We may have to wait until 2014 for the second season of History’s ‘Vikings,’ but fans at Comic-Con 2013 got an early treat with a full panel of the breakout series  stars, and a sneak peek at season 2! We were on hand at the panel to hear what the stars of the series and showrunner Michael Hirst had to say of the challenges involved with bringing ‘Vikings’ to life, as well as a few hints of the second season, so what can fans look forward to?

Naturally, the stakes will be larger, with Ragnar’s marriage to Princess Aslaug affording him more resources for conquest, so we’ll be seeing plenty bigger armies and boats. Season 2 will largely chronicle Ragnar’s rise to power, with a prevalent theme throughout the year asking what each character must ultimately choose between, or -- in some cases -- sacrifice to get what they want.

Given how many threads were set up by season 1 finale “All Change,” showrunner Michael Hirst revealed that the big time jump we’ve previewed won’t take place immediately, allowing some time for the rivalry between Ragnar and Rollo to play out, as well Aslaug to come to grips with her husband’s new marriage.

All told, here’s what the cast had to say of the first and second season of ‘Vikings’ to come:

  • How will Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) respond to Ragnar’s new marriage, after they’ve dealt with the loss of their daughter? “I think she needs to kick some serious ass,” the actress says.
  • Clive Standen (Rollo) compared Ragnar to that of a tornado spewing chaos, while his own character’s personality acts more like a volcano, lying dormant until the big eruption takes place. Rollo certainly won’t be in his brother’s shadow anymore, judging by the epic battle footage we saw.
  • Siggy (Jessalyn Gilsig) fell the furthest of anyone in the cast, but will do anything (or anyone) to get back on the throne. Meanwhile, Athelstan will certainly become more ruthless in his transition from monk to Viking, but some part of him will always have a difficult decision between the past and present. George Blagden underwent much more fight training for the coming year, and did his best to grow a beard as well as the other men in the cast.
  • Alexander Ludwig will come to play the older Bjorn after a time jump, as Hirst explained that Ragnar’s relationship to his sons was as important as any of the other characters and battles featured in the series.
  • Most shooting will still take place in Ireland, though this year will mark the first time the cast actually takes one of the boats out on the open ocean in real life.
  • The study of Viking religion will continue to become a prevalent theme, with Hirst reminding the audience he focuses less on portraying supernatural aspects of the series, and rather treats them as real in the eyes of the Vikings, often open to interpretation as divine presence.

Finally, the footage we saw depicted a large scale battle between the armies of Ragnar (Travis Fimmel’s eyes, as piercing as ever) and Rollo (all shirtless, oddly), the climax of which teased a devastating fate for at least one major character! We’ve included that footage below, courtesy of the History channel

Take a look at the full ‘Vikings’ season 2 preview below, and tell us what you most want to see from the 2014 season!