The Northman has finally arrived on streaming, now available on Peacock! Robert Eggers‘newest film was a hit among critics, detailing a story of revenge through the eyes of the Vikings. Like his previous two features, The Northman is also written by Eggers, though this time he shares the credit with Icelandic poet and novelist Sjón Sigurdsson.
Comparisons for the film have likened it to Braveheart and Apocalypse Nowwith Eggers describingThe Northman as “kind of an expensive, arty, but commercial” Viking movie. The plot takes place in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century and revolves around Nordic prince Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) who seeks revenge against Fjölnir (Claes Bang) for the murder of his father (Ethan Hawke). If it sounds familiar, that’s because The Northman is based on the same Norse legend of Amleth that inspired William Shakespeare to write Hamlet. But despite similar plot threads, Eggers’ fantasy drama does not strictly follow real events.
The Northman features an absolutely stacked cast of A-list performers, so here’s a handy guide to help you differentiate the film’s many characters before firing on your home entertainment set – from Viking warriors to queens, and beyond.
Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård)
Amleth was a Viking warrior prince whose father always told him that the kingdom would be his one day. When he witnesses his father’s murder by his uncle, Amleth takes it upon himself to seek revenge against him in order to avenge his father’s death. Alexander Skarsgård is known for his performances in films such as Melancholia, The East, The Legend of Tarzan, Battleship, Passingand Godzilla vs. Kong. He can also be seen in his television roles of Eric Northman in 76 episodes of True BloodPerry Wright in Big Little LiesGadi Becker in The Little Drummer Girland Randall Flagg in The Stand.
Queen Gudrún (Nicole Kidman)
Queen Gudrún is Amleth’s mother. After she is captured, Amleth begins his journey to save her and reclaim his place on the throne that is his birthright. Nicole Kidman has been at the center of the film industry for over three decades now and has played characters in films ranging from drama to horror and everything in between. In addition to her Oscar-winning role as novelist Virginia Woolf in The Hourssome of her most recognizable roles include Gillian Owens in Practical MagicSatine in Moulin Rouge!Gretchen Carlson in BombshellAlice Harford in Eyes Wide Shutand, most recently, Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos. She has also jumped to television with her portrayals of Celeste Wright in Big Little Lies (opposite Skarsgård), Grace Fraser in The Undoingand Masha Dmitrichenko in Nine Perfect Strangers. Kidman can also be seen reprising her role as Queen Atlanna in the upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023), as well as the series Roar and Expats.
Fjölnir (Claes Bang)
Fjölnir is Amleth’s uncle and King Aurvandill’s brother. He brutally murders his brother, the King, and now faces his nephew’s rage in his quest for revenge. Most of Claes Bang’s film releases are Danish productions, including Jan Holtser in The Girl in the Spider’s Web and Essien in Locked Down. His television roles include Claudio in the original Danish version of The BridgeSasha Mann in The Affairand Count Dracula in the BBC’s 2020 adaptation of Dracula.
Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy)
Olga of the Birch Forest is a character who was somewhat shrouded in mystery before the release of the film. She is a witch and also serves as Amleth’s love interest in the film. Anya Taylor-Joy gained critical and commercial attention as Thomasin in Eggers’ The Witch. Afterward, she went on to star as Casey Cooke in both Split and Glassas well as Sandie in Last Night in Soho. On television, she has played Gina Gray in Peaky BlindersBeth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambitand Brea in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Taylor-Joy can also be seen in the upcoming films Canterbury Glass (TBA) and The Menu (TBA).
King Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke)
King Aurvandill is Amleth’s father and Queen Gudrún’s wife. When he is murdered by his brother, Fjölnir, he begs his son to run away in order to keep him safe. Aurvandill’s murder is the spark that sets off the film as well as Amleth’s journey to avenge his father.
Ethan Hawke‘s acting career has spanned over 35 years, with memorable roles like Todd Anderson in Dead Poet’s SocietySergeant Jake Roenick in Assault on Precinct 13Jesse Wallace in Richard Linklater‘s Before trilogy, Agent Doe in Predestinationand Reverend Ernst Toller in First Reformed. He also has appeared in genre films like Sinister, Daybreakers, Total Recalland The Purgeas well as television shows like Aliasand Robot Chicken. Most recently, he can be seen as “The Grabber” in The Black PhoneArthur Harrow in the Disney + miniseries Moon Knightand Batman / Bruce Wayne in the upcoming animated series Batwheels (2022).
Heimir the Fool (Willem Dafoe)
Heimir is a court figure by day but has a more surprising night job that just might be a little more evil than an innocuous jester.
Willem Dafoe‘s prominent film credits include playing Jesus in Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Temptation of Christ, FBI Special Agent Paul Smecker in both Boondock Saintsfilms, and Norman Osborn / Green Goblin in Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man trilogy. He can also be seen in films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Florida Project, Aquamanand Nightmare Alley. His television credits include episodes of The Simpsons and Saturday Night Liveand his upcoming film roles include Nuidis Vulko in Aquaman and the Lost KingdomJoe Cribbens in Dead for a Dollar (TBA), and Dr. Godwin Baxter in Yorgos Lanthimos‘ Poor Things (TBA)
The Northman also features Icelandic singer Björk as the Seeress, Kate Dickie as Halldora, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson as He-Witch, Murray McArthur as Hákon Ironbeard, Ian Whyte as the Mound Dweller, Olwen Fouéré as Ashildur Hofgythja, and Ralph Ineson as Captain Volodymyr.
The Northman is now available to stream on Peacock!