Vikings: Valhalla showrunner explains the series’ approach to the supernatural

Vikings: Valhalla explore the history of some of the world’s most important Vikings, showcasing the humanity of legendary figures such as Leif Eriksson, Freydis Eriksdotter and Harald Sigurdsson as they position themselves to change the trajectory of history. Throughout the show, however, there are still hints of something beyond the physical realm, helping the new show build on the roots placed in Vikings’ previous run.

Now, Vikings: Valhalla will return for a second season, reprising the central cast after the massive battles of the season one finale. Before the debut on Netflix Of Vikings: Valhalla On Jan. 12, CBR sat down with showrunner Jeb Stuart to talk about the series’ balance of realism and the supernatural, the strength of the cast, and why it was so important to put Leif Eriksson to an emotional test in season two.

To begin with, I wanted to focus on Leif. Last season he was pretty much the coolest guy, this heroic Viking without the arrogance or bloodthirsty nature that brought down many of his allies. This season is a difficult period for him. Why was it important to take Leif in this direction?

Jeb Stuart: He had to go to a place where he was open to a new path. I think Leif is an experiential person. He learned from what he sees, not from an experiment or from a different way of looking at science. So I thought he needed to open up. He had to be able to see that there’s a bigger world, a bigger universe out there than “Oh, whales swim close to the earth, and therefore I must be close to the earth.”

He has to go through a very terrible place, I think, to realize that. That was the next route. I had fun getting him to that awful place and I’m having fun getting him out. He’s a nice character to write. It’s difficult. I don’t think people understand how difficult it is to play a laconic protagonist. I mean, we’re so used to the kind of Robert Downey Jr. that’s a larger-than-life kind of sarcasm. The idea of ​​a laconic and classic Robert Redford-esque character is really hard to pull off. [Sam Corlett] it does it very well.

Vikings: Valhalla it deals with a tonal sleight of hand in regards to its approach to the supernatural. It’s a story that has its roots in real history, but also leans towards rather mystical material. How did you balance the realistic side of the series and the elements that are best left unexplained?

Yes, this is a very good observation. It’s a great question, because we let things play out. Self [Leif] will see someone we know is dead, how will he see it? What are the ground rules for this? Where do we go from hearing a voice in our ear, which sounds rather benign, to suddenly seeing someone walking ahead of us? When I say we talk about it, that’s how it is with the character. With the director of photography. With the director. With every aspect. Once the ground rules are established, we have to stick to those ground rules. We can’t fly a dragon just because someone thinks they’ve seen a dragon.

I think Seer allows us a little leeway in that regard, because Seer has spanned the generations and she did in the original series. So we’re not doing anything new. We’re just using what we’ve been given. I think especially in regards to Freydis’ journey, the Seer fills in some blanks, but you understand that Freydis has come to the end of her life. It’s like she’s saying, “Let’s go, man. I was supposed to be this, and you told me this, and she didn’t go the way she was supposed to go.”

You know, the great thing about having a wonderful seer like John Kavanagh is that John can tell me to go tie my shoelaces and I’ll believe it. It’s one of those kinds of things where I think, in his own way, this year’s Seer sums up what the entire second season is, which is that maybe you thought it was a clean path, but life isn’t clean. Life isn’t perfect. You have to look beyond. You have to follow these themes in new places. And that’s what we’re going to do in season two.

The second season of Vikings: Valhalla debuts on Netflix on January 12.

Vikings: Valhalla showrunner explains the series’ approach to the supernatural