Vikings' Alexander Ludwig Had No Idea The Show Would Be So Popular

Vikings Alexander Ludwig Bjorn History
(Image credit: Jonathan Hession / History)

Alexander Ludwig joined Vikings back in Season 2, when the History series made one of its many time-jumps. It led Ludwig to take over the role of Bjorn, as the character went from being a kid in Season 1 to a young man in Season 2. As fans wait for Season 6’s final half, Ludwig has shared that he had no idea Vikings would be so popular.

Vikings has not been Alexander Ludwig’s only acting job over the years, of course. He has gone on to star in several films, including Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s recent blockbuster Bad Boys for Life. Ludwig called working on the movie a “dream” compared to Vikings, since committing to the History series required some professional sacrifice.

Asked if it has been “tricky” to work around his Vikings schedule to do a movie like Bad Boys for Life, Alexander Ludwig shared his surprise over Vikings' success with THR:

A thousand percent. When I signed on to the show, I originally expected it to be a 10-episode cable drama series. That meant I would’ve had work for four or five months out of the year, and then I’d be able to do a movie like a Bad Boys or something like that. Because I don’t think anybody expected Vikings to have the global success that it did, they upped it to a 20-episode series, which meant that I was completely plucked out of any other opportunities. That being said, I’m so grateful for the job; it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. But it definitely made it difficult to do anything close to this magnitude, because a role like this requires a lot of time and attention.

Yes, Vikings went from having ten episodes a year to 20, thanks to the ever-growing fanbase's interest! Alexander Ludwig himself acknowledged the historically-inspired series’ mega-popularity for the change. Vikings was among the most-pirated series in 2017 and 2019, and its placement on Netflix has only helped it gain recognition. The latter year marked an especially important milestone and a display of just how popular it has become.

In 2019, Vikings was the fourth most-pirated TV show, overtaking cult favorites like Arrow and Supernatural. While exciting, the larger episode count per season was a move that clearly impacted the cast’s ability to take on other roles. Despite that, Alexander Ludwig does not sound upset in the least, expressing his gratitude for being on the show.

As Alexander Ludwig points out, Vikings went from being a 10-episode-per-year series like Game of Thrones – yes, I am comparing them in that way, if not others – to one that put out twice the installments in Season 4. The History series’ sixth and final season has accordingly been split into two ten-episode halves, with Part 1 finishing earlier this year with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger involving Ludwig’s Bjorn.

Spoilers for the finale of Season 6’s first half are discussed below.

In the Season 6A finale, it seemed that Bjorn had been mortally wounded on the battlefield while fighting the Rus, who invaded Scandinavia with the assistance of Bjorn’s brothers. Fans are currently waiting to learn the outcome, as Vikings’ creator has offered some speculation-inducing teases regarding it. If Alexander Ludwig’s Bjorn dies early in Season 6, it would truly be a game-changer. And not only for the show itself.

If Bjorn dies early, that means Alexander Ludwig likely didn't have to star in the second half of Season 6 in its entirety, a similar situation to the early and lethal exit shared by one of his co-stars, Katheryn Winnick. Bjorn’s mom, Lagertha, did not even make it the Season 6 midseason finale. Now fans are waiting with bated breath to see if Bjorn will join her in Valhalla.

If Alexander Ludwig’s Bjorn was killed off early, you would think it might have helped clear his schedule a bit sooner than anticipated, allowing for his role in Bad Boys for Life.

Vikings is set to return for the final half of its last season at some point on History Channel. It was while filming Season 6 that Vikings’ creator realized that the story was complete, which is what sparked his decision to end the popular series. A premiere date is still pending.

As for Alexander Ludwig, his career is moving forward in exciting ways. He is set to star opposite Arrow’s Stephen Amell in the upcoming Starz drama, Heels. Until then, check out this spring’s premieres to keep yourself entertained.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.