When Vikings begins its second half of Season 5, fans will finally get answers they’ve been waiting months to find out. What will be the fate of Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig)? Will Floki (Gustaf Skarsgaard) survive the Iceland settlement? Will Ivar (Alex Hogh Andersen) get the revenge he’s been after?
Another bombshell of a tease in the mid-season finale was the glimpse of Rollo (Clive Standen) — Duke of Normandy, brother to Ragnar, uncle to the sons of Ragnar — returning to Kattegat after giving Ivar and King Harald’s army the assistance needed to push Queen Lagertha and Bjorn Ironside out of town. SYFY WIRE has an exclusive clip of Rollo’s return, and a conversation with Standen about his shocking return to Kattegat, which viewers will see in full on November 28 on HISTORY.
Last we saw Rollo, it was near the end of Season 4B, when he offered safe passage to his Viking kin even though they turned their backs on him. With Ragnar’s story coming to a close, Standen, who worked with Vikings creator Michael Hirst on developing Rollo, didn’t want to overstay his welcome, since his character’s storyline was entwined with Ragnar’s.
“I didn’t want to bastardize Rollo’s reputation in history and the show,” said Standen. “Michael said the show is called ‘Vikings,’ not ‘Frankia.’ It wouldn’t have served me or the audience to keep flashing back every sixth episode to see ‘meanwhile in Frankia…’ He had to take the story of the sons of Ragnar forward, so that’s what we agreed to do. I was lucky that Taken had come along to give me another job to keep me busy. Michael then said not to worry, as soon as the opportunistic time comes we’ll bring you back. I was in Canada filming Taken and on the parking lot rehearsing lines when I got the call from Michael, who said, 'The time has come.'”
Since then, Ivar has relentlessly gone after Kattegat and Lagertha for killing his mother, and as the brothers clashed, a spike has been driven into the middle of the family. Once a vital part of the series, Rollo offers a glimmer of hope, that is if he didn’t side with Ivar.
“Rollo is a very different man now. He’s managed to evolve through all the seasons, and he’s always going to be a Viking," said Standen. "That’s the most important thing, because it’s in his blood, but he’s now a leader of people, whether it’s a different religion or not, and he’s the Duke of Normandy now, and he has responsibilities to that nation. He has to think of what’s best for his people, so there’s a business arrangement that interests him. He has also some unfinished business, as well.”
Standen said that he and Hirst have been developing something since the very first episode of the series when Lagertha and Rollo. There’s something said between those characters that has been a seed planted, waiting to sprout up.
"Rollo’s always been fond of Bjorn since he was young, and Lagertha is the love of his life. He has some unfinished business with those two people. The politics are a means to an end to give him a reason to come back and open some old wounds."
But this is also the first time that Uncle Rollo is face to face with an adult Ivar, who has had his way on the battlefield as well as in becoming the alpha male among the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok.
“People forget that Rollo was the brother that everyone wrote off, Ivar is also the brother that everyone wrote off as the runt of the pack," said Standen. "He’s had to fight and claw his way up to be where he is now. Rollo’s been there and done that, and he’s got years and years and years on Ivar. So Ivar thinks he’s got it all worked out, but he’s never come across someone like Rollo. So when they do meet, Rollo’s got a few tricks up his sleeve that Ivar’s never encountered. So while Rollo is around, I don’t think he wants to mess him."
Vikings returns to History Wednesday night, Nov. 28.