The Vikings saga will continue on Netflix. The streamer has picked up Vikings: Valhalla, a sequel to the hit series that is heading into its sixth and final season on History. I hear Netflix has ordered 24 episodes of the new series from Vikings creator Michael Hirst and studio MGM Television, which continues the storytelling of the original.
Written and executive produced by feature writer Jeb Stuart (Die Hard, The Fugitive), Vikings: Valhalla begins 100 years after the original series concludes and dramatizes the adventures of the most famous Vikings who ever lived: Leif Erikson, Freydis, Harald Harada and the Norman King William the Conqueror (also a Viking descendant). These men and women will blaze new paths as they fight for survival in an ever-changing and evolving Europe. This is the explosive next chapter of the Vikings legend.
Stuart executive produces with Vikings executive producers Hirst and Morgan O’Sullivan for MGM Television.
When Deadline broke the news in January that History’s flagship drama would be coming to an end after Season 6, we also revealed that Hirst and MGM TV were looking to extend the Vikings franchise with a new series, written and exec produced by Stuart, who had been handpicked by Hirst.
At the time, History was in talks with MGM TV about the offshoot. But interest in the project quickly grew as streamers with deep pockets went after the hot, global-appeal property. By this fall, Vikings: Valhalla was in a bidding situation with three major streaming companies in pursuit. Netflix landed the series in a pricey deal with a massive commitment, by its standards, of 24 episodes. Netflix’s average season size is eight to 10 episodes.
Vikings is accustomed to large orders — it has been producing 20 episodes a season since its fourth season; they have been airing in 10-episode half-seasons.
The mothership Vikings series currently is not available on Netflix; it’s streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Netflix is expected to pursue SVOD rights to Vikings to have on the platform alongside sequel Vikings: Valhalla.
“I am beyond excited that we are announcing the continuation of our Vikings saga,” Hirst said. “I know that the millions of our fans across the globe will be thrilled by the belief being shown in our show by MGM and Netflix. Jeb Stuart, a truly wonderful writer, will bring new story-lines and a powerful visceral vision to stories about some of the most famous Vikings known to history.“
Hirst, who also created The Tudors and co-created Camelot, has a first-look deal at MGM. In addition to him and O’Sullivan, much of the Vikings team in all departments will return for the sequel. It will be filmed in Ireland where the original series was shot.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Michael, Morgan, Jeb and Netflix on the next chapter in the incredible Vikings universe,” said Steve Stark, MGM’s President of Television Production and Development. “Valhalla has been a labor of love for everyone involved and as we look ahead to the continuation of this great saga, we are excited to know that fans the world over will have the opportunity to continue with the series on its new home at Netflix.”
Vikings has been an important show for MGM TV. It marked the first series order for the company as it was rebuilding itself post-bankruptcy. The TV studio has ramped up its portfolio since; it also includes the Emmy-winning The Handmaid’s Tale and Fargo.
When he originally was tapped to spearhead the Vikings followup series, Stuart was working with History sibling A+E Studios as creator, writer and executive producer of animated World War II drama series The Liberator, which initially had been developed for History but ended up at Netflix.
“Vikings: Valhalla promises to be everything that fans love about the franchise: heart-pounding, unstoppable action rooted in rich characters and dramatic storytelling that shines the light on family, loyalty and power,” said Channing Dungey, VP Original Series at Netflix. “We are thrilled to bring the next iteration of the Vikings saga to life with Michael Hirst, Jeb Stuart, Morgan O’Sullivan and MGM Television.”
Created and executive produced by Hirst, who has written every episode, Vikings was a breakout ratings hit when it debuted in 2013 and remains History’s No. 1 scripted series of all time, successfully overcoming a number of cast changes, including the exit of original lead Travis Fimmel, whose character Ragnar Lothbrok’s story arc came to an end in Season 4.
Vikings originally set out to follow the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok (Fimmel) and tell the sagas of Ragnar’s band of Viking brothers and his family. Because it was based on actual historical figures and events, Vikings had a finite number of stories to tell and had been building toward an end, set by Hirst as the creative mastermind behind the series.
Stuart is repped by Kaplan/Perrone and Hansen Jacobson.