ET hopped on the phone with Rollo himself, Clive Standen, on Tuesday, where he dished on his character’s recent absence -- and revealed that since the series’ time jump, Rollo has “seemingly everything he’s ever wanted.”
“He beats his brother in battle, he goes back victorious, he has this lovely princess to go home to, and a whole realm that kind of worships him as the savior of Paris,” he explained, before noting that Rollo still yearns for the Viking life. “He’s having a bit of a Viking mid-life crisis. The only difference is that in modern society, the cliché is that the man pines for his Ferrari or his Porsche, whereas Rollo is pining for a longboat to take him back to be the warrior for one last voyage as a Viking.”
Rollo’s allegiance to Frankia -- and seeming betrayal of Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and the Vikings who came to claim the territory in the last half of the season -- was a major turning point for the characters, but Standen said Rollo’s big move is completely warranted given Ragnar’s past treatment of his brother.
“He was kept in the shadow of Ragnar for years… There’s only so much a person can take,” he said. “When Rollo goes to Frankia, he finds people who actually respect him and worship him…He may be betraying his people, but he’s not betraying his roots. He’s still a Viking. He just has no choice but to go to Frankia and start a new life, take on a different guard, and everything that comes with that in order to accomplish his fame in the society at the time.”
While Rollo has achieved the glory he sought, his battle with Ragnar left both a bit broken. “He’s found his people, he’s found everything he wanted, but then it’s more about his soul [being] lost,” the 35-year-old actor shared.
“I think Rollo is the main catalyst of Ragnar's downfall, because I think Ragnar's own ego couldn't bear the idea of his brother going on to do something more than him…He didn't steal Frankia from Ragnar. Rollo just took it first and made it his home before Ragnar could get back and conquer it, so it's a massive knock to Ragnar's ego,” he added. “He doesn’t like people doing better than him.”
Rollo will finally reunite with part of his Viking family next week, in what Standen described as quite the “fiery” reunion.
“They’ve always had a complicated relationship, Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) and Rollo, because Rollo was always Bjorn’s father figure as he was growing up,” he said, skirting around Rollo’s reaction to his nephew’s request for safe passage through Frankia to explore the Mediterranean.
“What’s going to be interesting is whether Bjorn actually saw that Rollo didn’t kill Ragnar, that it was Rollo’s decision to spare Ragnar’s life on that raft at the end of the first half of season four. It’ll be interesting to see if Bjorn actually saw that moment, or if he’s in the dark with that knowledge,” he explained. “It’s definitely going to be fiery when the two meet up for the first time, because Floki’s on board, because there’s always been a tempestuous relationship between Rollo and Floki (Gustaf Skarsgård).”
While we missed Standen on the last two episodes of Vikings, we’ll soon be seeing much more of the actor as he’ll next take on Liam Neeson’s famous role of Bryan Mills when NBC’s Taken premieres in February. Though the British actor admitted scheduling can be tricky, he did reveal that he’ll be pulling double duty at least for a little bit longer. “I can’t say much,” Standen said, adding “dead or alive, you will see me in season five.”
Vikings airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on History Channel.