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Why The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die Left Out Lady Aelswith & King Edward

"The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die" offers up a strong conclusion to the epic historical series that began in 2015, but that doesn't mean every loose narrative thread is tied up by its end. Eager watchers of the movie may have been shocked to find that several key players from "The Last Kingdom" proper, most notably Eliza Butterworth's Lady Aelswith and Timothy Innes' King Edward, are completely missing. Of course, the omission of these particular characters was a choice on the part of the film's creative team — and they have a couple of interesting reasons for doing so.

In an interview with RadioTimes.com, "Seven Kings Must Die" screenwriter Martha Hillier explained the team's decision to cut several main characters from the series for the movie. "It was heartbreaking," she said. "It was really hard because I absolutely love all of them. But we only really had a certain amount of real estate and we couldn't service all the characters."

Other factors played into the film's missing characters

Aside from the issues of practicality that Martha Hillier suggests would have stemmed from fitting additional characters into "The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die," the screenwriter also noted that this lean approach allowed the necessary amount of focus on Alexander Dreymon's Uhtred. "It's a much more single protagonist story... and that's quite nice, because we can properly bring it back to the final books," she said in an interview with RadioTimes.com.

There's also a factor that Hillier didn't note, but which also makes quite a deal of sense — scheduling conflicts. In an interview with The Screen Chronicles, Eliza Butterworth revealed that she was originally planned to appear in "Seven Kings Must Die," but a prior commitment to a job in Tenerife prevented her from doing so. "We tried everything, it was so hard," she said.

All in all, it doesn't seem like there's any bad blood among the "Seven Kings Must Die" production and the "Last Kingdom" stars who didn't return. In fact, Dreymon even spoke frequently with his absent castmates while filming. "I very often picked up the phone when I was there and just gave them a FaceTime and checked in," he told RadioTimes.com.