Seven Kings Must Die ending explained: Alexander Dreymon on Uhtred's fate
The star weighed in on that emotional final scene.
Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Seven Kings Must Die.
Seven Kings Must Die has finally landed on Netflix, concluding the story arc of beloved warrior Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon).
The two-hour movie serves as a send off to popular Netflix series The Last Kingdom, which is based on the Bernard Cornwell novel series The Saxon Stories.
While many fans will be hoping Uhtred's story ends on a positive note after years of unimaginable strife over five seasons of the historical drama, the film sees the character at the centre of a dangerous conflict once more as the feuding heirs to the Wessex throne – Aethelstan (Harry Gilby) and Aelfweard (Ewan Horrocks) – battle for power in the wake of their father's death.
Uhtred has gone to great lengths in the past to preserve the dream of a united England – first put forward by his late friend King Alfred (David Dawson) – but will he pay the ultimate price by laying down his life for the cause?
RadioTimes.com spoke exclusively to The Last Kingdom star Alexander Dreymon and screenwriter Martha Hillier, who explained their interpretation of the emotional Seven Kings Must Die ending. Read on for spoiler-filled details.
Seven Kings Must Die ending explained: does Uhtred die?
Seven Kings Must Die ends on an ambiguous note, with Uhtred coming close to death after sustaining serious wounds during the Battle of Brunanburh.
His friends are able to return him to his ancestral home of Bebbanburg, where he emerges frail to find them celebrating their victory and the formation of England under the young King Aethelstan.
As he wonders whether the prophecy foretold by Ingrith (Ilona Chevakova) – that seven kings must die – included him, he looks back to his bedroom and has a vision of Valhalla.
The Viking image of heaven is a grand feast hall, where his fallen friends Brida (Emily Cox) and Haesten (Jeppe Beck Laursen) are among the warriors celebrating – inviting Uhtred to join them.
Torn between the land of the living and the afterlife, we never see which direction Uhtred chooses, leaving it up to the imagination whether he dies at that moment or chooses to continue on the mortal plane.
Alexander Dreymon told RadioTimes.com: "I'm actually very happy with the way that it ends because there's that ambiguity. You see everything that he's fought for his whole life and he’s believed in… because the idea of Valhalla and heaven has been such a big character in the show in a way.
"And that he has the option of going to the feast hall – that he aches for so much – is beautiful to see. But it really shows that he's a man who's had a full life and who is loved by the people who are still there."
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He continued: "It's such a big thing for him to have that choice. To be able to decide: 'Do I stay with the people that I love here or do I stay with the people that I love there?' And ultimately, it's all going to be okay.
"So, I think the life that he's led is going to be very rewarding for him in the end – so I'm very happy for him."
Screenwriter Martha Hillier, who penned The Last Kingdom seasons 4 and 5 as well as Seven Kings Must Die, revealed that there is no behind-the-scenes verdict on Uhtred's fate at the end of the sequel film.
"Between all of us, I don't think we had a conversation about it," she told RadioTimes.com. "We sort of leaned into the idea that we don't know the ending. Alex may have a different view in his head.
"I actually don't know the answer. I don't know what happens after that scene. I don't know if he recovers and comes back to life, lives there another 20 years, or actually, if that was the absolute."
Hillier continued: "I don't know, and we never sat down and went, ‘What is the truth?’ I think we've probably all got different versions of it in our heads."
While Dreymon and Hillier would neither confirm nor deny Uhtred's fate in Seven Kings Must Die, his death isn't explicitly depicted in War Lord; the final entry in Bernard Cornwell's The Last Kingdom books.