The fifth and final season of The Last Kingdom is now available to stream on Netflix right now, with fans of the hit drama taking to social media to express their excitement for the binge-watch launch.
Among them is none other than BBC Radio 2 breakfast host Zoe Ball, who spent the morning show discussing her love for the historical epic based on the novels of Bernard Cornwell.
Her comments were noted by star Alexander Dreymon, who responded with a hilarious video shared to The Last Kingdom's Twitter page, which sees Uhtred launch Wessex Radio with help from pals Finan (Mark Rowley), Sihtric (Arnas Fedaravičius) and Father Pyrlig (Cavan Clerkin).
The footage was recorded from the set of the upcoming sequel film, Seven Kings Must Die, which will tell a "standalone" story accessible to complete TLK newcomers, according to executive producer Nigel Marchant.
Check out the clip below.
The Last Kingdom's season 5 premiere brings back numerous beloved characters after an absence of almost two years, as well as introducing several new faces including the show's first deaf character.
Longtime viewers should also look out for a brief cameo from Eivør, best known as the vocalist behind The Last Kingdom's instantly recognisable theme song.
Responding to our report in a tweet, the Scandinavian musician said: "If you will be watching, keep an eye on the opening scene. You might see a familiar face among Brida's warriors."
The action-packed series will once again see a considerable time-jump in its fifth season, which has sparked fresh discussion over whether The Last Kingdom should have copied The Crown's approach to casting.
Judging from the season 5 trailer, it looks as if the fragile peace brokered between Saxon and Dane will be disrupted by the return of ruthless warrior Brida (Emily Cox).
Expect her to lead a brutal campaign, with The Last Kingdom actor James Northcote teasing “a lot of death”, which may not be surprising to longtime viewers who have already seen plenty of characters bite the dust.
Read more: The Last Kingdom's 10 best deaths
Read on for all your essential information on The Last Kingdom season 5 on Netflix, including release date, cast, first-look images, story theories and more.
The Last Kingdom season 5 release date
The Last Kingdom season 5 was released on Netflix on Wednesday 9th March 2022.
In April 2021, Dreymon and his co-stars appeared in a social media video confirming that The Last Kingdom crew had returned to Hungary to shoot its final season.
"Considering the circumstances, we're incredibly fortunate to be in production at the moment," he said. "Everyone is doing their part, it's going very well so far and we hope to be able to bring something really special."
Dreymon continued: "I wanted to say thank you for all your continued support because we wouldn't be here without you and we're all sending you lots of love."
The following month, it was announced that The Last Kingdom would end with its fifth season on Netflix, but little did fans know that the team had one more surprise up their sleeve.
Dreymon said in a statement: "I love this job. Playing Uhtred for five seasons has been a wonderful journey. And I’m truly grateful to have been given the opportunity to direct.
"In doing so, I came to fully appreciate the spectacular talent and skill of our cast and crew even more. I can’t wait to share it with our fans, without whom none of this would be possible.”
There had been such a passionate fan outcry over the apparent end of The Last Kingdom that, just a few months later, a follow-up movie was announced as the show's last hurrah.
Executive producer Nigel Marchant said in a statement: "Although season 5 fully concludes the series, there was always one more story that we wanted to tell.
“With the brilliant support of Netflix and continued appetite from the fans to see more, we simply couldn’t resist one last journey with Uhtred.”
Filming on The Last Kingdom season 5 wrapped in June 2021, but the cast and crew returned to Hungary at the start of this year to begin production on the film follow-up Seven Kings Must Die.
How many episodes are in The Last Kingdom season 5?
The Last Kingdom season 5 consists of 10 episodes in total.
The first two seasons, which were released on BBC Two, consisted of eight episodes each.
However, once the series moved to Netflix, the third, fourth and fifth seasons each consisted of 10 episodes.
Altogether, the series runs at 46 episodes, not including the upcoming movie.
The Last Kingdom season 5 returning cast and characters
Behind-the-scenes photos from season 5 have confirmed which The Last Kingdom cast members are returning for the final chapter – and fans will be pleased to see all their (surviving) favourites are back.
