'Vikings: Valhalla' — 19 things you never knew about the Netflix series

'Vikings: Valhalla' on Netflix, here with Sam Corlett as Leif Eriksson.
'Vikings: Valhalla' on Netflix, here with Sam Corlett as Leif Eriksson. (Image credit: Netflix)

Vikings: Valhalla, a Netflix spin-off of a popular History Channel show that ran for six seasons between 2013 and 2020, has at last arrived!

Set in the early 11th century – more than 100 years after the events of the original show – the eight-part sequel takes place at a time when tensions between the Vikings and England’s royal family are reaching a blood-soaked breaking point.

Check out these behind-the-scene facts about the action-packed Netflix series, which was filmed in Ireland in 2020 and 2021 and is set to become one of the best shows with Vikings to stream right now... 

Vikings: Valhalla

Bradley Freegard (left) as King Canute and Leo Suter as Harald. (Image credit: Netflix)

1. To prepare for his role as Harald Sigurdsson, actor Leo Suter read multiple books and also studied the Anglo-Saxon epic poems Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon.

2. The wristband that Harald wears in the show is the same one the character King Harald Finehair, played by Peter Franzin, wore in the original Vikings series.

3. Suter designed the tattoos on Harald’s arm and back, and no one but him knows the true meaning behind them.

4. Frida Gustavsson also read multiple books and myths to prepare for her role as Freydis, and drew special inspiration from a book called Valkyrie: The Women of the Viking World by J. Friðriksdóttir.

5. Gustavsson was a fan of the original Vikings series and is close friends with actor Edvin Endre, who played the character Erlendur. She’s also an accomplished equestrian and loved getting to ride horses for the show.

6. Gustavsson’s real-life father and brother are named Erik and Leif, just like in the show, and her real-life nickname is “Freydis.”

Vikings: Valhalla

Frida Gustavsson plays Freydis Eriksdotter and Sam Corlett stars as Leif Eriksson. (Image credit: Netflix)

7. Of all the lead characters in the show, Freydis’ costume weighs the most. Her shieldmaiden armour has more than 2,700 hand-cut decorative leaves.

8. David Oakes has been riding horses since he was five years old and did all his own riding for the show.

9. Sam Corlett watched the original Vikings series with his father when he was a teenager.

10. Corlett is vegan, so costume designer Susan O’Connor Cave made him vegan leather armour to wear as Leif.

11. Cave also worked on the original Vikings series and stuck too much of the show’s original costuming tone. She introduced richer colours, more chainmail, and costuming details to reflect the Vikings’ transition into Christianity.

12. The Greenlanders’ costuming took the longest to make. From colours to textures, all of the pieces are meant to reflect a connection to the earth and the natural environment.

13. The Vikings, similarly, have a more organic look with lots of wools, linens, and furs. The Saxons’ costuming contrasts with lots of velvets, silks, and brocades with heavy embellishment.

14. Emma of Normandy’s high-necked dresses are meant to reflect her regality, and also act as her armor.

15. The silhouette of Jarl Kåre’s costume is meant to mirror the shape of a cassock, a piece of clerical clothing.

16. Every character’s fighting style is specific to their personality and story arc. Because Leif doesn’t want to be like his father, he uses the handle of an axe when he fights so his blows aren’t lethal.

17. It took many behind-the-scenes teams about four months to build multiple versions of the London Bridge and strategically plan all the elements needed to achieve the big battle and collapse scenes.

18. John McKenna, the armorer on both the original Vikings show and Vikings: Valhalla, worked to make the battle outfitting and weaponry as historically accurate as possible. He also kept everything in Vikings: Valhalla in the same dark, earthy, aged, period-appropriate visual tone as the original show.

19. Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson is an accomplished chef and would bring baked treats for the stunt crew whenever he had rehearsal.

Vikings: Valhallala launched on Netflix on Friday, Feb. 25 2022

Vikings: Valhalla

There's a season 2 and 3 of Vikings: Valhalla' on their way. (Image credit: Netflix)

Sean Marland
Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV, TV & Satellite Week and whattowatch.com

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.