Vikings will conclude its six-season run on History with its final 10 episodes, which are expected to start airing later this year. As sad as we'll be to say goodbye to the Lothbrok family, we're also comforted to know that the action-packed drama will live on in a spin-off series. Vikings: Valhalla was picked up by Netflix in November 2019, and the fact that it will be a streaming show isn't the only big change fans can expect. Unlike many spin-offs, which follow characters from the original series in a different phase of their lives, Vikings: Valhalla will follow the lives of brand-new characters to the Vikings universe.
To find out what to expect of Vikings: Valhalla -- including the characters it will follow, when it will air, and more — check out everything we know so far below.
It likely won't premiere until 2021 at the earliest. It was initially reported that Vikings: Valhalla was set begin production in 2020, with an assumed premiere date of sometime in 2021. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it's unknown at this time how the release may be affected and if we may have to wait until 2022.
It's set 100 years after the conclusion of Vikings. We've already covered a few decades in Vikings' six seasons, but fans are going to experience a huge jump forward in time when Valhalla picks up 100 years after the events of the original series. Given the timing and some of the characters involved, it's likely that Valhalla will detail the tail-end of the Vikings era — which is also fitting given the show is named after the mystical hall Viking warriors believed they'd go to after their deaths.
It won't be written by Michael Hirst. Although Vikings was written entirely by creator Michael Hirst, he won't be as hands-on with Valhalla. Instead, the series will be written and executive produced by Jeb Stuart (Die Hard, The Fugitive). Hirst will be involved with Valhalla, but clarified to TV Guide in November 2019 that he won't "write whole episodes."
It will feature several of the most famous Vikings. The series will follow the adventures of notable Vikings Leif Erikson, the first European to travel to North America (excluding Greenland); Freydis, Leif's sister who was a fearless and ambitious warrior (and not one to be confused with Ivar's wife Freydis in Vikings); and Harald Harada, a King of Norway who unsuccessfully tried to claim the Danish and English thrones.
Vikings fans have probably met Leif and Freydis' ancestor already. The real Leif and Freydis were the children of Erik the Red (Eric Johnson), who was introduced as a character in Vikings' sixth season. Given that Valhalla takes place 100 years after Vikings, though, there's no way that Leif and Freydis can be Erik's children, but we still assume they will likely be descendants of his.
It will feature one of Rollo's descendants. Rollo (Clive Standen) hasn't been a mainstay of Vikings since Season 4, but one of his descendants, William the Conqueror, will be a central figure in the new series. Historically, William the Conqueror became the first Norman King of England when he took the throne after King Edward the Confessor's death. Also known as William the Bastard, William's illegitimate status meant that his quest for power was plagued with problems from a very young age. But he established his authority, quashed the rebellions that threatened him, and eventually built an army that successfully invaded England, securing the throne for himself after beating Harold Godwinson in Battle of Hastings.
Katheryn Winnick will not appear, but is opening to directing. Vikings fans fell in love with Katheryn Winnick and her portrayal of the legendary shieldmaiden Lagertha, but they shouldn't expect her to suit up in armor again for the new spin-off. Winnick told TV Guide in January 2020 that she had no intentions of playing a Viking character again, but that she would happily consider being involved behind the scenes. When speaking on the possibility of directing an episode of Valhalla, Winnick said, "of course I'd be open to any reason to go back to Ireland even if it's just [to spend] time with my co-workers, it's always a great one, and say hello to everybody because they are my family over there."
Alexander Ludwig hasn't ruled out returning to the world of Vikings. Speaking with TV Guide after Vikings' final season had wrapped, Alexander Ludwig, who starred as Bjorn Ironside, said he may not have shut the door on the franchise. "This might not be the end of my time with Bjorn," Ludwig teased. "Netflix has just picked up a new spin-off series and I know there have been chats about possibly doing films about it. And I do think that there's a lot more story that can be told with this show if it was done the right way. There's just so much incredible history in the Vikings culture, so who knows?"
Of course, the fact that Valhalla takes place 100 years after the flagship drama would make it difficult for Bjorn to appear as anything other than some sort of vision. However, there's nothing stopping Ludwig from appearing on the spin-off as a brand-new character.
It will maintain a lot of the elements of the original series. When speaking with TV Guide in November 2019, Vikings' Michael Hirst said he wanted Valhalla to have "the same values and virtues" that the original series had. "[Vikings] does have poetry and it does have spiritual and it does have women characters who are just as great as male characters. And I know that Jeb intends that to continue," Hirst said.
We're getting a ton of episodes. Although Netflix seasons usually aren't more than 13 episodes, the streamer ordered 24 episodes of Vikings: Valhalla out of the gate. The most recent seasons of Vikings consisted of 20-episode seasons airing in two 10-episode halves. There's a chance that Netflix will break form to follow this pattern, delivering one season split up into two 12-episode halves (it's already done it with other shows). There's also still a chance it will decide to package the 24 episodes into two separate seasons as well. We just can't imagine Netflix dropping 24 episodes of a season all at once.