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‘Vikings: Valhalla’ Cast Dish on Season 1 Origin Stories of Leif Eriksson, Prince Harald and More (Video)

Sam Corlett, Leo Suter, Frida Gustavsson and more set up Season 1 of the Netflix series

“Vikings: Valhalla,” the spinoff to History’s popular “Vikings” series debuts on Netflix on Friday, and with it comes fierce fighting, shield maidens, and a crisis as those with the old pagan beliefs crash with those who’ve embraced Christianity. From showrunner/executive producer Jeb Stuart and set 100 years after the original “Vikings,” “Valhalla” introduces audiences to younger versions of Norsemen who went on to become famed figures throughout the world, including Leif Eriksson, King Canute (or Cnut in history) and Harald of Norway, as they became embroiled in conflicts, power grabs, and explorations that would put them in the history books.

TheWrap spoke to the cast, who set up their characters storylines ahead of the premiere (also, watch in the video above).

Sam Corlett (Leif Eriksson)

“Leif, I think we see a man who grew up in Greenland in a very harsh environment, very survivalist kind of way and in a household in which his father is notoriously one of the most violent Vikings,” Corlett said, making reference to Erik the Red. “And we see him coming over with his Greenlander community and with his sister in order to get vengeance for something that has happened to his sister. And amidst that, the attainment of that vengeance is taken into the broader Viking world of Harald Hardrada, Olaf [Haraldsson] and King Canute, and a whole new world that he has not been aware of, but attempts to stay firm in who he is.”

Leo Suter (Harald Sigurdsson)

“He’s a young man, and he’s a young prince, with sort of a quite simple view on life. He’s got a simple view of what’s right and wrong. And he knows that what happened in England at the St. Brice’s day massacre is wrong, and he wants revenge and he also knows that that’s a bigger issue than the rift that’s forming between Christianity and paganism,” Suter said (the St. Brice’s Day massacre was when King Æthelred ordered the murder of the Danes in England). “But also he’s a little naive, with that young — with that youth, that hotheadedness. He doesn’t realize that life can be a bit complicated and his main ambition is to become King of Norway. It ain’t that simple. And there are twists and turns and people cross him and go behind his back. And he’s going to have to really draw upon the friendships that he’s garnered with Leif Erickson, and intimate relationship is developed with his sister, Freydis Eriksdottir.”

Frida Gustavsson (Freydis Eriksdotter)

“So we when we first meet Freydis, she is on a quest for revenge. She is coming in from Greenland from the outskirts of the Viking world and she’s kind of a stranger to Kattegat and the the Viking world. She is a strong believer in the old ways. And she’s a pretty feisty woman. So yeah, that’s where we meet her for the first time,” Gustavsson said.

Caroline Henderson (Jarl Haakon)

“Jarl Haakon obviously is the ruler of Kattegat and it’s peaceful times. She tries to rule with tolerance, but a change is happening, as she says, and she meets Freydis and she sees potential in this young woman,” Henderson told TheWrap.

Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (Olaf Haraldsson)

“Love is driving Olaf, the love of life (laughs). Well, now he’s a power hungry madman, isn’t he?” Jóhannesson said. “Well, the thing is, he’s striving to to gain control and power over other people in regions when all he really needs to is to gain control of himself. Will he realize that? We don’t know, but we’ll find out. All he needs is a hug.”

Bradley Freegard (King Canute)

“I think Canute’s, you know, got his work cut out [for him]. There’s there’s warring factions within the Viking kingdom between the old pagan religions, newfangled Christianity that’s wheedling its way through the people and he needs to bring the tribes back together and unite them as one Viking nation to take revenge upon the massacres of of the Vikings in Saxon, England, ” Freegard explained. “So that’s his main goal to begin with. That’ll do to begin with.”

David Oakes (Earl of Godwin)

“I think there’s a certain amount of his past that he wishes to save his children from having to go through,” Oakes said of his character, who is an adviser to the king and prince of England, and his motivations when asked by TheWrap. “I think he wishes that [his children will have] a father who doesn’t want a better phrase, f— it up for them. And in terms of national identity and nationhood, that’s a really interesting one because we’ve spoken about this a lot, but there wasn’t an England. There was never really one. You had King Alfred. He was the first king of England by name, but he was really just the King of Wessex, he just managed to rely on everybody. … So the whole nationhood thing is an interesting one, and I don’t personally believe that that is Godwin’s ambition, but I do believe that he feels like perhaps the country and the country’s best chance of a fruitful future is one where it is not run by people who come from the outside. But that is not to say that it doesn’t give them an opportunity to try.”

“Vikings: Valhalla” begins streaming Friday on Netflix.

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