Valhalla To Rise Again In Toyko

Nicolas Winding Refn's one-eyed monolith heads east

Valhalla Rising

Existentially troubled loner who's not exactly a chatterbox heads to Japan for combat and maybe more? Nope, not Wolverine but Valhalla Rising 2, a sequel to Nicolas Winding Refn's 2009 Viking odyssey the Dane has mooted in an interview with the fine people over at The Playlist.

Winding Refn revealed that the sequel-of-sorts to his 2008 opus would reunite him with Mads Mikkelsen, send his mono-peepered monolith to Tokyo. "I talked about revisiting the [One-Eye] character from Valhalla Rising again to kind of complete... because there’s a similarity between Valhalla Rising, Drive and Only God Forgives. But in a way I had this idea of Mads going back to the origins of this character. But make the movie in Tokyo.”

First thoughts? Wow. Second impressions? How?! Valhalla Rising was, in the words of Empire's review, "a slow, reflective film that builds to transcedence", but crucially does so in a pre-medieval world of Vikings, brutality and longboat trips to the Americas. Then again, Winding Refn pitched his trippy odyssey as a sci-fi when he talked us through an on-set gallery back in 2008, which allows scope for shifts in time period and location. The character, like Driver and Only God Forgives' protagonist, was designed as a timeless monolith, which should demystify Winding Refn's hint that the sequel will be "about the future".

"A lot of the influences of One-Eye came out of Snake Plissken," he explained of his mute protagonist. "One-Eye was very much built around all mythological heroes from the gunslinger to the samurai. He's a spirit, he comes from nature: he starts as a slave in a cage and he escapes and becomes a warrior."

Winding Refn's latest, Only God Forgives, is another stylish, violent, Asian-set doozy. It's in cinemas on August 2 and you can read all about it in the latest issue of Empire, on sale on Thursday.