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Katheryn Winnick admits she wanted out of Vikings and ‘wasn’t upset’ over season six exit

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Katheryn Winnick and as Lagertha in Vikings
Katheryn Winnick admits she wanted out of Vikings (Picture: Getty/Rex)

Katheryn Winnick has opened up over her Vikings exit and revealed she was ready to leave way before her character met her end in season six.

The actress, 43, spent seven years playing her much-loved character Lagertha and she was lost for words when her onscreen death finally aired in 2019.

Reflecting on her exit, however, Katheryn admits that she was ready to leave Vikings and originally thought that she’d be written out of the show in season four.

Instead she went on to feature in all six seasons of Vikings, with Katheryn explaining that she wasn’t upset when she finally found out Lagertha was bowing out of the show because she expected it.

Speaking to NME, Katheryn revealed: ‘I wasn’t upset when I was told I was getting written out. We’d been talking about it for a while. If anything, I was like, “When am I going to go?”‘

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The series follows the sagas of Norse hero and viking Ragnar Lothbrok and his claim to the throne to become a Scandinavian King, while the laters seasons of Vikings focus on Ragnar’s sons.

Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha 'Vikings' TV Show Season 5
Katheryn played Lagertha for all six seasons (Picture: Rex)

‘I thought I was going to go in season four when the show became more about Ragnar’s sons, but they convinced me to stay on with the offer of directing an episode,’ Katheryn said.

‘I really wanted to direct, and I didn’t want to be in the episode I was directing, so it was time to say goodbye. Leaving was always, always, always part of the plan.’

Fans watched on as the iconic shieldmaiden met her end in season six episode Death and the Serpent, where she was killed by Ragnar’s (played by Travis Fimmel) son Hvitserk (Marco Ilsø), fulfilling The Seer’s prophecy.

Katheryn Winnick at InStyle event in 2020
She originally thought her character would be written out in season four (Picture: Getty)

Speaking about her character’s exit, Katheryn revealed how intense and ‘physically exhausting’ her final scenes were to film.

She told Variety in January last year: ‘I’m still lost for words because I don’t know if I’ve really said goodbye yet. That final battle was extremely hard.

‘It was one of the hardest rehearsals for me, ever. I really wanted to make it great and it was so important to tell a story through the battle and not just make it another fight.’

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Katheryn continued: ‘It was physically exhausting to be able to not only shoot it, but also to be able to build your stamina going for it in such an intense shoot.

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‘It took us weeks to prepare and then we rehearsed it over and over. I’m really proud of it because it was definitely gruelling.’

The second part of Vikings’ final sixth season dropped on Amazon Prime in December and it included the episode Katheryn went on to direct, following Lagertha’s exit.

Episode eight, titled Valhalla Can Wait, saw Katheryn in the director’s chair and saw Hvitserk being punished by his brother Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig) for killing Lagertha.

Vikings is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

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