.”

Her delayed departure was caused by Hirst who “didn’t necessarily want me to go”, said Winnick.

But realising Lagertha was eventually going to die, the actress teamed up with the showrunner to give her “something fantastic and amazing”.

“I couldn’t ask for a better ending, ever,” admitted Winnick to Collider. 

Her death plays out in a series six episode where a hallucinating Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø)  stabbed Lagertha repeatedly thinking she was Ivar (Alex Høgh Andersen). 

Vikings season 6, part 2 is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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