Vikings’ Moe Dunford admits he thought writers were ‘having me on’ over Aethelwulf death

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Aethelwulf (played by Moe Dunford) may have divided the Vikings fandom during his time on the History series but it’s fair to say King Ecbert’s (Linus Roache) son made quite the impact on-screen. Introduced as the prince to Wessex, Aethelwulf embarked on many a battle during his time alive, as well as embarking on gripping romance storylines with the likes of Kwenthrith (Amy Bailey), Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) and Judith (Jennie Jacques). However, there’s one moment from his time on the show which will live long in the memories of Vikings fans everywhere: his death.

Aethelwulf passed away not on the battlefield, but rather after suffering an allergic reaction to a bee sting.

Given the show is no stranger to killing off its biggest players in as gruesome and bloody ways as possible, it’s fair to say Aethelwulf’s death certainly took fans by surprise.

And it turns out it wasn’t just Vikings viewers who were surprised by his demise as actor Moe revealed in an exclusive interview with

“You know, when he said bee sting, the producer,” Moe began. “I thought he said beasting.”

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Moe continued: “So I thought he wanted him to go out and get beasted and I thought, ‘Beasted? I’m playing an English King here. You know what, yeah, let’s beast him’ (laughs). 

“And they were like, ‘no, no, no, bee sting.’ And I said, ‘come on lads, you’re having me on’.  

“Then, I thought about (it), I was like, it’s quite ironic in a way – if I was doing it, I wouldn’t have written him off that way.”

The Vikings star then detailed how he eventually came around to the idea.

“But then I thought about like, you entered the show playing a little posh prince, the audience didn’t like him, and I liked the challenge (of) playing an English soon-to-be king, (trying to) get the audience on his side,” he added.

“But I was reminded when I was going I was playing an English king and I said ‘yeah, kill him off with a bee sting,’ (laughs).”

Moe did admit, however: “I did grow close to the character but the job is done, move on. 

“Michael (Hirst) [showrunner] wanted something that you wouldn’t have seen coming, I certainly didn’t.”

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While Aethelwulf may no longer be on the show, Vikings fans are eagerly awaiting the final season’s return later this month.

For the first time ever, Amazon Prime Video will stream the final few episodes instead of History.

In the meantime, fans can catch Moe take on a role worlds away from his Vikings alter-ego in action thriller Knuckledust.

The non-stop thriller is set in an illegal fight den, with Dunford taking on the lead role of Hard Eight.

Hard Eight is a down on his luck brawler who tries to punch and fight his way out before teaming up with a rather shifty-looking police task force.

“Working with James (Kermack) [the director] was a huge draw,” Moe said of his latest role.

“James is a magnificent man, great director, and very patient as a director,”

“He’s very giving, visual and he’s quite inspiring when we go into the same movies and things, and he’s great with his cast.”

Knuckledust is released on digital platforms now (release details are here).

Vikings season 6 returns to Amazon Prime Video on December 30.

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