Robert Eggers’ The Northman is certainly gaining more popularity the closer we get to its release date, fuelled by a True Blood fan theory and talk of the inspiration behind the narrative.

We reveal if The Northman is based on a true story and explain the fan theory that connects the film to True Blood.

Directed by visionary auteur Eggers, historical fantasy The Northman stars Skarsgård, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, and Willem Dafoe in a revenge thriller narrating the lengths one Viking will go to avenge his murdered father.

The Northman | Official Trailer 1

The Northman | Official Trailer 1

Is The Northman based on a true story?

No, The Northman is not based on a true story, but rather a Norse legend, which in turn, inspired one of literature’s popular tales.

Eggers confirmed that The Northman is based on ancient Norse sagas, particularly one legend created by Saxo Grammaticus in Latin during 1200 AD and included in the Gesta Danorum.

The Gesta Danorum is a collection of sixteen books telling the rise and fall of the rulers of Denmark, including Amleth, who features in books three and four and is the name of Alexander Skarsgård’s character in the film. 

This legend is the tale that is said to have directly inspired William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with the main character, Amleth, being a direct source of inspiration for Prince Hamlet.

Image from Universal.

Skarsgård confirms True Blood inspired The Northman amidst fan theory

A recent theory surfaced claiming that the upcoming film is a prequel to the True Blood series because of Skarsgård’s character name in the vampire series.

Skarsgård played vampire Eric Northman in True Blood, said to be linked to the character’s Viking roots, carrying the same name as The Northman film.

While the connection seemed unlikely, Skarsgård has now confirmed that True Blood certainly influenced The Northman.

Speaking to Den of Geek, the actor spoke about the True Blood scene that started it all:

“I think that actually triggered something. Shooting that flashback on True Blood 10 years ago, I think it triggered something where I was having an amazing time. It wasn’t 100 percent historically accurate what we did, but nothing on that show was, and it was a hell of a great time. And I started thinking that I’ve never seen an authentic, historically accurate depiction of the Viking Age that really takes the mythology seriously and goes deep into the mythology, and tries to make that integral to the story. So it kind of started to percolate—the idea of making a big epic Viking adventure film but based on the old sagas, the old Icelandic sagas, the Edda poetry.”

still from The Northman trailer, Universal Pictures UK

By Jo Craig – [email protected]

The Northman will release in theaters on April 15, 2022, in the UK, and April 22, 2022, in the US.

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