Toby Regbo talks playing Aethelred, the “least likable” person on The Last Kingdom


From marauding Danes to scheming Saxons, Netflix’s medieval drama The Last Kingdom is full of colorful villains. But even among that lot, the would-be king of Mercia Aethelred (Toby Regbo) stands out. Perhaps it’s his cruelty towards his wife Aethelflaed (Millie Brady), maybe it’s his boundless arrogance…in any case, it’s hard to find anything to like about the Lord of Mercia.

But there’s a silver lining to the character, at least to the guy who plays him. Regbo explained why playing the villain can be fun. “I do enjoy playing the least likable man on the planet,” he said. “I’ve never done it before – this is my first villain. At first I had to get over myself a bit because obviously in real life you want everyone to like you but actually playing the nasty side is fun. It’s nice to let go of all your manners for a while and shout!”

When you put it that way, it does sound pretty fun.

Regbo also brought us up to speed on where Aethelred stands at the beginning of season 4, which is out on Netflix now. “Aethelred has risen through the ranks and has now become, almost, self-proclaimed Lord King of Mercia. He wears a crown this year that he seems to have had made. He’s got his own coins minted. Aethelred is obsessed with power in all forms. He wants to use [King] Alfred’s death as an opportunity to land grab and take whatever he can.”

Speaking more generally terms, Regbo teased what fans who have yet to see season 4 (what are you waiting for?) can expect in a post-Alfred England, where Wessex and Mercia vie for power and dominance. “Big battles, backstabbing and treachery this season. There are new rivalries. Uhtred is on his quest to reclaim his birth right and we’re just trying to do it bigger and better as we do every year.”

Having seen season 4, bigger and better is definitely a good way to describe it

Image: The Last Kingdom/Netflix

As for The Last Kingdom’s enduring popularity, Regbo believes it’s obvious why the fans enjoy the show so much. “It’s got adventure, romance, mud, blood and fighting! It’s like watching the gladiators in the Colosseum. There is something primal in us that wants to see these epic stories that are gruesome and barbaric but also tell a story about loyalty and bravery. They are the themes that will never be boring.”

Nailed it right on the head. Hopefully, The Last Kingdom will be around for years to come. For now, all 10 episodes of season 4 are available on Netflix.

Next. Is The Last Kingdom historically accurate? 20 Questions Answered. dark

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