Vikings has seen a lot of battles, deaths, and betrayals, and one of the most untrustworthy characters has been Rollo Sigurdsson, played by Clive Standen, who left the series after season 5. Ragnar’s older brother has been at the core of drama since season 1, and he left the show in season 4 only to come back on the second part of season 5 - and then he left again. Even though Rollo is not a favorite among the characters in Vikings, he’s quite popular among viewers, who were excited to finally see him back even though he brought more trouble.
During its first seasons, Vikings was all about the raids of Ragnar Lothbrok and his Vikings brothers, but the seasons that have followed have shifted their focus to Ragnar’s sons and their travels. Ragnar died in season 4, but that wasn’t the end of Rollo’s arc and tendency to be followed by trouble. Rollo is a fearsome warrior, is very impulsive, and is often driven by jealousy and revenge. He lived under his brother’s shadow for years, and betrayed him one last time by accepting Emperor Charles’ offer, thus becoming Duke of Normandy and marrying Princess Gisla.
It was this new role that has kept him away from his nephews and the rest of Kattegat. Rollo had been an important part of Vikings, especially because he always brought big amounts of drama, and fans were sad to see him go near the end of season 4, and then again in season 5. And rather than Rollo being killed or written off the show because Standen had to depart the series, this time it seems it was all in service of the story, not the actor. But, of course, when the character is written to be away from the main story, that means the actor - in this case, Standen - had to leave the show for the time being.
Why Clive Standen Left Vikings
An exact reason for Clive Standen’s departure hasn't been revealed, but given that Rollo has come back before, it's possibly because the character’s arc requires him to be away from Kattegat and the rest for a while (again). Rollo returned in season 5’s episode “The Revelation”, and it was clear he was brought back for dramatic purposes as he urged Lagertha and Bjorn to return with him to Frankia, also revealing himself as Bjorn’s biological father (which Bjorn rejected). Rollo left again, but it’s possible that he will come back for the final season of Vikings. Series creator Michael Hirst has teased that the answer to whether Rollo will return in season 6 or not is “yes and no” (via Cinemablend), and that his re-appearance will be “a huge surprise”. With that in mind, Rollo could return in a flashback or a vision, which could fit the talk surrounding his role.
On the other hand, Clive Standen’s schedule could have potentially influenced Rollo’s absence from Vikings. In 2017-2018 he starred as Bryan Mills in NBC’s TV adaptation of Taken, so it’s likely that kept him away from Vikings for a while. He’s currently part of NBC’s upcoming series Council of Dads. The way Rollo’s arc has been written could have allowed Standen to take on other projects and go back whenever he could. Rollo is one of the few characters from season 1 who is still standing, and bringing him back one last time in Vikings season 6 would certainly make fans of the series very happy – and would bring even more drama to the mix.