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Why Travis Fimmel Was Ready To Retire His Character On Vikings

The first time most audiences saw actor Travis Fimmel on screen likely came as a result of his role in History's "Vikings." Although his character, Ragnar Lothbrok, was killed midway through the series, Fimmel served as the face of the show for a great many years. Indeed, because of the fact that Ragnar was the show's main character and had become a fan favorite, Ragnar's loss was actually a fairly shocking blow to many "Vikings" fans.

Ultimately, however, the series and franchise as a whole grew past him. After Ragnar's death, "Vikings" would later go on to air an additional two seasons without him. Years later, a spinoff entitled "Vikings: Valhalla" was also released on Netflix. Although Ragnar's time of glory has long since passed, his memory continues to serve as a guiding legend to figures in the franchise.

Following his exit from "Vikings" in 2017, Fimmel once again returned to the land of television, starring in the Ridley Scott-produced "Raised by Wolves" on HBO Max. As if that wasn't enough, Fimmel has also been active on another streaming site, starring in and producing the AMC+ series "That Dirty Black Bag" (via IMDb). Of course, many fans may wonder if it was difficult for Fimmel to move on from the role that made him famous.

Interestingly, it would seem that the decision to retire Ragnar was actually a fairly straightforward one for Fimmel and the "Vikings" producers. 

Travis Fimmel doesn't regret Ragnar's death

Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) scraped his way out of plenty of close calls during his time on "Vikings." However, because the series was a drama based around actual historical figures, there simply came a time when Ragnar could not live on anymore. Eventually, Ragnar dies at the bottom of a snake pit in a brutal and blunt goodbye to the character. In a 2019 interview, Fimmel was asked if he struggled with moving on from the character after the cameras stopped rolling.

"As soon as the cameras are off, I start talking to people," Fimmel said (via Collider). "I'm not one of those actors that live and breathe the character and take it home." Interestingly, although Fimmel insisted that it wasn't difficult to move beyond Ragnar, he stressed that he very much enjoyed his time on the series.

Similarly, "Vikings" creator Michael Hirst has also shown a notable lack of remorse in killing off Ragnar, explaining it was simply time for his story to end and his sons' stories to begin, which was always the plan. "My saga was always going to be about Ragnar and his sons. Historically speaking, some of his sons were equally if not in fact more famous than Ragnar himself," he said, adding he also wanted to shift focus to other characters in the series (via CinemaBlend). 

Considering the sizable ways that "Vikings" has since moved past Ragnar and his children, it certainly seems that Fimmel and Hirst's approaches were well suited to the franchise.