Vikings season 4: Katheryn Winnick teases what's to come
'Major changes in infrastructure.'
The hit History series Vikings returns Thursday for another season of head-choppin’, kingdom-conquerin’, world-discoverin’ high drama. In the wake of last season’s assault on Paris, the lead characters are spread out across the known world. To get some details on season 4, we talked to Katheryn Winnick, who plays noble shieldmaiden-turned-Earl Lagertha, about what’s ahead for the series.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We left off with so many elements of these characters’ lives in flux. Where is Lagertha when we begin season 4?
KATHERYN WINNICK: Kalf, her second-in-command who usurped and betrayed her, has announced to her that he’s in love with her. So she ends up sharing the Earldom with him. Not sure if she ever fully trusts him, but there’s definitely a strong connection between the two of them. You do see her, now, coming back to Hedeby, and sharing the responsibilities and the power with Kalf. Of course, she’s a Viking, and has her own motivations of where she wants to be. Things are gonna happen. There will be major changes in the infrastructure there, some big deaths, some incredible battles.
Whenever I talk to creator Michael Hirst, the idea of “power” comes up: How different people use it, and what different people do with it. What do you think is really driving Lagertha now? What are her ambitions focused on?
What makes Lagertha different than any of the other characters is that her motivation, what drives her, is not necessarily personal. She really feels that she has to rule for the good of her people, to make decisions based on what is best for the community. You have to remember that Lagertha started off as a farmer, on a tiny farm in Kattegat. She struggles with being an Earl, with being a woman in a position of strength, being betrayed. How does she get control back? How does she deal with her sexuality? How does she deal with her family? There’s a lot of complications.
Was there anything about Lagertha this season that surprised you, or made you see her as a character in a different light?
Definitely, especially towards the latter half of the season. There’s going to be a big shift, as you’ll see towards [episodes] 15-16 of our season. There’s gonna be a big transition with each character, not just Lagertha. She’s always been reliant on other people for power and status, and I think in this season she’s come into her own, and become her own individual, her own entity, her own person.
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Are you still working on season 4 right now?
We have double the amount of episodes this year, 20 episodes. So we’re down right now shooting the last two right now. Still in Ireland!
How did that change the production schedule for you?
We went from working five months, to going onto ten! [Laughs] We’re officially in Ireland. I think I’ve lived here more than anywhere else now. We definitely needed more winter clothes here. You get to know your local pub really quickly.
Last year’s Paris battle blew me away in sheer size and scope. Is there anything like that this season?
There’s going to be a lot of action this season. Blood and dirt and mud and horses! The incredible crew that is behind our TV show, from the cast to the set designers to the costume, hair, makeup, lighting, even the crafts people. We don’t have it easy. We’re under the elements of Ireland. We’re shooting through the rain, sometimes, for 14 hours.
In the preview for this new season, there’s a moment where the Seer says that, one day, a woman will rule in Kattegat. I’m intrigued to know: What is Lagertha’s perspective on Queen Aslaug, as we go into this new season? They’ve had an interesting relationship up until now.
When Ragnar cheated on her, I don’t believe Lagertha ever blamed Aslaug, “the other woman.” In this season, things have changed, for sure. And that will be even more explored as the episodes unfold. It’s hard to say without giving anything away, but I love working with Alyssa [Sutherland, who plays Aslaug]. We have this one incredible scene in season 4 – around episode 14 – that is just the two of us together, where all the cards are on the table. It was one of my favorite scenes to shoot this season.
Vikings premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on History.