‘Vikings’ Showrunner Admits History Channel Originally Wanted A Male-Led Series But That Changed With Lagertha

Michael Hirst reveals that he always wanted strong female leads in 'Vikings.'

Katheryn Winnick stars as Lagertha, as seen in Season 5 of History Channel's 'Vikings'
Jonathan Hession / History Channel

Michael Hirst reveals that he always wanted strong female leads in 'Vikings.'

SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses History Channel’s Vikings. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed all available episodes and wish to avoid spoilers.

According to Variety, when History Channel first greenlit Vikings, they were ready for a male-dominated show that aligned with their general demographics. However, the show’s creator, Michael Hirst, was quick to change all of that with the introduction of the fan-favorite character, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick).

The Viking Age is filled with plenty of stories about Viking men who conquered and pillaged. Ragnar Lothbrok, played by Travis Fimmel, was the Viking selected to be the center of History Channel’s historical drama. Along with his many sons, the series was set to appeal to the male demographic that was popular for the network.

“History Channel was male-skewed and it was one of the reasons that they picked the show up,” Hirst revealed. “Because they thought it’s would appeal to male viewers with its battles and visceral things.”

However, Hirst did not want the series to be so one-sided. Instead, he introduced not only the diversity of the religions at the time but some strong female characters as well.

Along with Lagertha, there have been many other female characters who have shone in the series. Currently, the shieldmaiden Torvi (Georgia Hirst) is still present, but Helga (Maude Hirst), Judith (Jennie Jacques), Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland), Queen Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey), and Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig), among many others, are also examples of female characters in Vikings that have inspired the audience and encouraged women to tune into the show.

Georgia Hirst stars as Torvi
  Bernard Walsh / History Channel

Hirst believes that women identify with these characters, especially Lagertha, who has had her share of heartbreak in the TV series.


“Early on in the show after [Lagertha] left Ragnar and got involved with a man who mistreated her, I had a long discussion with Katheryn because, initially, she didn’t like the storyline… But a lot of very intelligent, capable women are involved with or married to abusive men. That was a storyline that many women would understand and identify with.”

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, even though Lagertha is a famous shieldmaiden, she looks set to retire in Season 6. Many fans are predicting that this will be short-lived. However, viewers will have to wait until the new series premieres on Wednesday night in order to find out more.

Season 6 of Vikings will premiere on the History Channel on Wednesday, December 4, at 9 p.m. This will be the final season. However, a new spinoff series, Vikings: Valhalla, is currently in development with Netflix.