Of course, Alexander Dreymon will be returning to lead the team once more as Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a fierce warrior with ties to both the Saxons and the Danes, who has been the main focus of the show since it began.
To the disappointment of some fans, it should be noted that the character is largely fictional, but plenty of factual figures do pop up across the show's run (check out our briefing on The Last Kingdom's real history for more information).
Chief among them are Winchester's Saxon royals, who were left in a state of turmoil at the end of season 4, with Timothy Innes (King Edward), Millie Brady (Lady Aethelflaed) and Eliza Butterworth (Lady Aelswith) reprising their roles.
The latter had been uncertain for some time after Aelswith was poisoned by Aethelhelm towards the end of season 4, but recent social media posts have confirmed that Butterworth is indeed rejoining her co-stars for the final entry.
Previously, Butterworth told RadioTimes.com: "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."
Mark Rowley, Ewan Mitchell and Arnas Fedaravičius have become firm favourites as Uhtred's loyal allies Finan, Osferth and Sihtric, with the trio spotted in a recent set picture.
Emily Cox is also confirmed to be returning as Uhtred's childhood friend-turned-nemesis Brida, whose season 5 appearance has been revealed in a first-look photo from season 5, after the character was last seen giving birth alone in the woods.
The Last Kingdom co-star Harry Gilby has teased that Brida will form some unexpected new relationships this season, as she wanders further down her twisted antagonistic path.
"She has all the scenes that you’d want as an actor," he said. "She plays the villain, which I’ve always wanted to do, and this season she has fantastic scenes with Cavan [Clerkin], who plays Pyrlig. They’re so gritty and amazing, and everyone’s going to love them."
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), so expect to see the final fate of all three characters.
Adrian Schiller has confirmed he will be reprising his role as the power-hungry schemer Aethelhelm, but isn't optimistic that he'll make it out of the next season of The Last Kingdom alive, while Amelia Clarkson plays on-screen daughter Aelflaed.
The Last Kingdom season 5 new cast members
There have been a load of additions to The Last Kingdom cast for season 5, starting with Domina actor Ewan Horrocks in a recurring role, where he will play a grown-up Aelfweard – the son of King Edward and his wife, Aelflaed.
Meanwhile, Butterworth has confirmed season 5 will also revisit Edward's illegitimate child Aethelstan in his teenage years, now played by Tolkien star Harry Gilby.
Another recasting has been carried out for the role of Aelfwynn, the daughter of Lady Aethelflaed, who will be portrayed by unknown Phia Saban, a recent graduate of Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
Russian-Finnish actor Ilona Chevakova will be joining the cast of The Last Kingdom as a new character called Ingrith, wife to Finan, who asks in a teaser image: "What were they like before we civilised them?"
She may be referring to the invading Danes, who once indulged in barbaric pillaging, but showed signs of settling into a quieter life towards the end of season 4.
Another new face will be Micki Stoltt, who will debut in The Last Kingdom season 5 in the role of Rognvaldr, the traditional Norse name used by fierce warrior Ragnall Ivarson, who is the trouble-making brother of Sigtryggr.
In an Instagram post, he said: "It has been the most amazing and magical experience to work with such a large group of talented and warm-hearted people – and I feel truly grateful for the friendships that has been made on the way, and I am stunned by the wonderful TLK cast and crew."
Fellow newcomer Jaakko Ohtonen expressed a similar sentiment on his social media, when he revealed he would be taking on the role of Dane warrior Wolland in the upcoming episodes.
Up-and-comer Harry Anton has bagged what could be a breakout role in The Last Kingdom season 5, where he will play a Saxon by the name of Bresal, who will become an associate of the treacherous Aethelhelm.
The quote in his reveal image ominously reads "I believe most will be led by their greed", leaving fans to wonder if he could be bribing people to achieve a nefarious goal.
He could be in cahoots with another new character, Eadgifu, played by The Woman in White's Sonya Cassidy, who says in her character reveal: "30 pieces of silver? That is the cost of betrayal, I believe."
