Fans are anxiously awaiting the upcoming fifth season of “Vikings”, and the History channel had some phenomenal news to announce on Tuesday by revealing the show has been picked up for a 20-episode sixth season.

Season five of “Vikings” will kick off with a two-part premiere on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on History, followed by eight episodes airing each Wednesday after that. The second half of the season is scheduled to air in 2018.

Meanwhile, production of the sixth season is slated to begin this fall in Ireland, and fans of shieldmaiden Lagertha will be in for a special treat with news that Canadian-born star Katheryn Winnick will go behind the camera to make her directorial debut with a season-six episode.

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“It has been my pleasure and my privilege to work with History and our partner MGM over five seasons and 69 episodes of ‘Vikings.’ Now we are ready to begin production of a 20 episode season six that will deliver a huge and unexpected revelation to our audience,” said Michael Hirst, the show’s creator and executive producer. “There are many reasons why I love this show, not least for the commitment and creativity of everyone involved in making it, but perhaps even more important is the spirit that drives this production — one of the happiest, most collaborative and most authentic productions I have ever been involved with. And so we sail on.”

“‘Vikings’ has creatively sailed to monumental lengths,” added Eli Lehrer, History’s executive vice-president of programming. “The series has evolved from early raids in England, to the heart-stopping death of Ragnar Lothbrok, to the fierce battles of the Great Heathen Army, and now we’ll see the sons of Ragnar exploring and conquering the known world. Michael Hirst has only scratched the surface of his epic saga. We look forward to continuing our partnership with one of the greatest writers in this era of Peak TV and entertaining our viewers with 40 new episodes over the next two seasons.”

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Season five will see the show carve out new terrain and introduce a key new character: warrior-bishop Heahmund (played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, “The Tudors”), who will play a crucial role this season.

In an interview with ET Canada earlier this year, the actor revealed that “Vikings” is “a very tough shoot, which is why it looks so realistic. If you think that somebody is cold, if you think somebody is hurt, if you think somebody is bruised up — it’s because they are!”

You can catch the two-hour premiere of “Vikings” on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on History; you can also watch full episodes of season four online.