Historical and fantasy-themed creations are all the rage across the visual mediums of entertainment these days, from the biggest shows to the best-selling games. Right now, a theme that can cross over from historical to fantasy is on the rise, with the Norse theme starting to gain traction among cinematic creatives.
It’s a theme that encompasses Vikings, Norse mythology, gods like Thor and Odin, heroic figures like the Valkyrie, and gigantic figures like the World Serpent, Jörmungandr. The stories of the real marauders and the tales from their mythos are as epic as they are brutal, which should lend them nicely to the cinema.
Viking and Norse don’t have a great track record on the silver screen, with the most prominent property being Marvel’s take on the Lord of Thunder, Thor, being a central part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, what properties are driving Norse into mainstream pop-culture, and are Vikings on their way to the cinema?
A forgettable run of Norse at the cinema
Despite the rich lore of Norse and the well-documented history of the Vikings, the theme has been all but ignored by the movie studios. As confirmed by https://screenrant.com/best-viking-movies-time-ranked/, the best of the bunch is 1958’s The Vikings, starring Kirk Douglas. While the Thor movies are quite fun, the less well-received standalone Thor movies are the ones that attempt to lean more heavily into the lore. Then there’s Beowulf, which was brushed aside upon release due to its CGI rendering over actors, and Valhalla Rising, with its languid pace with occasional flickers of violence to try to keep eyes on the screen. All-in, it’s a grossly underserved theme.
TV shows investing heavily in the theme
A testament to the depth and intrigue available to be explored in Norse mythology and Viking history, both of the colossal, high-production series delving into the topics are based around written events. The longest-running of the two is Vikings, which mixed myth and historical fact, but the much-loved show has now concluded. The other is The Last Kingdom, which is based on a fictional character, per https://inews.co.uk/culture/, but has the series roll through real events and use true historical figures.
Even casino gaming has jumped on the Norse theme
Online casino gaming is perhaps the best indicator of what themes are hot right now, with the several development studios being able to create new slot games relatively quickly to appeal to trending themes. For some time now, Norse and Viking slots have been driving the slots section, with the theme becoming so popular that https://www.royalpanda.com/en/ saw it necessary to commission a new and exclusive game, Thor: Infinity Reels. Before the God of Thunder game hit the site, the likes of Thor’s Vengeance, Battle Maidens, Book of Loki, and Viking Wilds all enjoyed time atop the popularity rankings.
Video games offering the hands-on experiences
In video gaming, two colossal games have been made to perfection and near-perfection to capture either side of the theme. God of War, released in 2018, perfectly captured the setting, characters, and tales of Norse mythology, with Mimir telling the stories as players made their way around the vast map. In 2020, the long-running Assassin’s Creed took its formula to the days of the Vikings with Valhalla, enabling players to partake in a fictitious conquest of Britain.
Will the theme finally go big at the cinema?
With so many Viking and Norse properties dominating the entertainment sector at large, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that moviemakers have started to take notice. As you would assume, the highly-publicized Thor: Love and Thunder is the biggest on the way, continuing to catch headlines for its all-star cast. Still, there is another on the way. From American director Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse), The Northman finished its delayed production in December last year, per https://www.indiewire.com/2020/12/. Set in Iceland and starring Alexander Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Ralph Ineson, and Anya Taylor-Joy, the historical thriller tells the tale of a Nordic prince seeking revenge for his murdered father.
Vikings and the tales of Norse mythology are very popular right now: a trend which Thor 4 and The Northman look perfectly positioned to capitalize on at the cinema.