‘Vikings’ Season 5: How Does Rollo’s Return Tie In With The History Books?

Season 4 of History’s Vikings seemed to tie up Duke Rollo’s storyline nicely after he had one final raid with Bjorn Ironside and then returned to Frankia. His fellow Vikings told him on no uncertain terms that he could not return with them to Kattegat. But, now it seems Rollo will have an explosive return in Season 5.

SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses Season 5 of History’s Vikings. Please proceed with caution if you wish to avoid potential spoilers.

When the actor who played Rollo, Clive Standen, joined the cast of NBC’s Taken, fans started wondering how Rollo would be killed off in History’s Vikings. Then Rollo raided with Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) in Season 4 and returned to Frankia with the ultimatum not to return to Kattegat with his fellow Vikings, even if he wanted to avenge the death of his brother, Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel). It seemed like History had found a nice way for Rollo to sail quietly into the history books without killing him off.

However, Clive Standen recently revealed to TV Guide that Rollo’s story is not done yet and he will return in Season 5 of Vikings.

“Nearly every season, [creator] Michael Hirst has allowed me to reinvent this man, and Season 5 is no different. I think when he comes back, all bets are off… You’ll see a very different Rollo.”

Currently, Rollo is living in Frankia with his royal wife and their children. Their whole story now seems completely removed from those storylines still involving the rest of the Vikings. The fact that Rollo was born a Viking seems a very delicate thread to keep his storyline involved in the show.

However, according to TV Guide, even with Bjorn’s ultimatum in Season 4, Rollo will definitely reunite with his fellow Vikings again in Season 5.

“It’s going to be explosive, but not in the ways that you’d expect,” Standen explained.

So, can the history books reveal more about Rollo’s character and how he could still be in contact with the Viking universe?

History Channel's 'Vikings,' Season 5, Rollo and Ragnar from Season 4
[Image by History]

Rollo was certainly a historical Viking figure, although History used a creative license by placing him as the brother of Ragnar Lothbrok. Prior to becoming a duke, Rollo was known to be involved in the siege of Paris in 885–86, of which Vikings fans got to see in Season 3. He then went on to become Duke Rollo in Frankia and was eventually baptized as Duke Robert.

Rollo is also known to be the great-great-great-grandfather of William the Conqueror, or William I of England. This means that the current English monarchy can claim Viking descent.

But, what does this have to do with the Vikings?

Season 5 of History's 'Vikings' will feature Duke Rollo
[Image by Raimond Spekking | Wikimedia Commons Public Domain]

There are many differing stories involving Rollo and his place of origin. He has been considered of either Norwegian or Danish in many medieval texts, including the Icelandic sagas about the Vikings (who give him a Norwegian heritage). Either way, he is considered as a helpful bridge between maintaining the peace between the Vikings and the French, something that is no quite true in the TV series.

Historically, Rollo was given a section of Frankia known as Normandy. His followers were later called Normans and were known for their significant military accomplishments. Rollo’s great-great-great grandson, William the Conqueror, was also known as the leader of the army that led the Norman conquest of England. This conquest involved a Viking king, King Harald III of Norway, commonly known as Harald Hardrada. So, could this be the avenue History are taking in regard to having Rollo return in Season 5 of Vikings?

Another interesting thing to note is Rollo’s parentage. While it is unclear exactly who his parents were, with various sources listing different lineage, there is a tentative tie between Rollo and Harald Fairhair (known as King Harald Finehair in the TV series). The Life of Gruffydd ap Cynan by an anonymous Welsh author in the 12th century makes the claim that Rollo and Fairhair were brothers.

History Channel 'Vikings' Season 5, Rollo, King Harald Finehair in Season 4, Episode 6, What Might Have Been
[image by History]

Currently, King Harald Finehair is vying for control of all of Norway and this could continue through into Season 5 of Vikings. Could History Channel perhaps amalgamate Harald Finehair and Harald Hardrada into the one character in order to place Rollo back in the thick of it in Season 5?

Another interesting link places Rollo as the son of a Viking called Ketill. In the 10th century, the French chronicler Richer of Reims, claims Rollo is the son of Ketill and some historians have suggested this Ketill could be the Viking known as Ketill Flatnose. While there is no one that goes by that name in Season 4 of Vikings, IMDb places Adam Copeland as Ketill Flatnose in the premiere episode of Season 5.

A previous announcement made about Adam Copeland joining the Season 5 lineup of Vikings lists his character as such.

“[Adam] Copeland will play Ketill Flatnose, a fierce and brave warrior, chosen by Floki to be one of the leaders of the Viking party intent on traveling to Iceland to set up a community there.”

So, it seems, History Channel is aligning this character with Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard), rather than Rollo. Although this certainly doesn’t completely rule out a connection to Rollo at some point in Season 5 of Vikings.

Are you looking forward to seeing more of Rollo in Season 5 of Vikings? Let us know your theories and predictions by commenting below.

Vikings has been confirmed by History Channel as returning in 2017 with Season 5.

[Featured Image by Jonathan Hession/History Channel]