It’s no secret that Starz has a lot of faith in their original series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Before the show’s first season even began, a second season had already been ordered; but unfortunately, some difficult complications arose when the show’s star Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Whitfield is expected to make a full recovery, and he’ll even be able to play a small part in this prequel, but the show’s second season is in the midst of a significant delay due to the illness. Instead of wait their star’s return to health, Starz has decided that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to use the time to film a 6-part prequel series to the show. This prequel will begin filming this summer in New Zealand, and is expected to air in January.
The prequel will center around Batiatus (John Hannah) and Lucretia (Lucy Lawless), two crucial characters of the show, and the establishment of the House of Batiatus and the gladiator Champions that were made there.
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht had this to say about the announcement:
The prequel story maintains the excitement and entertainment value of the first season of ‘Spartacus,’ giving audiences the engaging experience they’ve come to expect.
Fortunately, Andy is responding to his treatments, and will be able to be part of this prequel in a limited capacity. As soon as he’s able, we look forward to continuing the Spartacus story.
I personally gave Spartacus a chance simply because I’m a sucker for anything from other periods in time — specifically ones that delve into the brutal times of swords and shields and epics battles. The first episode was decent, but it was packed with cheesy special effects and reminded me way too much of a Gladiator/300 hybrid to be impressive. To my surprise, however, by the fourth episode I was a believer, and the show has gone on to become one of my favorites.