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Michael Hirst knows how to make history entertaining. The executive producer and writer behind Showtime's "The Tudors" has a new hit TV series with History Channel's "Vikings." The second season of the show is now available on Blu-ray and DVD and the third season will debut in February 2015.
"Vikings" destroys many of the myths that Hollywood has embraced over the years about the Icelandic conquerors who built sturdy ships and guided them to new lands in honor of their gods. The show, which was one of the most expensive undertakings for History Channel and one of the rare non-reality series on the network, blends the legendary tales of Norse ruler Ragnar Lothbrok and Norse nobleman Rollo with real Viking history and an entertaining story that spans many decades.
Those who haven't yet dived into this show can binge watch the home video offerings easily, as each season encompasses 10 episodes. The series has Hirst's trademarks, including bloodshed, sex and strong characters. Filmed in Ashford, Ireland, about two hours south of where "Game of Thrones" is shot, "Vikings" has spawned Ashford Studios and a new film industry on the East Coast of the Emerald Isle. "Vikings" is shot just 45 minutes east of Dublin, a city founded by real Vikings. Hirst talks about Vikings and video games in this exclusive interview from the set of the third season of the show.
What's it been like bringing the history of the Vikings to live through this TV series?
Bringing the Vikings to life is something that I wanted to do for a very long time and so it's an exquisite agony. It's wonderful because I'm working with a lot of extremely talented people who build these sets, and make these costumes and create this world, who make my words come real. It's a sort of agony because of the effort of writing all the episodes, but it's been the best thing I've ever been involved with personally as a writer. Working with this crew here in Ireland at this new studio with people - many of whom I think of as geniuses - has made me very happy.
What do you think it is about the Vikings that has stood the test of time that we're still interested in them today?
We're interested in the Vikings because they left a huge residue, not just across Europe, but also across the world. Russia is called Russia because of Russ Vikings. I grew up in St. York in the north of England which is a Viking town. Dublin here in Ireland was built by the Vikings. At one stage, the Vikings ran just about the whole of central England. It was called the Dane Law and as the word suggests, they gave us some of our laws. They gave us a lot of our language. They gave us a lot of expressions. They gave us, and the French. Normandy is called Normandy because it's the Land of the North Man. They spread themselves out. They discovered North America hundreds of years before Columbus. So we're interested in them because they did such remarkable things for a Dark Age people. We're talking about the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries, so a long time ago. They got half way around the world in their boats, and no one else at the time could have done anything remotely similar to what they did. But they also left themselves in the gene pool of most European countries and in fact, oddly enough, in certain African countries, in Eastern Europe, all around the world there are Vikings.
Why do you think the Vikings have been so misunderstood?
I think that they've had such bad press until quite recently. The Vikings are always considered to be the maniacs, the uncultured, the Pagans who came in and raped and pillaged and were uncultured. We had that impression because their history was written by Christian monks. In fact, they were fascinating, earnest people whose attitude towards women, for example, is much more enlightened than the Saxons or the Francs at the time. What I'm trying to do with the show is, to some extent, to redeem their reputation, to show that we've been living with cliches for too long. The Viking men loved their wives and parents loved their children, and they were people. They were human beings. So there's a lot of work for the show to do besides being a very entertaining show.
We've seen the History Channel and a lot of TV shows expand and have video games based on them. What would the "Vikings" video game be?
Up to this point, lots of computer games seem to feature Viking-like people and they're, as I say, always the outsiders. They're always the bad guys. They're always the people who come in and wreak havoc and kill people without mercy. I personally love the pagan gods. From a righteous point of view, they're gold dust because they're weird and quirky and wonderful. Much of the Viking gods are much older than the Christian God. So I would like a "Vikings" game really to be about the relationship between human beings and gods.
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Nov 17 14 9:02 PM
The third installment of the History Channelâs popular series Vikings is currently in production. Producers and cast members have so far revealed that Vikings season 3 will feature a lot more action, moving away from the drama in Denmark and focusing more on raiding. Furthermore, the battles will get a lot larger as Ragnar leads his armies against the kingdom of the Franks.
No longer just a raiding jarl leading a small band of Viking raiders, Ragnar Lothbrok is now king of Denmark as he ascended to the throne in season 2. The farmer-turned-warrior is now the chieftan of an entire army and will bring his large fleet to bear against Paris in the largest on-screen battle yet. Vikings season 3 will show Ragnarâs historic attack on the capital of France.
The Ragnar Lothbrok of legend allegedly led 100 Viking longboats of warriors against the walls of Paris in an epic siege. To accomplish this effect on-screen, producers will be relying on more CGI than fans have seen on the show. Most of the battles so far have been smaller attacks and skirmishes akin to the historic Viking raids, but season 3 will be scaling up the intensity of warfare now that Ragnar is king.
Along with revealing the upcoming assault on Paris, cast and crew members have hinted that a main character may die in Vikings season 3. Current rumors and speculation point to Athelstan, the captured monk who later became a warrior and joined Ragnarâs warband. This is due to actor George Blagden playing Louis XIV in an upcoming French historical series which may prevent him from continuing on Vikings.
Along with Ragnar dealing with his new responsibilities as king, a central theme of Vikings season 3 will be Lothbrokâs reconciliation with his brother Rollo. It will also be interesting to see the chemistry between Ragnar and his former wife Lagertha (the king is now wed to Princess Aslaug), as the two still have unsettled issues between them.
Like previous installments, Vikings season 3 is expected to premiere in February or March.
