If fans of the Crawley clan can’t wait for Downton Abbey to return for its final season next year, hopefully The Last Kingdom can hold them over until January. The U.K. drama’s executive producers will debut The Last Kingdom, an eight-part historical series that follows the fueding Saxons and Danes as England starts to form in 9 A.D., in October.
Kingdom combines family tension, war, and adventure as outsider Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon, American Horror Story) tries to understand where he fits in as neither a Saxon nor a Dane during England’s early days. Based on the book series The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell, the period drama might sound similar to others within its genre, but director Nick Murphy promises Kingdom’s individuality.
“It’ll stack up against them because I think it’s so different,” Murphy tells EW. “The reason I said yes [to the project] was because they said I would be allowed to make it feel different. At no state in this production did anybody say ‘Hey can you please make do it like this because Game of Thrones did it?’ I know it’s a busy market out there. I’m confident that we will feel in our own territory.”
And the British director ensures authenticity to the period, which means no dragons or people eating goose legs. “I banned any goose legs, I banned any people talking in silly voices because it’s old,” Murphy explains. “You can have somebody walk in and say ‘Good morning,’ and they did it the way you and I do it today because why wouldn’t they? They wouldn’t walk in and say, ‘Morning, sire!’”
Murphy’s desire for realism can be seen in Last Kingdom’s opening credits, exclusively streaming below. “What mattered to me most was the credits,” he says. “I didn’t want them to feel like they came from our world. We worked very, very hard to make sure the rest of the drama feels completely buried in the period, so I said ‘Okay, okay, I want them to feel like they exist within the technology available of the day.’ “
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The style of the opening credits, which features sketch drawings, a dark blue palette, and orange flames, will be seen throughout Last Kingdom’s eight episodes, as will the intense musical style. Composer John Lunn teamed up with Faroese singer Eivør.
“We made a collective decision very early on that the music for The Last Kingdom would not be orchestral and there was a real desire to produce something different and original,” Lunn says.
To do that, Lunn sought out Eivør, a dynamic artist with over a dozen albums spanning rock, jazz, pop, and European classical music. “I was very fascinated by the unique soundscape he [Lunn] had created and singing on top of it felt in a way like coming home,” Eivør says. “I love that he is using only analogue synths and real drums.”
Get a taste of what’s to expect from Lunn and Eivør’s collaboration and The Last Kingdom with the show’s opening credits, exclusively on EW:
The Last Kingdom premieres Oct. 10 at 10 p.m. ET on BBC America.