Vikings: Valhalla explores an entirely new generation of Viking warriors roughly a century after the events of the previous series. This includes some major historical figures like Leif Eriksson and Harald Sigurdsson, who would go on to play vital roles in foundational stories. Rather than playing them as larger-than-life icons, however, Leo Suter and Sam Corlett find ways to highlight the down-to-earth elements of the men behind the myths, especially in contrast to their approach to life.

During an exclusive interview with CBR ahead of the Vikings: Valhalla’s premiere on Netflix on Feb. 25, Suter (Harald Sigurdsson) and Corlett (Leif Eriksson) spoke about the rapport their characters developed in the series. The pair also discussed the joys of working with creator Jeb Stuart and the excitement over exploring the various layers of their characters across the course of a series.

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CBR: The two of you really did get a lot of time to bounce off of each other directly, to really grow into the roles together thanks to how much time Leif and Harald have together. What was that like to be able to rely on one another in that way?

Leo Suter: One of my favorite things is the first meeting between Harald and Leif. Harald and [Leif’s sister] Freydis have just shared a moment of passion. Leif wraps up in his cloak and Harald’s topless. Fortunately, he had some trousers on. That’s a special moment where these two Vikings are sizing each other up. I love how it’s Harald who identifies early that there’s a greatness in Leif and he’s going to help draw that out. In return, Leif’s going to support him on his journey and his path of discovery down the line, through the episodes.

Sam Corlett: I think that there’s a beautiful yin-yang nature to our characters in which Leif’s steadiness helps Harald and Harald’s ambition awakens something in Leif. I think one of my favorite scenes was actually one of the scenes that we auditioned together with, which is after the fight scene in the camp. Harald comes up to Leif while he is cleaning the blood off him and they discuss why Leif’s there. There’s almost an invitation to go on this quest, that the broader Viking world is already going on and there’s hesitance… They’re both sussing each other out. I really liked that tension that was there.

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When I spoke to [Vikings: Valhalla Executive Producer Jeb Stuart], he was really ecstatic about getting the additional time to really dive into these characters. Is there anything that really stood out to you as surprising, discoveries that you made about Leif and Harald across the course of the first season that you maybe didn’t go in knowing?

Corlett: It was actually scary to commit to a show because knowing that it would go for so long, I wasn’t sure if playing the same role for so long would be exciting. The fact that we’re able to collaborate with Jeb Stuart — who is obviously incredible, right? Die Hard and The Fugitive… He has an amazing heart and is able to connect to us quite deeply. I was very, very quickly assured that the evolution of the character would constantly keep changing. I think that’s what kept me on the edge of my seat is that, yes, there were these amazing action sequences, but the characters were unfolding quite slowly, and there were things that constantly brought the curiosity in.

Suter: For me, Harald thinks life’s going to be quite simple and that becoming a king is a question of inheritance. Quickly, it’s all way more complicated than that. Getting those new scripts and learning the twists and turns that Harald’s path to his goal was going to take was really cool. To speak to Sam’s point of view, I really relish those scenes that Harald has with Freydis because she gives the opportunity for him to open up a little bit and be more vulnerable and talk more personally about things in a way that he can’t do when he’s on the battlefield or giving a rousing speech to a thousand Vikings.

Check out Leif and Harald’s growth in Vikings: Valhalla, which debuts on Netflix Feb. 25.

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