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The third season of the hit series
"Vikings" is due to land sometime in February 2015 and will see most
of the action taking place on the soil of France.
"Vikings," which airs on
the History Channel, has just dropped a second teaser for its upcoming third
season. The teaser hinted that the 10 episodes in the third season will focus
on bloody events.
However, it seemed that
"life" will spring from whatever is going to happen. This was
predicted by the seer played by John Kavanagh, who added that a lot of struggle
would happen before positive events could take place.
While the seer's words were just a
prophecy, there were actual events that happened in history that could find
their way into the third season. One of these events was the Viking siege and
sacking of Paris.
Michael Hirst, one of the producers
of the show, said this particular episode will be shown sometime next year.
Hirst said they are building a set for the siege of Paris but that most of the
action would be CGI.
More information about the battle
for Paris was leaked recently when photos were released about the CGI that
would be used in the third season. Several websites have since commented that
the upcoming season could be the bloodiest yet as it would focus on a massive
battle that took place in Paris. This battle could see over a hundred ships on
screen and a massive amount of casualties as the Vikings sacked the city.
The series has added new cast
members for the upcoming season. It will see Lothaire Bluteau playing Charles,
the Emperor of France, while Morgane Polanski will step into the role of his
daughter Princess Gisla.
Coming back to the teaser, it also
hints that Ragnar Lothbrok (played by Travis Fimmel) will find that he has new
enemies and some old ones. Old enemies are of course his brother Rollo (Clive
Standen) who betrayed Ragnar in the last season, while a new enemy could be
Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard).
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Home - TV - TV News - History’s ‘Vikings’ Thorsdays Begin Again On Feb. 19
16TH DECEMBER 2014 BY APRIL NEALE
Floki-bruary! It’s time to see Earl Lagertha kick some braided ass as the palm lickers try to butter up the Seer for good luck. Ragnar is itching to explore and Floki is firmly at his side in the new season, where all bets are off the Norwegian-Olde English peace talks.
Oh yes, it’s time to put on the glogg and get down with Siggy, Rollo, Bjorn and the gang as the hit series sails back to our TV’s this February.
Thursday, February 19 at 10 p.m. ET is when season three of History’s hit scripted drama series Vikings returns on Thursday, February 19 at 10 p.m. ET. The new 10-episode season begins with Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) as King and follows the great responsibility that now rests on the shoulders of the former farmer.
With the promise of new land from the English, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) leads his people to an uncertain fate on the shores of Wessex. King Ecbert (Linus Roache) has made many promises and it remains to be seen if he will keep them. But ever the restless wanderer, Ragnar is searching for something more … and he finds it in the mythical city of Paris.
Rumored to be impenetrable to outside forces, Ragnar and his band of Norsemen must come together to break down its walls and cement the Vikings legend in history.
The gripping family saga of Ragnar, Rollo (Clive Standen), Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) continues as alliances and loyal friendships are questioned, faith is catechized and relationships are strained. This fantastic and wrongfully overlooked during award season series brought to life by Michael Hirst (The Tudors) tells the extraordinary tales of the lives and epic adventures of these warriors and portrays life in the Dark Ages, a world ruled by raiders and explorers, through the eyes of Viking society.
New characters introduced this season include:
· Kalf (Ben Robson) – Lagertha’s young, handsome second in command. She is fond of him and trusts him to look after her affairs while she is away, but it is possible that Kalf is more ambitious and calculating than he appears.
· Harbard (Kevin Durand) – A wanderer who turns up unexpectedly in Kattagat when Ragnar and most of the men of the town are away raiding. Harbard will have a profound effect on Queen Aslaug, Siggy and Helga, all of whom have had the same dream, presaging his arrival.
· Emperor Charles of France (Lothaire Bluteau) – A complex, troubled and powerful man who views battling the Vikings as spiritual and earthly.
· Princess Gisla (Morgane Polanski) – The daughter of Emperor Charles and a beautiful, young woman of considerable courage and resolution.
Travis Fimmel continues to lead the stellar cast as the curious warrior Ragnar, along with Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha, an Earl and fierce shield maiden; Clive Standen as Rollo, Ragnar’s impulsive brother; Alexander Ludwig as Bjorn, the intelligent and bold warrior son of Ragnar; George Blagden as Athelstan, a former monk befriended by Ragnar; Jessalyn Gilsig as Siggy, beautiful wife of the late Earl Haraldson; Linus Roache as Ecbert, King of Wessex, a man of strength, knowledge and undisguised ambition; Gustaf Skarsgard as Floki, a genius ship builder and loyal yet sometimes dangerous friend of Ragnar’s; and Alyssa Sutherland as Queen Aslaug, Ragnar’s wife.
Catch up on all previous episodes from Vikings Season 1 and Season 2 now streaming on Hulu and Amazon.
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), Sheila Hockin (The Tudors; The Borgias), John Weber of Take 5 Productions (The Tudors; The Borgias), Sherry Marsh, Alan Gasmer and James Flynn (The Tudors; The Borgias). Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs are the Executives in Charge of Production for HISTORY.
This gorgeous and gripping series is an international Irish/Canadian co-production being co-produced by World 2000 and Take 5 Productions.
HISTORY broadcasts domestically in the U.S. MGM Television brought the series to the network and brings VIKINGS to the global audience, serving as the worldwide distributor outside of Ireland and Canada. VIKINGS is produced in association with Shaw Media, and the series also airs on HISTORY in Canada.
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