'Vikings' Star Gustaf Skarsgård Says Floki Will Be 'Put to the Test': Is Death Imminent? (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
It's Michael Hirst's world, and Gustaf Skarsgård is just living in it.
The 37-year-old actor has entranced fans as the eccentric and beloved Floki on History's Vikings for the past five seasons, but after star Travis Fimmel's departure from the series last year, is Floki living on borrowed time?
"I mean, yeah. There's always a chance [of death]," Skarsgård candidly tells ET of whether Fimmel's exit had him worried Floki would also be saying his goodbyes. "The show is true to its time. No one was safe in the Viking age. You could die from any cause at any time. It's a brutal time and a brutal environment."
"I can't really spill anything," he adds. "But Floki is definitely going to be put to the test."
The shipbuilder seemed to have already passed the test when he returned from Iceland to Kattegat to recruit followers for his new settlement, but as viewers saw in Wednesday's episode, Floki's battle (far from the war brewing between brothers) is just getting started.
"Poor Floki...He needed to journey on his own, and he needed the kind of rebirth he has in Iceland. It felt true to his story, that he had to face himself in the elements like he did," Skarsgård shares of the episodes Floki spent alone while searching for the gods at the beginning of season five. "It's always fun to interact with people, but there was something in that solitude that was really beautiful."
"[Vikings creator] Michael Hirst, he always had this idea that you find paradise and then you bring people there and it's not paradise anymore. And that's what happens to Floki with his colony in Iceland. He has these amazing, beautiful, utopian ideas about what his society is going to be like, but it doesn't really play out that well," he continues. "He might have changed, you know, but other people haven't. It's sad."
While things don't look good for Floki, whose settlement has already turned against him, Skarsgård couldn't have had a better time following his character to Iceland.
"It was amazing. It really was... And it's fascinating how deeply rooted the Viking culture still is within the Icelandic culture. They all know their sagas and they all know their Viking history in a way that we really don't in Sweden anymore," the Stockholm-born actor says.
"I knew that Michael Hirst had always had this idea that we would go to Iceland with Floki, and then once we did, it was just amazing," Skarsgård raves. "The landscape just lends itself to such a great storytelling, and you get it for free just by being there."
Vikings airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on History. See more on the show in the video below.