In the books, and indeed in the history on which they are based, Eadgifu is the third wife of King Edward, but it's unclear at present if she is betraying her husband or rooting out a traitor in their court.
To round-up, here's a complete list of The Last Kingdom season 5 cast:
- Alexander Dreymon plays Uhtred of Bebbanburg
- Emily Cox plays Brida
- Eliza Butterworth plays Aelswith
- Timothy Innes plays King Edward
- Mark Rowley plays Finan
- Arnas Fedaravičius plays Sihtric
- Ewan Mitchell plays Osferth
- Millie Brady plays Aethelflaed
- Jeppe Beck Laursen plays Haesten
- Adrian Schiller plays Aethelhelm
- Amelia Clarkson plays Aelflaed
- Stefanie Martini plays Eadith
- Eysteinn Sigurðarson plays Sigtryggr
- Patrick Robinson plays Bishop Benedict
- Harry Gilby plays Aethelstan
- Ewan Horrocks plays Aelfweard
- Phia Saban plays Aelfwynn
- Ilona Chevakova plays Ingrith
- Micki Stoltt plays Rognvaldr
- Jaakko Ohtonen plays Wolland
- Harry Anton plays Bresal
- Sonya Cassidy plays Eadgifu
One big name talent has been actively campaigning for a role in season 5: comedian Ricky Gervais, who has repeatedly expressed his love for The Last Kingdom online.
In June 2020, he Tweeted to the show's official Twitter account, dressing up in a makeshift Viking costume and saying: "Hurry up with the next season and send me to Valhalla!"
Gervais has plenty of contacts at Netflix from making his hit comedy series After Life, so it isn't impossible that he could get a fun cameo in the next batch of episodes.
However, given that After Life season 3 was filmed at roughly the same time as The Last Kingdom season 5 when travel restrictions were tight, destiny may have conspired against this cameo from actually happening.
The Last Kingdom season 5 plot
At the time of the show's season 5 renewal, Carnival films released its The Last Kingdom synopsis, which read: "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."
Fans will no doubt be concerned about who or what Uhtred could lose in the season to come, with possibilities ranging from children Young Uhtred and Stiorra, to a trusted friend like Finan or Sihtric.
Further details were teased at The Last Kingdom's London MCM Comic-Con panel, with Eliza Butterworth describing her recovered Lady Aelswith and new ally Eadith as a surprise new team to keep an eye out for.
She later told RadioTimes.com: "Eadith and Aelswith become like the dynamic duo that nobody knew that they needed. They do that. Eadith and Aelswith become like two superheroes almost and it's really, really quite incredible to see."
It's possible they'll find themselves up against the evil Aethelhelm (Adrian Schiller), who made an attempt on Aelswith's life in season 4 and has admitted he doesn't like his chances of survival in the next chapter.
Against the odds, Aelswith survived her poisoning and will be a major player in the final season, with Butterworth telling RadioTimes.com that even she was surprised by that particular development.
"I remember thinking there might be a slight chance she's sort of in the next season, but we maybe see her demise at that point early on," she said. "But actually, I was quite taken aback when they said ‘no, she will be quite heavily involved in the next season and all the shenanigans’.
"At the end of season four, everybody obviously assumes because she's a much older character that she's sort of met her end, [so] it’s quite lovely that this woman just keeps coming back again and again."
Alexander Dreymon has been stoking up anticipation by sharing exclusive images from the new episodes with fans on Instagram, with the latest showing the return of Uhtred's children: Finn Elliot as Young Uhtred and Ruby Hartley as Stiorra.
The latter has been set up for a particularly important role in the final season after falling in love with warrior Sigtryggr (Eysteinn Sigurðarson), a partnership which allowed a fragile truce to be called between the Danes and the Saxons.
The caption reads: "Quick parenting tip from Uhtred: tell both your kids that the other is your favourite. If you cause enough psychological damage, they'll spend their lives trying to impress you. You're welcome. #joking".
But peace rarely lasts long and, although King Edward (Timothy Innes) agreed to allow the Danes one kingdom of their own, he appeared more determined than ever to realise his father's dream of a unified England in the season 4 ending.
