The Last Kingdom has come a long way since its humble launch on BBC Two back in 2015, only growing more ambitious in scope since its transition to streaming on Netflix.
Based on the novels by Bernard Cornwell, the series follows Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), a fierce warrior born Saxon but raised among Vikings, who finds his loyalties torn at the height of war.
The fourth season debuted on Netflix in April to a positive response, packing more of the epic battles and shocking character deaths that the series has become well known for.
But what happens next? Well, fans will be pleased to hear that The Last Kingdom has been renewed for a fifth season, as Uhtred continues to play a pivotal role in shaping England’s future.
The creators have teased that the new episodes will feature Uhtred’s “greatest heartbreak,” so get your tissues at the ready – although surely nothing can be sadder than that tragic death in season four?
Of course, there’s also the small matter of the eponymous Last Kingdom, also known as Northumbria, which King Edward has reluctantly allowed to remain under Dane rule – for now…
Here’s everything we know so far about season five of The Last Kingdom:
When is The Last Kingdom season five coming to Netflix?
After an agonising wait, we can now confirm that The Last Kingdom is returning for a fifth season on Netflix, which will continue the story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg during England’s early years.
Executive producer Nigel Marchant said: “We are really proud of The Last Kingdom, which continues to entertain audiences all over the world. We had such a tremendous response to the last season, so are thrilled to be bringing it back for season five on Netflix. With such a loyal fanbase, we’re excited to give viewers a chance to follow Uhtred on the next stage of his quest.”
However, there’s no word yet on when the fifth season will be released. The Last Kingdom usually has an 18-month production cycle, but this could be extended this time around due to complications caused by coronavirus.
The cast celebrated news of the show’s renewal in a charming video posted to The Last Kingdom’s official social media profiles:
Who will be in the cast of The Last Kingdom season 5?
There are no confirmed details about who is returning for season five, but certain members of The Last Kingdom cast seem very likely indeed.
Of course, how could you possibly make this series without Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred of Bebbanburg? Not only is his performance beloved by fans, but also the character has plenty of unfinished business to see to.
In season four, he attempted to reclaim his ancestral lands, but the mission went catastrophically wrong and cost the life of a dear friend. There’s no doubt that he will want to avenge that death, while finally taking back what is rightfully his.
Emily Cox is also likely to reprise her role as Uhtred’s childhood friend turned nemesis Brida, who we last saw giving birth alone in the woods. She’s been a huge part of The Last Kingdom from the beginning and her life looks set to be changed forever by recent events.
Mark Rowley, Ewan Mitchell and Arnas Fedaravičius have become real fan favourites as Uhtred’s loyal allies, so here’s hoping that they stay by his side for many more adventures to come.
On the viking side, Haesten (Jeppe Beck Laursen) is still alive against all odds, while Sigtryggr (Eysteinn Sigurðarson) has partnered up with Uhtred’s daughter, Stiorra (Ruby Hartley).
In Winchester, season four left the Saxon royals in a state of turmoil, so expect to see more of Timothy Innes as King Edward, Millie Brady as Lady Aethelflaed and (possibly) Eliza Butterworth as Lady Aelswith – more on that below…
Many of these actors appeared in the aforementioned video celebrating the season five renewal, which suggests they will indeed be reprising their roles.
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The Last Kingdom season five plot theories
Sigtryggr in The Last Kingdom on Netflix
Season five will consist of another 10 episodes on Netflix, based on books nine and ten of The Saxon Stories: Warriors of the Storm and The Flame Bearer.
The official synopsis says: “The fifth instalment will see Uhtred realise his destiny is more than just Bebbanburg: it is tied to the future of England itself. Charged with training King Edward’s first-born son Aethelstan as a warrior, Uhtred’s ambition will have an even higher purpose. But to achieve this destiny, Uhtred will have to face down his greatest enemy and suffer his greatest loss.”
In addition to this, we expect to see more on the developing relationship between Sigtryggr and Stiorra, as well as Uhtred’s reaction to seeing his daughter grow into a fiercely independent young woman.
Where season four saw the Saxons and Danes broker a fragile peace, expect that to be disrupted before too long, with the introduction of yet another formidable viking warlord: Ragnall Ivarson.
That said, don’t expect The Last Kingdom to follow those novels to the letter, as the Netflix adaptation has been known to have major differences from the The Last Kingdom books.
For example, in Cornwell’s stories, Eadith becomes Uhtred’s lover, but the series has instead decided to plant a romantic subplot between herself and his charming ally, Finan. Let’s hope there’s not a love triangle on the cards!
Executive producer Nigel Marchant gave RadioTimes.com an insight into where the plot could go next: “I think we want to tell the story of these separate kingdoms coming together and how that union happens, and also does Uhtred get back to Bebbanburg? Does he get his dream? Does he find his legacy? And what’s his involvement in bringing these kingdoms together?”
One of the biggest mysteries left hanging at the end of season four is whether Aelswith survives her poisoning at the hands of the treacherous Aethelhelm.
Eliza Butterworth, who has played Aelswith since season one, spoke to RadioTimes.com about the fate of her character, saying, “It was really exciting to play her in those more sensitive sides, not only emotionally but also now physically, we really see her completely unravelling and becoming so weak. And those around her feeling complete and utter sympathy and realising that they do need her around.
“It’s quite sad to maybe see her go, so we don’t know. We don’t know…”
Is there any behind-the-scenes content?
Fans looking for a fix of The Last Kingdom while they wait for details about season five should head over to the show’s official YouTube channel, which features numerous videos with the cast and crew.
Get a glimpse into a typical day for the likes of Alexander Dreymon, Mark Rowley and Emily Cox, or get an insight into the show’s impressive fight choreography and costume design.
In addition, if you’re still reeling from the events of season four, check out RadioTimes.com‘s live Q&A with Alexander Dreymon, Eliza Butterworth and Nigel Marchant, where we discuss all the major developments.