'Vikings' Season 4: Series Creator Explains Massive Time Jump, Ragnar Returns With 'A Purpose' [VIDEO]

My, how things have changed in Kattegat. Vikings introduced us to Ragnar as a young farmer with unquenchable wanderlust, and now, as time flies by in the North, the warrior's sons have grown into young adults and he's become the prodigal King.

Vikings ended its midseason finale with a massive time jump, one shocking return, and a host of characters who have suddenly aged into far bigger roles. In the wake of "The Last Ship," series creator Michael Hirst broke down those missing years, a growing cast, and Ragnar's (Travis Fimmel) shocking return.

"I always anticipated the time jump," Hirst told Entertainment Weekly, explaining that the story has moved forward by about six to eight years. "It was inevitable, because I wanted the sons to grow up, and I wanted them to become active young men. I wanted to change it up when Ragnar is at his lowest, you know? That's the end of a big part of Ragnar's story."

Each of Ragnar's sons--Bjorn, Ivar, Sigurd, Hvitserk and Ubbe--have drastically different opinions of their absente father. While the questions of leadership bounce around (Asluag is currently the reigning Queen), Fimmel's character knows that there are many Norsemen who would like to run a sword through him as soon as he walked into the now bustling city. He, however, has one mission he still needs to complete--exacting revenge for the loss of his Wessex settlement.

"Wherever he was, in whatever realm he was, this thing keeps festering, and he kind of knows that his sons probably will have learned what has happened, so he has to deal with that," Hirst teased, according to TV Insider. "It was the time he chose to come down from the mountain just to confront all these issues. And it's typical of Ragnar that he could have ignored it, he could have just stayed away, but he's a kind of honest guy."

Do you think Ragnar will be able to step in after all these years and accomplish his goal? Find out when Vikings returns to the History Channel later this year.

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