If Edward himself doesn't breach the truce, then it could well be disrupted by the arrival of another formidable warlord, according to the plot laid out in The Last Kingdom books nine and ten: Warriors of the Storm and The Flame Bearer.
Ragnall Ivarson makes his debut in Bernard Cornwell's ninth Saxon Stories novel and could be the "greatest enemy" to which the season 5 synopsis refers. That said, don't expect The Last Kingdom to follow those novels to the letter, as the Netflix adaptation has been known to make major changes to The Last Kingdom books.
Of course, we might also get some resolution to the ongoing storyline revolving around Uhtred's attempts to recapture his ancestral land – the fortified grounds of Bebbanburg. His next attempt will feel more personal than ever before, given that his last attack on the seemingly unconquerable base cost the life of his cherished friend, Father Beocca (Ian Hart).
Executive producer Nigel Marchant told RadioTimes.com: "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?"
In June 2021, The Last Kingdom's official Twitter page began posting first-look images of key characters from the final season, accompanied by lines of dialogue that offer a clue to what they'll be facing in the episodes to come.
"If I die, I will haunt you to the end of your days," threatens Uhtred in his featured photo, but it's unclear exactly who he's issuing with that warning.
We also got our first look at Sitting In Limbo star Patrick Robinson as new character Bishop Benedict, another pious soul Uhtred will encounter on his journey.
It's unclear whether Benedict will be friend or foe to Uhtred as while the warrior has forged strong bonds with holy men in the past, including Fathers Beocca (Ian Hart) and Pyrlig (Cavan Clerkin), others have taken issue with his heathen lifestyle.
Amid claims of historical inaccuracy, Robinson told RadioTimes.com that his character is indeed based on a real historical figure recorded to have lived at this point in history.
"[He's] based loosely on the abbott Adrian, in the 10th century; a man of African descent, who speaks Greek and Latin and is very well travelled," explained Robinson.
"He's had his ups and obviously his downs, and that's why he ends up in [lawless town] Rumcofa, because he owes money. So this is sort of a ministry that he couldn't really afford to say no."
Rumcofa is set to be an important new locale in season 5, as the settlement where Uhtred lives with his merry men Finan, Sihtric and Osferth, as well as the families they have created since we last saw them.
Alas, Stefanie Martini has confirmed that the fan-favourite romance between her character Eadith and Uhtred's right-hand man Finan (Rowley) from The Last Kingdom season 4 will not be continued in upcoming episodes.
Talking about how season 5 will pick up years later, Martini revealed in an interview with RadioTimes.com that Finan has settled down with somebody else in the upcoming instalment of the show.
If you're looking for more hints about what will happen in The Last Kingdom season 5, a perfect place to look would be the pages of the Warriors of the Storm and The Flame Bearer, upon which this instalment is inspired.
The synopsis for The Last Kingdom book nine reads:
"A fragile peace is about to be broken… King Alfred’s son Edward and formidable daughter, Æthelflaed, rule Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia. But all around the restless Northmen, eyeing the rich lands and wealthy churches, are mounting raids.
"Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the kingdoms’ greatest warrior, controls northern Mercia from the strongly fortified city of Chester. But forces are rising up against him. Northmen allied to the Irish, led by the fierce warrior Ragnall Ivarson, are soon joined by the Northumbrians, and their strength could prove overwhelming.
"Despite the gathering threat, both Edward and Æthelflaed are reluctant to move out of the safety of their fortifications. But with Uhtred’s own daughter married to Ivarson’s brother, who can be trusted?
"In the struggle between family and loyalty, between personal ambition and political commitment, there will be no easy path. But a man with a warrior’s courage may be able to find it. Such a man is Uhtred, and this may be his finest hour."
The passage hints that the next time we see Stiorra and Sigtryggr, they will have settled into married life after setting off together in the final moments of season 4 – but the arrival of his brother could throw a spanner in the works.
The synopsis for The Last Kingdom book ten reads:
"Britain is in a state of uneasy peace. Northumbria’s Viking ruler, Sigtryggr, and Mercia’s Saxon Queen Aethelflaed have agreed a truce. And so England’s greatest warrior, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, at last has the chance to take back the home his traitorous uncle stole from him so many years ago – and which his scheming cousin still occupies.
