Just a quick update to share the awesome and somewhat amazing news that we received today! Yes, it’s official, The Vikings Saga has been renewed for another season. And, on top of that great news, we also received an incredible bonus from the production company and the Powers that be… Instead of the usual 8 or 10 episodes that have become the norm for most shows, it’s been announced that next season will give us 16 episodes! This is extremely rare in this day and age so someone out there is banking on continued great success with this series. I do think that in getting the 16 episodes, we may end up with a split season. This is fine with me and it may fit in well with Michael Hirst’s plans to transition to the next generation with the stories of Ragnar’s sons.
‘Vikings’ Creator Michael Hirst Already Writing Story For Season 4 Even If There Are Still 5 Episodes Left For Season 3
Michael Hirst will develop new projects for the studio.
A+E Studios is locking up its Vikings creator.
Michael Hirst has signed a multiyear first-look overall deal with the studio behind History’s Vikings.
Under the terms of the pact, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter and producer will develop, create and produce original drama programming for A+E networks including A&E, Lifetime and History, as well as outside buyers.
Hirst’s pact marks only the second overall deal for A+E Studios. He joins Bates Motel and The Returned’s Carlton Cuse as having that distinction.
Ok, I like everyone else am thrilled and excited with today’s news of a guaranteed next season and the amazing bonus of added episodes! I read Michael Hirst’s interview and thought it interesting that he mentions moving on to the next generation with Ragnar’s sons. Another interesting plus is that Michael Hirst has signed a muti-year contract with A/E Entertainment. this of course gives us the notion that his projects are being looked at with respect and that this series is being taken seriously as far as viewers and promotion.
I also find it very interesting, the fact that BBC is currently in production of a similar series now, The Last Kingdom based on books by Bernard Cornwell. This series will focus on the later events and there is much involvement of Ragnar Lodbrok’s sons. One article on Last Kingdom went so far as to reference the Vikings series in it’s description of this upcoming series.
In light of the latest info on our Vikings series, and this info on BBC’s upcoming series, I think it will be interesting to see how both shows deal with this history. I believe that both of the production companies and powers that be may also be betting that each of the shows will bring more interest in both of them?
I have made mention of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon series previously, as well as news of the series being taken on by BBC. I can not say enough about how excellent this series is! You can read my book reviews for a glimpse at the ongoing story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg.
The Last Kingdom series is currently in production and will most likely have an air date of sometime next winter.
Sweden’s second largest newspaper Aftonbladet reports that Scandinavian actor Mikael Persbrandt (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Academy Award winner In a Better World) was offered the role of Earl Ragnar the Fearless, but he had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with his stage performance of The Dance of Death.
Here is an interesting article that makes reference to the Vikings series in relation to the Last Kingdom series.
The BBC and “Downton Abbey” producer Carnival Films have teamed up to produce historical drama series, “The Last Kingdom,” BBC America announced Wednesday.
The eight-episode, hourlong series will be adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling novels, “The Saxon Stories,” by writer Stephen Butchard.
Set in the year 872, when many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, the great kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great. Against this turbulent backdrop lives “The Last Kingdom’s” hero, Uhtred. Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he — Saxon or Viking? On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, seek to recapture his ancestral lands.
“Cornwell’s Saxon novels combine historical figures and events with fiction in an utterly compelling way,” said executive producer Gareth Neame. “In the hands of Stephen Butchard we believe it will make original and engrossing television drama. In part the epic quest of our hero Uhtred, it is also a fascinating re-telling of the tale of King Alfred the Great and how he united the many separate kingdoms on this island into what would become England.”
Richard De Croce, senior VP Programming for BBC America said, “We couldn’t be more pleased to be working with BBC Two and Carnival Films — a hugely successful British production company that really knows how to create a hit for the US. ‘The Last Kingdom’ is an engrossing story of epic scale that will feed our audience’s appetite for excitement, smart storytelling and compelling characters.”
Ben Stephenson, controller of drama commissioning, BBC, said, “I hope ‘The Last Kingdom’ will expand BBC Two’s distinctive portfolio of drama. It’s an epic narrative with an extraordinary creative team. It will feel like nothing else on television, with all of the scale and intrigue of the best fantasy stories but the reality of fact.”
Much like History Channel’s “Vikings,” “The Last Kingdom” will combine real historical figures and events with fiction, exploring themes like religion, politics, warfare and the quest for identity.
Butchard, Neame and Nigel Marchant will serve as executive producers with Nick Murphy co-executive producing and directing multiple episodes. Chrissy Skinns will also produce. Stephenson ordered the show for BBC Two, and BBC’s Polly Hill serves as Commissioning Editor. De Croce and Perry Simon, General Manager, Channels, will oversee the series for BBC America. (Source: Variety)
Overview of Last Kingdom series and cast so far:
Set in the late ninth century, when what is known as England today was several separate kingdoms. The Anglo-Saxon lands are attacked and in many instances ruled by Viking forces. The kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone under the command of King Alfred the Great. The main protagonist, Uhtred – the orphaned son of a Saxon nobleman, is kidnapped by norsemen and raised as one of them. Forced to choose between a kingdom that shares his ancestry and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested.
- Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred of Bebbanburg
- Rutger Hauer
- David Dawson as King Alfred the Great
- Matthew Macfadyen
- Jason Flemyng as King Edmund
- Alec Newman as King Aethelred
- Emily Cox as Brida
- Ian Hart as Beocca
- Tobias Santelmann as Ragnar
- Thomas W. Gabrielsson as Guthrum
- Peter Gantzler
- Joseph Millson as Alferic
- Alexandre Willaume as Kjarten
- Rune Temte as Ubba
- Henning Valin as Jakobsen as Storri
- Tom Taylor as Young Uhtred
- Jocelyn Macnab
- Madeleine Power as Young Thyra
The Last Kingdom is being produced for BBC and BBC America which means that BBC America will run the series. This would allow for American viewers to have immediate viewing of the series rather than having to wait a season for us to catch up on it. It also means that the show would be some direct competition for History channel’s Vikings series for those who cable subscriptions to both channels. Because of this, I personally think that both shows will use the other one to possibly draw more viewing and ratings to their own show. Competition in this case is a good thing and I think both companies realize this. This could be a possible reason for the additional promotion and extended season for Vikings on history channel! When BBC airs Last Kingdom, it will be presenting another version of this era of history that so many people have taken a huge interest in. Personally, I can not wait to see both shows in the future!