The Last Kingdom: Why did Christian Hillborg leave The Last Kingdom as Erik?

The Last Kingdom is still going strong on Netflix and the Anglo Saxon series is based on The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell. The series follows the conflict between the Saxons and the Danes, and it sees Uhtred of Bebbenburg (played by Alexander Dreymon) join the plight to unite England as one country. One of the fan-favourite characters in the series was Erik, and fans are keen to know why he left the series.

Why did Christian Hillborg leave The Last Kingdom as Erik?

Erik was one of the main antagonists in the earlier seasons of The Last Kingdom, and he was known to be the brother of Danish warrior Sigefrid (Björn Roger Bengtsson).

He first appeared in the second season of the series, and he is already familiar with Uhtred and his reputation as a ‘Dane Slayer’.

Erik was known to be the most understanding of the two brothers, and he was open to negotiation, whereas his brother preferred to fight things out.

Uhtred and Erik learned to get along as Uhtred decided to spare his life on more than one occasion.

While in Wessex, Erik and his brother captured the future Lady of Mercia, Aethelflaed (Millie Brady), but while she was being held prisoner, Erik fell in love with her.

READ MORE: The Last Kingdom: What happened to Christian Hillborg as Erik?

He would treat her with respect and would let her bathe alone, without being watched by other men, which was the custom at the time.

He later rescued her from an attack by Haesten (Jeppe Beck Laursen), and the pair shared a starlit evening together, telling each other stories.

The pair ended up kissing and fans had hoped their relationship would develop further as part of an interesting plot twist.

However Erik ended up being killed by his brother, after Sigefrid found out of his betrayal. Towards the end of the second season it was suggested Erik could have been the father of one of Aethelflaed’s children.

Erik was always seen by fans as one of the most reasonable characters, and he was definitely the most caring out of the two brothers.

In the books on which the series is based, Erik is stabbed in the chest by his brother, and he only featured in one novel.

With this in mind, the reason for Hillborg’s departure was most likely because the creators were staying true to the source material.

There is a chance they could have veered away from the book and let Erik and Aethelflaed’s relationship continue, but then she would have never been paired with Aethelred (Toby Regbo) or, later, Uhtred.

The star joined the cast of The Last Kingdom in 2017, and at the same time he was already working on a number of other TV series, including Before We Die and Rig 45.

In the following years he took on roles in Hidden: Förstfödd (2019), The Mallorca Files (2019) and Top Dog (2020), so he has been keeping busy since leaving the series.

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In May 2020 he spoke to The Screen Chronicles about his time on The Last Kingdom, and he said he had auditioned for a number of other characters in the show before getting the role of Erik.

Speaking of the connection with his brother Sigefrid, he said: “I guess it was predestined that they both would die. It would be boring to see one of us, you know, in season three or four.

“Of course, character wise, I wouldn’t have created Erik the way I did if Bjorn were not there. I think it was kind of very much team work in developing the characters.”

Fans commented on the YouTube video, sharing their thoughts on Erik’s character, with one saying: “I wish they didn’t kill him off so early!! I loved his character.”

Another said: “I hope we get to see Erik again. He’s precious!! I love how much he can relate to his character and how obvious that is.”

He was six-years-old when he started acting, and he said it was a great way to escape reality, so he started taking theatre classes.

Hillborg started off in the world of theatre, and he was also an avid dancer. He said working as an international film star was never really the plan, which may shock some of his followers.

The star is on Instagram and he has shared a number of photos of himself as Erik over the years, along with his on-screen brother.

One fan said: “Seriously why did your character have to die. I wanted you both to live happily ever after!!”

Viewers felt Erik’s involvement with Aethelflaed also helped develop her character, and they have named the scenes with Aethelflaed as some of the best of the series.

Another fan said: “Loved your character! Was very upset when you were killed.”

The Last Kingdom is on Netflix now