Starz cast Australian actor Liam McIntyre (HBO’s Pacific) as Spartacus for the second season of the series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Andy Whitfield originated the role during the series’ first season and was forced to bow out of further production due to his ongoing health issues. According to the network, Whitfield gave his consent to the recasting. Production on new episodes of Spartacus: Blood and Sand begin this spring with Spartacus instigating fellow slaves to rebel against Rome. The six-episode prequel series, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena premieres January 21 at 10p on Starz.
It will be tough for anyone to follow Andy Whitfield, and the show won’t be the same without him. Here’s hoping McIntyre pulls it off.
I don’t have high hopes for Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, but I am still looking forward to some schlocky fun this weekend. Maybe it will surprise me. Blood & Sand certainly did. Here’s a trailer:
Starz’ prequel series, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena captures the story of Gannicus, the first gladiator to become Champion of Capua. Australian actor Dustin Clare landed the role as Gannicus; Jaime Murray and Marisa Ramirez were also tapped for top roles in the new series as Gaia and Melitta respectively. As the prequel to the series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Lucy Lawless (Lucretia), John Hannah (Batiatus), Peter Mensah (Oenomaus) and Manu Bennett (Crixus) all reprise their roles from the original series. Andy Whitfield as Spartacus will make a brief appearance and will be part of the show in season two which begins production later this year. Production on Spartacus: Gods of the Arena begins next month and is slated to premiere on Starz in early 2011.
Can’t wait! If you haven’t seen the awesome Spartacus: Blood & Sand yet, check it out on Netflix Instant right away. It’s so much more rich and compelling than the guilty pleasure you might expect…