The Northman: 6 Quick Things We Know About The Historical Thriller

Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch
(Image credit: A24)

The Northman is one of the most highly anticipated 2022 movies. It features an all-star cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Alexander Skarsgård, and Anya Taylor-Joy. The film is being directed by one of the most exciting new directors, Robert Eggers. Also, from what little we know about The Northman plot, it’s definitely going to be a must-watch film for historical movie fans and those who love mythology and family revenge stories. 

The Northman has been in active development since 2019, and in 2022, the film will finally be released. Robert Eggers has built a reputation as a filmmaker that fans can trust to create films that are as historically accurate as possible, and are also atmospheric and haunting. His two previous feature films The Witch and The Lighthouse, both received critical praise and found a cult following. Robert Eggers has a lot to live up to with The Northman but I think he may even surpass expectations with this one. Here’s everything we know so far about The Northman.

The Northman Logo

(Image credit: Focus Features)

The Northman Will Be Released In April 2022

Focus Features originally set The Northman to be released on April 8, 2022. However, by October 2021, the film had been moved by a couple of weeks. The Northman will still come out in April, but now on April 22, 2022.  With filmmakers and studios still recovering from delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many major movies have had to change their release schedule.

Fortunately for The Northman fans, the release date is only slightly later. Those planning on seeing the film upon its release only have to readjust their schedule by a couple of weeks, instead of like some unlucky film goers who now have to wait additional months to see certain movies in the theater. 

Alexander Skarsgård in The Legend of Tarzan

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Alexander Skarsgård Stars In The Northman

Emmy winner Alexander Skarsgård plays the lead role in The Northman. In the film he plays a Viking prince. Skarsgård told UNILAD that this role was his dream part and even joked that he could retire now because of it.

Skarsgård also shared a few details about The Northman and his character. He described him as “crazy dark,” and he said he does a lot of intense, violent, and dark things in the film. Ralph Ineson, who also has a role in The Northman, told NME that Skarsgård “looks like an absolute beast” in the movie. He also stated this about Alexander Skarsgård's performance and character: 

[There’s] a scene where he beats this guy in a battle; bends down and rips his throat out with his teeth, screams to the gods and he’s got his shirt off – and you think: ‘My god that’s not a bodybuilder doing a scene, that’s like a proper serious actor!’

I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited to see Skarsgård rip throats out with his teeth! 

Nicole Kidman in The Golden Compass

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

The Northman’s A-List Cast Also Includes Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, And Anya Taylor-Joy 

The Northman supporting cast includes Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Willem Dafoe. The cast also includes singer Bjork, and Claes Bang. Bill Skarsgård was also, at one point, attached to play a supporting role in The Northman. However, in September 2020, he revealed to Collider that he had to leave the project due to a scheduling conflict. He spoke about being very disappointed about not being able to film the movie, because he was excited to work with Robert Eggers and his brother. 

During an interview for WTF Podcast, Kidman revealed that she and Hawke would play a queen and king. A leaked photo from the set of The Northman also revealed that Kidman plays Queen Gudrun, Hawke plays King Horvendill, Dafoe plays Heimir the Fool, Bjork plays the Slav Witch, and Bang plays Fjolnir. The Northman is one of the many upcoming Anya Taylor-Joy movies that we’re excited to watch. Taylor-Joy’s character is still unknown, but she may play Alexander Skarsgård's love interest in the movie. He will be playing Amleth.

Alexander Skarsgard in True Blood

(Image credit: HBO)

The Northman Is A Bloody Revenge Tale

If you recognize any names of The Northman characters, it’s probably because you’re familiar with the legend of Amleth. According to Medievalists, the story of Amleth is what inspired William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Therefore, you may notice some similarities between the two tales. 

The Northman is often described as a 10th-century revenge story set in Iceland. Amleth’s father is killed by his uncle, then he sets off on a quest for revenge. Unlike Hamlet, both The Northman and the various versions of the Amleth myth involve a lot more violence. He uses his wits and strength to get his revenge, and his story also ends a lot differently than Hamlet's story. Robert Eggers wrote The Northman with Icelandic poet and novelist Sjon. We don’t know how faithfully Sjon and Eggers will follow the Amleth mythology, especially because there are different versions, but The Northman will at least be inspired by the text. 

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse

(Image credit: A24)

The Northman Is Robert Eggers' Biggest Film Yet

The Witch and The Lighthouse were successful indie films because they gained a lot of attention and started the conversation that Robert Eggers may be one of the most intriguing rising directors. These two feature-length films were able to accomplish a lot on a smaller budget, so Hollywood said, "Here’s a bunch of money; let’s see what you can do." 

This will be Eggers’ most expensive movie yet. He even told Collider that the film was so expensive that he couldn’t use his usual black and white camera and antique lenses technique. The Director of Photography, Jarin Blaschke, shared with Filmmaker Magazine that a lot of pre-planning went into creating The Northman, including over 21 weeks of prepping. Blaschke even described the storyboards as being more like graphic novels than regular storyboards, because so much detail went into designing the scenes before filming them.

The Northman was able to film some of the movie in March 2020, but it had to shut down production until summer 2020 and concluded filming in December 2020. The movie was shot in different locations, including Northern Ireland. Both Alexander Skarsgård in his UNILAD interview, and Ralph Ineson in his NME interview, have spoken about the grandiose nature of some of the action sequences. 

Eggers told Film Independent’s Coffee Talks that the film’s production was huge because of all the moving parts being on such a bigger scale than his previous two movies.

Focus Features Logo

(Image credit: Focus Features)

The Northman Trailer Was Released At CinemaCon

Focus Features has not yet released a trailer or teaser to the general public. However, the company showed a special preview at the 2021 CinemaCon. Some of those attending the con described the scenes shown, including JoBlo. From how the trailer has been described, The Northman seems like a film that people are going to be really excited to watch. 

We don’t know yet when Focus Features will release the official trailer, but it will likely be within the next few months, since April 2022 is approaching faster than we think. With an exciting director, a really talented cast, and an epic premise, The Northman seems destined to be a hit movie. Catch The Northman when it debuts in theaters on April 22, 2022. 

Jerrica Tisdale
Freelance Writer

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.