Vikings: Valhalla star compares his new gig to his time on Game of Thrones

Vikings: Valhalla, Netflix’s follow-up to the popular historical show that ran for six seasons over on History, premieres this week! Set 100 years after the conclusion of Vikings, the show will introduce us to a whole new crop of Viking raiders, including Leif Eriksson (Sam Corlett), his sister Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson) and others.

But of course, a show can’t subsist on lead characters alone. Vikings: Valhalla will have an ensemble cast, including Jóhannes Jóhannesson as Olaf Haraldsson.

Game of Thrones fans may remember Jóhannesson as Lem Lemoncloak, a member of the Brotherhood Without Banner who harried the Riverlands in season 6. Jóhannesson talked to The Digital Fix about how working on Vikings: Valhalla compared to his time on HBO’s mega-hit:

Both productions are very well-oiled machines. I was in season 6 of Game of Thrones, and you sort of step into this machinery. The scale, the amount of equipment, and things being produced. It was all in place and functioning so beautifully. And it was the same with Vikings: Valhalla.

When you’re working on the scale of Vikings or Game of Thrones, both of which involve elaborate battle sequences, costumes, and so on, you need to be a well-oiled machine or a single episode can take an eternity to shoot. Happily, a lot of the team members from the old Vikings show are present for the new one, so they already know what they’re doing. “We had the luxury of the old crew, the production team, so it was the same feeling of knowing these people have been doing this for years,” Jóhannesson said.

Vikings: Valhalla moves faster than the original Vikings show

As for how Valhalla will compare to the original Vikings, based on what we’ve seen it’s a lot more focused on action. And the cast agrees. “You get thrown into the story a lot quicker,” star Frida Gustavsson told Entertainment Weekly. “You get straight to the nitty gritty. The scale of how we do things is just mind-blowing.”

The first season of Vikings: Valhalla drops this Friday, February 25, on Netflix.

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