'Vikings' Season 4: History Channel Announces Premiere Date, Double The Episodes & A Split Season

Fans of History Channel's Vikings finally have finally gotten a start date for season 4 for the series based on the viking sagas and legends. As well as the the season 4 premiere being only a few short months away, the series will now be broken up into two smaller mini-seasons with an extended 20-episode season.

The History Channel recently announced that season 4 of Vikings would return on Thursday, February 18, 2016, at 10 p.m. ET. While Katheryn Winnick (who plays Lagertha) announced at this year's San Diego Comic Con that Vikings would return with double the episodes for season 4, she stopped short of confirming to IGN that there would be 20 episodes in total, instead confirming there would be around that amount but giving no actual total for season 4. History Channel, however, has now announced there will be 20 episodes for season 4 of Vikings, an increase on the original 16 they had first planned for this upcoming season.

Vikings Season 4 poster
[Image via History Channel/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.]As well as an extended season of Vikings, it seems History Channel has decided to take a page out of AMC's book and break the extended season up into two mini-seasons over the year. While season 4 of Vikings will premiere on February 18, only 10 episodes will air before a mid-season finale - just like AMC does with its juggernaut, The Walking Dead. While Vikings has nowhere near as many viewers as those addicted to The Walking Dead, the fans are certainly dedicated. It will be interesting to see if this new format, which will have the second half of the season aired later on in 2016, is a hit with Vikings fans or not.

History Channel gives the following synopsis for season 4 of Vikings:

"Season three culminated with the extraordinary battle in Paris, where Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) seized victory from the jaws of defeat – but still returns to Kattegat dangerously ill. Thoughts of his death galvanize the forces who seek to succeed him as king, including his wife Queen Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland) and his oldest son, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig). Meanwhile, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) continues power struggles with her calculating, former second in command, Kalf (Ben Robson); Rollo (Clive Standen) betrays his Vikings heritage by remaining in Frankia and Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård) is seized for his brutal actions to the Christian priest Athelstan (George Blagden)."
Vikings season 4 Facebook page official cover photo
[Image via History Channel/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.]As well as the established cast, several new characters will join Vikings in season 4. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Dianne Doan will join the cast as Yidu, an oriental slave originally captured by Frankia but now taken by the vikings back to Kattegat. It is here that Ragnar becomes intrigued by Yidu and her background that is so vastly different from his own. As Vikings fans know from previous seasons, Ragnar is always interested in learning new things and became a great friend to Athelstan even though their religious beliefs were in stark contrast to each other.

Also joining the cast of Vikings will be Peter Franzén as King Harold Finehair. This character is described by History Channel as "a complex character" who is determined to become the King of Norway. In other words, another threat to Ragnar. And, considering how sick Ragnar was at the end of season 3 of Vikings, fans may wonder if this is the ruler that finally sends Ragnar to Valhalla.

The final new main character to be introduced in season 4 of Vikings is Halfdan The Black, played by Jasper Pääkkönen. Halfdan is the younger brother of Harold Finehair and is described simply as "violent."

As well as releasing the start date for season 4 of Vikings, History channel also posted the following trailer to their Facebook page. While this video has been previously released, it has now been updated with the official premiere date along with the tagline "War never ends."

Are you excited about the fact season 4 of Vikings will have twice as many episodes? Do you think the split season will work? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

Vikings returns to History Channel with season 4 on Thursday, February 18 at 10 p.m. ET.

[Image via History Channel/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.]