The story of Ragnar Lothbrok came to an early halt when History decided to turn away its face from it. What went on behind the scenes with Michael Hirst that led to ‘Vikings’ being cancelled? Keep reading to find out!
‘Vikings’ was, perhaps, the best decision that History had ever made! Bringing the scripted version of Norse history to the people with a ‘Game of Thrones’ charm worked wonders equally if not more. People became fascinated with ‘Vikings’ when it had first premiered in 2013 with Michael Hirst as the show-runner, but the show was cancelled sooner than we had hoped. What went on behind the cancellation of this legendary show? Find out here.
- Ragnar Lothbrok’s death was the first blow
- People were less interested in Ragnar’s sons
- Viewership ratings began to decline
Ragnar Lothbrok’s death was the first blow
When Michael Hirst started out with his new period piece venture ‘Vikings’, little did we know that the show was doomed to be cancelled before it could reach a forever. January 2019 brought the news of ‘Vikings’ being cancelled after completing a 20-episode season 6. As reported, season 6 of this historical drama was filmed in 2019 and the last episode of the show dropped in 2020. As it turns out, there has been more than one reason behind the cancellation of ‘Vikings’ and the death of Ragnar Lothbrok was definitely one of them. Travis Fimmel’s intense and sympathetic representation of the Vikings king, Ragnar Lothbrok, seemed to be what held the show together for a long time. In season 4, Ragnar, who is known to have cheated death more times than fair, finally meets his end after being thrown into a pit full of snakes by King Aelle.
The death of Ragnar Lothbrok, and with it the departure of Travis Fimmel, seemed to have been a bad gamble for the ‘Vikings’. It was a risk that Michael Hirst had boldly taken, but one that ultimately led to ‘Vikings‘ being cancelled. To be honest, ‘Vikings’ was already struggling to keep up and with Ragnar’s death, the ship drowned. It probably still could have been managed if the show was wrapped up with the death of Ragnar Lothbok for that would have meant ending on a high note. However, one moment’s wrong judgment extended the show further and it suffered greatly as Ragnar’s death did not sit quite well with the viewers.
People were less interested in Ragnar’s sons
It was never the same after Ragnar Lothbrok’s death on ‘Vikings’. With the death of Ragnar, fans were expected to be exploring the story of Ragnar’s sons boiling their blood with the idea of revenge. Season 1 of ‘Vikings’ introduced us to Ragnar’s first son, Bjorn, and it took the show sometime before we could see Bjorn work his way in the battlefield as a man. After Ragnar’s brother Rollo defeated him in a battle, Ragnar disappeared for a long time from his homeland, coming back only to find all his sons turned into men. However, post-season 4, i.e., the death of Ragnar, Michael Hirst shifted the focus entirely on Ragnar’s sons, which ended up being boring for the most part, calling for ‘Vikings’ to be cancelled.
That being said, Michael Hirst had been very vocal about the importance of telling the story of Ragnar’s sons. He said,
“It was very important to bring on Ragnar’s sons. I’ve invested a lot of time, hope, and expectation in these sons. It’s very important that the audience invests in these new characters”
Unfortunately, it did not go as planned and Hirst could never find a way to fill the void created by Ragnar’s death.
Viewership ratings began to decline
When History picked up ‘Vikings’ for a sixth season, it was even before season 5 was dropped on air. Not to say that the decision was rushed, but at the time none of us, including Michael Hirst, had the faintest idea about the possibility of ‘Vikings’ being cancelled following season 6. The cancellation of the show seems to have been partially motivated by the rising decline in the viewership ratings for the show and there’s no sugar-coating it! Following season 4, as reports suggest, ‘Vikings’ faced a down in the viewership ratings by nine percent of the total number of viewers.
It was also reported that season 4 of ‘Vikings’ show a decline in the viewership ratings by “28 percent in the demo and 44 percent in viewers”. Never mind though, for History decided to renew the show anyway and the result was even disastrous. However, on realising the true scenario of the reducing popularity of ‘Vikings’, the network immediately decided to pull the plug before it blew up in its face. Wise, we say!
Do you think ‘Vikings’ deserved to go on longer? Let us know in the comments below!