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Vikings panel @ SDCC 2013


The cast of History's hit "Vikings" was in attendance at San Diego Comic-Con to discuss Season 2 and the impact of the first nine episodes, including Travis Fimmel (Ragnar), Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha), Clive Standen (Rollo), George Blagden (Athelstan), Gustaf Skarsgard (Floki), Jessalyn Gilsig (Siggy), writer/creator Michael Hirst and History executive vice president Dirk Hoogstra.

Michael Hirst says the characters will be grappling with their fates in Season 2: "There's a lot more freedom ... what happens in Season 2 is that all of the major characters have to make huge choices and huge sacrifices. They realize whatever dreams they have, whatever expectations they have will require some sacrifices, sometimes terrible sacrifices. It gets bigger and better, the stakes get higher, the armies get bigger, We're going to watch Ragnar Lothbrok's continuous rise, which is not without huge issues around it. It's going to be a great ride for everyone. I'm pushing all the characters as much as I can ... We have the best cast I've ever worked with."

Ragnar's cheating
Katheryn: How could you, Ragnar?
Travis: I'm a little bit nervous tonight, 'cause I'm sitting next to her. Why did I cheat on her? Because it was in the script. I would never do that. You all had no problem with me wanting to sleep with Athelstan, but as soon as I see a pretty princess, you get upset ... Ragnar's all about his legacy, he wants as many kids as he can get, he wants them to be proud of him and follow in his footsteps. But it was definitely hard for him.

How will Lagertha react to Ragnar's infidelity.
Katheryn: I think she needs to kick some serious ass. Clive: She chose the wrong brother. I think she always has been and always will be in love with Ragnar. Her sense of identity will be tested, and it will be interesting to see how these circumstances will make her a better person or a different person ... it will be interesting to see how she struggles with who she is.

What is Ragnar's weakness and will Rollo exploit it?
Clive: One man's weakness is another man's strength. Ragnar's very much like a tornado, whereas Rollo's very much like a volcano, he's volatile and could erupt at any time. I don't think it's about exploiting [Ragnar's] weaknesses, it's about him not being able to be in Ragnar's shadow anymore. You're gonna have to wait and see.

Siggy in Season 2
Jessalyn: Sadly the decline continues in Season 2. She has an identity that exists in the absence of her family, she comes from a tribe that she believes was the legitimate regime. She has an incredible drive -- I wanna get back up on that chair and I'll do whatever I have to to get there.

How much is Gustaf like Floki?
Gustaf: I hope I'm not as fucking crazy, but I'm pretty fucking close. He's such an incredible character to play. The freer I am with the character, the better it gets, because he's such a free guy. I like the ol' guyliner. We were working out in the beginning ... they did use black eye makeup back in those days, we just took it a bit further.

How much of a Viking will Athelstan become?
George: Like Michael said, the characters in Season 2 have really difficult choices to make. I'd be quite disappointed if it was easy for Athelstan to become completely Viking. I'm glad Michael has taken him where he has in the writing ... the most interesting characters to play are ones with deep conflict. It's very difficult for him to make that decision. He's a very religious man.

Most surprising thing about "Vikings" from History's perspective.
History exec Dirk Hoogstra: We never really had this level of engagement or passionate viewers [for our other shows]. It's not just talking about the show, they're engaging with the real history, and there's fanart, recaps of the episodes ... I've never been involved with something that has this level of passion.

Ragnar's sons and legacy
Michael Hirst: The Vikings' whole families fought together, lived and died together ... The historical Ragnar is famous because of his own exploits and his own discoveries and daring, but he bred a lot of sons, and his sons became very famous in their turn. When Ragnar died finally, his sons declared war on the entire world ... This is a story that's about adventure and battles, but it's also about family and it's very important to me as a writer to embed the audience in the family life of the character. It was important to be that the audience got to care about his children ... The problem as a writer is that you can't spend nine months gestating each one. But I think you'll agree that Bjorn was beautifully played and a wonderful character. Now Alexander Ludwig is going to play an older version. The sons and daughters and tragedies and joys of family life are what humanized the show for me ... The children are as important to me as the adult actors.

What will Lagertha fight for in Season 2?
Katheryn: Michael is so great at evolving our characters. Her relationship with Bjorn is tested, her relationship with Ragnar is tested. Since there is a time jump, it'll be interesting to see what time has done, whether she's stronger or weaker.

What does the cast do in their downtime?
Clive: Together as a cast, there's so much to do in Ireland, we tend to go out drinking. We'll all go swimming, it's an incredible place to go hiking.

Siggy's love life in Season 2
Jessalyn: I don't know if she's got a love life, but she's definitely gonna be busy ... Sorry, Clive! One of the things I love about Siggy ... these guys are all the next generation. Katheryn and I have some great things this year -- with Ragnar stepping out on her ... their love is so pure and it's so devastating to her, Siggy's like "girl, what did you expect? That's what they do." Relationships are opportunities [to Siggy]. I do think that she loves Rollo, but she has so far stayed in control of her emotions, she's not going to make herself vulnerable the way the younger generation of Lothbroks do.

How did George prepare for Season 2?
George: I tried very hard to grow a beard. It took me about five times as long. I've been doing some Viking stuff this year, some fight training -- who knows what for? Some new moves.

How long did it take the guys to grow their beards?
It took George two months for the scruff he's got.
Travis: I had a beard before this show, so I'm happy. I'm not a dresser-upper. My publicist got me this shirt and I have to wear it. I think it adds so much. This show is so good that it gets some reality involved.

Who would Ragnar and Lagertha invite to a modern threesome?
Travis: George, the offer's always open. (OMG YESPLZ)
Katheryn: With Lagertha, I'm not sure ...
Travis: You'll do what I say!
Katheryn: I mean, would she cheat on Ragnar? I had that question in that early script, was she teasing [Athelstan], was she serious? I don't know.
Travis: It's not cheating if I'm watching.

How will Ragnar deal with the death of his daughter?
Travis: I don't find out until the next season, and we definitely have a lot of problems, but that's just women in general ... [Audience groans] Sorry, my relationships in general. When you lose a kid, that's the biggest issue -- we can deal with our stuff, have sex and whatever. We've got to deal with that loss.
Katheryn: It does pick up ... those questions will be answered.

More photos here

WUTTTTT? pics or it didn't happen!

Vikings season 2 SNEAK PEEK

THIS BITCH ROLLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Interview with IGN

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ugly sobbing! my body is NOT ready!

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