Since 2013, Vikings has woven an epic saga from the perfect blend of myth, legend and history, drawing us into the mucky world of exploration, battle, sex and sibling rivalry that dominates everything worth watching. But the more pessimistic among us are always looking to the horizon – not to see what’s next, but to figure out what manner of dragon will devour our hopes and dreams.
Until recently, the horizon for Vikings was well in the distance. But now that we know the whole thing is wrapping up after season six (and possibly spinning off), we've developed five ways the show could sail off the edge of the world...
The 1066 theory
This is the popular theory – it’s when the Battle of Hastings re-pivoted the balance of regional history in favour of William the Conqueror over the Harolds and Haralds, and Vikings were already fading into the realm of myth, complete with horned helmets and duergar or whatever they called their dwarven buddies.
Since the show is spending more and more time in the British Isles, it makes sense to make a clean break at this point in history. Which leaves the field open for the aforementioned spin-off series, of course.
It won’t end. It will go on forever, spinning off over and over again
Series creator Michael Hirst has been very vocal about the fact he chose a hero – Ragnar Lothbrok – who was famous for having lots of sons. Now that we’re at the end of a season that’s outlasted the big man, there’s absolutely no reason Vikings can’t be something that lasts forever.
Just because it’s technically ending after season six doesn’t mean there can’t be endless spin-offs or comic-book tie-ins or a last-minute reprieve or a new channel for the series or… something. Imagine our descendants a few centuries from now, watching “historical fiction” that’s really just their interpretation of the Nordic Noir of our era. But Floki’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter is the troubled detective. Mind-boggling, eh?
Ragnarok hits and everybody dies gloriously
Ostensibly, Vikings is based on real history, which would mean the actual intervention of actual gods and a long coda with all our favourites cheers-ing mead horns at a huge longtable in Valhalla is… unlikely. On the other hand, we had that weird Seer character since day one, and it’d probably be a massive crowd-pleaser to see Ragnar embrace his people one last time as the credits roll. Shame Thor: Ragnarok already used “Immigrant Song”, isn’t it?
We'll take a sharp right turn into the realm of subtlety
Maybe Hirst doesn’t want his magnum opus to go out with a bang. Maybe he’s thinking more along the lines of a “life goes on” type deal, where the final season sees more conflict between brothers, tugs-of-war between religious leaders, explorers versus homebodies and, well, a final underscoring of the themes and violence that have kept us enthralled through five seasons to date.
The final scene could go from Norsefolk farming in East Anglia to Bjorn’s missus giving birth to quintuplets, then he gives a wry smile to camera as if to say, “Here we go again!” Cut to credits with a musical blast.
(Seriously, they should use “Immigrant Song” anyway.)
They stuff it up and we all flip out
This ain’t our first rodeo. We wailed and gnashed our teeth when Rome went the way of the Caesars. We wrote fanfic to fill the void left by not only Firefly, but Dollhouse as well. We were faked out by the Sopranos finale a decade after we were infuriated by Seinfeld’s last hurrah. And we’re still holding out for that long-teased Deadwood movie. Our axes are whetted. Our hammers are polished.
In essence, Vikings fans are rabid enough to wage war on the studios that be if we aren’t treated to a well-rounded, thoughtful, natural conclusion that leaves us really thinking about the world of today and how even the very days of the week are named for- well, you get the idea.
Missed the season five finale of Vikings? Watch it at SBS On Demand: