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Vikings: Valhalla Showrunner Jeb Stuart Talks Expanding The World Of The Show In Season 2 - Exclusive

Establishing a central location in the debut season of a series is often the key to success. Whether it's Stars Hollow in "Gilmore Girls" or Kattegat in "Vikings: Valhalla," fans gravitate toward shows that have that "home" element — it doesn't matter if it's a story of small-town charm in Connecticut or a tale of Vikings from over a thousand years ago. 

Yet once that central location is firmly cemented in the DNA of a TV show, it's often fun for both the creators and fans to see how those characters will handle themselves outside of that established world. Sometimes, it means a teen going off to college; other times, it's about Vikings going on a quest away from their comfort zone. Testing characters this way keeps things exciting and fresh — and those characters can always return home and reconnect with their OG friends as needed. Until then, it's exciting to see a character explore new territory.

Looper spoke to showrunner Jeb Stuart during an exclusive interview, where he discussed the second season of "Vikings: Valhalla" and his goal to test the characters outside of Kattegat. He also explained how the change of scenery impacted the season's action sequences.

Exploring a big new world

Expanding the world in Season 2 was a big goal for Jeb Stuart. "I wanted to test them in the big world outside of Kattegat. Historically, we know that Harald took this journey, so it wasn't like I was breaking with history, but we don't know a whole lot about that journey because he took his poets and his scholars with him, and they told a great [story about it]." 

He noted the personal cheerleader element built into Harald's story this season. Stuart joked, "It's like taking your PR team with you. 'Everything Jeb does is great. It's really terrific. He was super. There were no downsides.' We know that didn't happen."

Stuart wanted to focus on the characters' journeys to repair their legacies. "What is really fun for me is taking all of them and having to rebuild their legacies," he said. "How did this happen? If I kept them in the mothership, it would've just been another season in Kattegat, in England, and things like that. I'm excited about this because it starts to broaden and tell a more lifelong story of all these very important Vikings."

Given how expansive Viking history is, it makes sense to hit more locations as the show continues to tell their quest to take over the world — but as always, the focus remains on the characters.

Centering on character action

We may not have huge battle sequences between the English and the Vikings this season, but there's still plenty of high stakes for the characters. Jeb Stuart knew he had to balance ensuring the show lived up to the reputation for action it had in Season 1 with telling the story he wanted in Season 2.

"We didn't have, let's say, a London Bridge that we build into, for Episode 4, or a Battle of Kattegat," he said. Noting his passion for character action, Stuart added, "But as an action writer, as someone who writes character action, I wasn't going to have Season 2 be flatlined through. It's got tons of really good action, and it's also action that is organic to the journeys that they're on."

The season's action nuggets have provided plenty of scenic moments for the characters to engage with. "There [are] some wonderful pieces along the Dnieper River and great pieces in Jomsborg. In fact, what we do is that every episode has its moments," Stuart said. "Either they're suspenseful, or they're action beats that we feel are satisfying to our audience — because I'm the audience. You're satisfying me first, and if I'm happy, I feel like it's serving the needs of everybody else."

Season 2 of "Vikings: Valhalla" is now streaming on Netflix.