"But fate is inexorable and the enemies Uhtred has made and the oaths he has sworn combine to distract him from his dream of recapturing Bebbanburg. New enemies enter into the fight for England’s kingdoms: the redoubtable Constantin of Scotland seizes an opportunity for conquest and leads his armies south. Britain’s precarious peace threatens to turn into a war of annihilation.
"But Uhtred is determined that nothing, neither the new enemies nor the old foes who combine against him, will keep him from his birth right. He is the Lord of Bebbanburg, but he will need all the skills he has learned in a lifetime of war to make his dream come true."
This passage teases the possible arrival of Scottish characters in The Last Kingdom season 5, following on from the introduction of Welsh king Hywel Dda in the fourth outing.
The Last Kingdom season 5 trailer
The first trailer for The Last Kingdom season 5 has dropped, giving fans a first look at Uhtred returning to his birthplace Bebbanburg to face his destiny and recapture his home.
We’re also given a glimpse at the return of Brida (Emily Cox), who is now leading a formidable army of warriors in an attempt to take revenge against Uhtred.
It has previously been teased that Uhtred will suffer "immeasurable loss" in season 5, and this clip hints at what form the loss could take, suggesting that his own son could be among the first victims of Brida’s invasion.
The clip shows an injured Young Uhtred (Finn Elliot) stumbling towards his father, with a voiceover later declaring “destiny is brutal”.
The Last Kingdom movie confirmed: Seven Kings Must Die
A film is on the way in the form of The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die.
It had initially been reported that The Last Kingdom season 5 would be the final chapter in the epic series, but at a London MCM Comic-Con panel in October 2021, star Alexander Dreymon revealed a subsequent movie would wrap up the story.
“When we started shooting the show there were ten books that Bernard Cornwell had written, and we had structured the show in a way that season 5 was always going to be the last season,” he began.
“However, for a good while now we’ve been in talks about maybe a little extension… because it felt like it couldn’t quite yet be the end,” he continued.
“And then we’ve seen such a big appetite from the fans for an encore that we have decided, along with Netflix, to do a special which is going to be a ‘movie version’ of the show and which we are going to be shooting next year.”
If you're looking to relive the moment of The Last Kingdom movie announcement, watch the clip below in which star Alexander Dreymon drops the bombshell and thanks fans for their ongoing support.
Only Dreymon himself has been confirmed for the cast at this stage in order not to spoil who makes it out of The Last Kingdom season 5 in one piece, but producer Carnival Films has teased "many" returning faces.
One big hint about the plot is the title itself, with Seven Kings Must Die seemingly being a reference to a line from Cornwell's 2011 novel Death of Kings, where the witch Aelfadell issues Uhtred with a rather ominous prophecy.
“Seven kings will die, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, seven kings and the women you love," she begins. "That is your fate. And Alfred’s son will not rule and Wessex will die and the Saxon will kill what he loves and the Danes will gain everything, and all will change and all will be the same as ever it was and ever will be.”
Those familiar with the books have theorised that this passage foreshadows the Battle of Brunanburh, which took place in the year 937 and saw King Edward take on an uneasy alliance of his sworn enemies.
The fateful battle also happens to be the historical moment where Cornwell chose to end Uhtred's story in last year's War Lord, so it would make sense for the television series to mirror that climactic moment.
We'll keep this page updated on the latest news about Seven Kings Must Die and The Last Kingdom season 5, so keep checking back for more details.
The Last Kingdom behind-the-scenes content
Fans looking for a fix of The Last Kingdom while they wait for details about season 5 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.
The channel is also home to video editions of The Last Kingdom podcast, which features plenty of jokes between co-hosts Dreymon, Rowley and Arnas Fedaravičius.
In addition, if you're still reeling from the events of season 4, check out RadioTimes.com's live Q&A with Alexander Dreymon, Eliza Butterworth and Nigel Marchant, where we discuss all the major developments.