Why Vikings: Valhalla Is Restarting Production So Soon After COVID-19 Reports

Vikings Lagertha Katheryn Winnick History
(Image credit: Jonathan Hession / History)

In case you somehow missed it, Vikings is getting a spinoff. The project was announced back in November of 2019 and, in a somewhat surprising move, it's heading to Netflix. It's been nearly a year since then and, after a brief shutdown, production is restarting on the series. The news comes shortly after reports of positive COVID-19 tests, which begs the question: why is Vikings: Valhalla starting to film again so soon?

Earlier this week, filming on the Netflix series had been going on in Ireland when numerous COVID-19 tests came back positive. Deadline reports that Vikings: Valhalla has restarted production after learning that the results of the tests were actually false positives. As production has commenced, MGM has enforced strict testing (akin to The Bachelorette) and use of quarantine and contact tracing if there is a positive result.

Thankfully, the parties that tested positive do not have COVID-19, so Vikings: Valhalla could readily restart production. But more importantly, it's good news for the health of the cast and crew, who are diligently working to bring the series to television screens.

The highly-anticipated spinoff will not feature the original characters of its mothership series, Vikings. One of the original show’s fan-favorite actors, Katheryn Winnick, has expressed her willingness to participate in the Netflix spinoff. Other than that exciting tidbit, Vikings: Valhalla’s upcoming arrival also softens the blow of Vikings heading into the second half of its final season, an event that's steadily approaching in a bittersweet way. And there's no reason to worry about potential delays, as the final season has been “in the can” for a while.

The announcement that the History series would end with Season 6 came in January 2019, and production on the sixth season ended back in November 2018, per Michael Hirst’s explanation for why he decided to end the show. It's just a matter of finally making its debut on the small screen.

The silver lining in all of this is that there have production updates from the set of Vikings: Valhalla to help occupy the long wait time. Vikings creator Michael Hirst has teased that the Netflix spinoff will feature one of Rollo’s descendants, which will provide a common link between the two shows that extends beyond their Viking-centric motifs.

But before Vikings: Valhalla makes it to the screen, fans can anticipate the remaining episodes of the final season. Unfortunately, one of the main characters will not be back for those episodes. Meanwhile, fans are also on the edge of their seat over the cliffhanger fate of Bjorn Ironside, and only time will tell how it all impacts the Netflix spinoff.

Vikings: Valhalla does not have a release date yet, but it should arrive on Netflix sometime after this year’s new content comes. As for the original series, fans hope that the second half of Vikings’ sixth and final season will make it to History as one this fall’s premieres, but they'll have to stay tuned to see if that happens.

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.