Exclusive Vikings interview: Gustaf Skarsgard and Alexander Ludwig on their storylines in Season 5

Floki in Iceland on Vikings Season 5
Floki, who reached what is thought to be Iceland in the Vikings Season 5 premiere

Something that I have always asked Michael Hirst was “will we ever get to Iceland?” and he’s always been dodgy and said he hoped he would one day get the opportunity.

With each passing season Hirst has explored what the Viking age was beyond Ragnar Lothbrok, and now even more so as his sons’ ascension to fame as land conquerors and exploration eclipses Ragnar’s legacy.

This season, we will see Bjorn’s return to the Mediterranean and for Floki, a personal journey of discovery. I sat down briefly with both Gustaf Skarsgard (Floki) and Alexander Ludwig (Bjorn) about their Season 5 storylines.

Monsters and Critics: In the Viking sagas, there is brief writings of “a” Floki who makes his way to Iceland and frontiers it for the Vikings. Gustaf, it always seemed like such a distant journey in relation to the rest of the Lothbrok saga. But we’re finally there, aren’t we?

Gustaf Skarsgard: When I got this role, I Googled “Floki” and the only result was this guy who discovered Iceland, but that was 150 years after our timeline on Vikings and I thought, I can’t be that guy. Then, Michael along the way has implied that that might be the case and that I might be the guy who they took the name from.

M&C: He’s lost everything, though, that has tied him to the main story. He’s lost his family to the cause, his best friend. He is now just seen as a boat maker.

GS: Without revealing anything, the fact that Floki is at a point now where he was willing to leave everything behind and submit to the will of the Gods and build a boat and just go sailing off into the horizon…he might end up there.

M&C: How hard was it to do so much work on your own in solitude, without having someone to work off of and create a narrative with you interacting with nature?

GS: It was really weird to be on my own. It was weird because I’ve been working with these guys for five years and all of a sudden I’m on my own on a boat going somewhere. It was also a truly intimate affair between me and Floki. I got to really explore — as much as it is an external journey, it’s an internal journey for him to go and discover himself.

Bjorn in the desert
Bjorn in the desert where many adventures await

MS: Alexander, how much are we going to see of Bjorn’s travels because we’ve seen clips of him in the sands of the Middle East, but also in the Viking civil war?

Alexander Ludwig: I’ve seen Bjorn get a couple of solid episodes. The idea is that he’s gone on this journey and he’s explored and he’s found what he’s been searching for, but immediately that’s interrupted by things throughout the story that I don’t want to spoil. You get a fair bit of it, and just seeing Vikings in another world is pretty amazing.

M&C: Does he have a spiritual anchor this season, having lost his father and wanting to pull away from his mother and step-brothers?

AL: Bjorn has swayed towards Floki’s spirituality, his extremism if you will. He really is about the Gods and respects the tradition.

Watch new episodes of the fifth season of Vikings on History every Wednesday at 9/8c.

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