The Last Kingdom has dropped its final season on Netflix, bringing a dramatic end to the story of legendary warrior Uhtred of Bebbanburg (kind of).


You see, while no further episodes are planned for this popular historical drama, the story will continue in an upcoming sequel film titled Seven Kings Must Die.

Netflix has released scarce few details about the project, but The Last Kingdom season 5 ending does offer clues as to what the premise might be and who could be in the cast.

Here you'll find a complete breakdown of The Last Kingdom's final episode including major spoilers, so proceed with caution if you haven't yet watched the latest season.

The Last Kingdom season 5 ending explained

In a rather poetic twist of fate, Uhtred's epic journey ends exactly where it began: his ancestral land of Bebbanburg, which was stolen from him decades ago by his treacherous uncle Aelfric (and later inherited by his cold-hearted cousin Wihtgar). The formidable fortress becomes a site of great strategic importance in the latter half of season 5, as Aethelhelm uses it as a base from which to set his dastardly plans into action.

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The nobleman hopes to wed princess Aelfwynn to King Constantin against her will, a marriage that would bring considerable wealth to the Scottish ruler, in exchange for his support placing grandson Aelfweard on the throne of Wessex. King Edward gets word of this plot and – after some convincing – decides to intervene, sending Uhtred ahead first on a mission to extract Aelfwynn before she can be forced into the union.

Assembling a small force comprised of himself, Sihtric, Finan and Father Pyrlig as well as returning favourites Hild and Haesten, the covert infiltration gets underway, but it isn't long until they are discovered. In an uncharacteristically honourable act, Haesten refuses to betray his associates, ultimately sacrificing his life for the good of the group, but still their derailed plan has devastating consequences.

The Last Kingdom season 5 – Jeppe Beck Laursen as Haesten and Eva Birthistle as Hild
The Last Kingdom season 5 – Jeppe Beck Laursen as Haesten and Eva Birthistle as Hild Netflix

Fearing a lack of news means that Uhtred has been killed, the impatient and impulsive King Edward proceeds with his attack against the counsel of everyone around him, travelling with an army to Bebbanburg's gates and threatening a siege. So begins a bloody battle that includes some truly barbaric moments and takes a dire turn for the Saxons, who are fooled by a staged evacuation of Bebbanburg designed to trap them.

The combined might of Wihtgar and Constantin's men pushes Edward's forces to the edge of a nearby cliff, where several men fall to their deaths, dashed on the jagged rocks below. It looks for a moment as if the Wessex king himself is doomed to the same grim fate, until Uhtred and his men spring into action, absconding from Bebbanburg amid the chaos and charging toward the trees where he spots a familiar face – his daughter.

Earlier, Lady Aelswith and Eadith had travelled into the forest in search of runaway Stiorra, pleading for her assistance in securing Bebbanburg for the Saxons. In the end, it takes a rousing speech from Uhtred to convince her of the plan and she allows her father to lead a squad of Dane warriors that turn the tide of the battle – but victory comes at a grave price, as dozens of men are slaughtered in the blood-soaked clash.

The Last Kingdom season 5 – Harry Gilby and Timothy Innes
The Last Kingdom season 5 – Harry Gilby and Timothy Innes Netflix

Away from the action, Uhtred heads back into the fortress to settle an old score, killing his dishonourable cousin Wihtgar and finally claiming back his ancestral homeland. Meanwhile, King Edward's bastard son Aethelstan forces the power-hungry Aethelhelm to come clean about his involvement in the death of his own daughter, Queen Aelflaed, who was an unintended casualty of his scheme to spark war between Saxon and Dane.

His grandson and last remaining ally Aelfweard is so sickened by the revelation that he disowns him. While Aethelstan is keen to ensure that Aethelhelm be forced to live with his crushing guilt, the traitor suddenly kills himself in shame.

With the battle won, King Constantin agrees to a temporary truce, so long as Uhtred ensures that Northumbria – the Kingdom separating Mercia and Scotland – remains independent of Edward's rule. Later, the Wessex king himself is infuriated to learn of this arrangement as he remains determined to realise his father's vision of forming England, but Uhtred informs him he has acted too recklessly to ever be a figure of complete unity; instead, that role will fall to his descendants.

How The Last Kingdom season 5 sets up Seven Kings Must Die

Timothy Innes and Alexander Dreymon in The Last Kingdom season 5
Timothy Innes and Alexander Dreymon in The Last Kingdom season 5 Netflix

We've known for several months now that The Last Kingdom would be returning to Netflix for sequel film Seven Kings Must Die, so it's not too surprising that this finale doesn't wrap things up in a neat little bow. In fact, it could be argued things remain as precarious as ever for Uhtred, who has succeeded in reclaiming his ancestral home, but now has to defend it from interested parties on both sides.

Both King Constantin of Scotland and King Edward of Wessex believe they are the rightful owners of the land, with the fragile truce brokered by Uhtred all but guaranteed to shatter before long. It's quite possible that another major conflict between the Scots and the Saxons could be a key plot point in Seven Kings Must Die, with Constantin and Edward exchanging a venomous glance in their last interaction of season 5.

Another last-minute twist that seems to be setting the stage for the upcoming film is the surprise re-introduction of Osbert, the third surviving child of Uhtred who has been notably absent since we last saw him as a newborn. This was a bone of contention among fans in season 4, who questioned the whereabouts of Osbert as his siblings Young Uhtred and Stiorra were brought back into the story as teenagers.

Eva Birthistle and Olly Rhodes in The Last Kingdom season 5
Eva Birthistle and Olly Rhodes in The Last Kingdom season 5 Netflix

At the time, executive producer Nigel Marchant told that a conscious decision was made to exclude Osbert, as the writers feared it would be "one character too many" in an already busy season.

He added: "We don’t like to deviate from the books, we like to keep the characters and the essence there, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. But that’s not to say that we couldn’t see them in the future."

Osbert was mentioned in passing at an earlier point in season 5 by his guardian Hild, but made his formal debut at the end of the series finale (played by screen newcomer Olly Rhodes). Uhtred doesn't have the best track record as a parent – his relationship with both Young Uhtred and Stiorra has had some serious ups and downs – so the arrival of yet another estranged offspring is likely to bring some added drama to the film.

We can also infer what the Seven Kings Must Die cast might look like based on which characters survive the events of this finale. Alexander Dreymon and Arnas Fedaravičius had already been confirmed for the feature, with Mark Rowley, Harry Gilby, Ruby Hartley, Finn Elliot, Cavan Clerkin, Eliza Butterworth, Stefanie Martini and Timothy Innes now seeming likely to join them – although we won't know for sure until Netflix confirms.

Seven Kings Must Die does not yet have a release date, but the project is currently shooting in Hungary.

The Last Kingdom seasons 1-5 are available to stream on Netflix. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.


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