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Starz Might Re-Cast Andy Whitfield In ‘Spartacus: Blood And Sand’; Cancellation Possible?
The Movie God   |  @   |  

Nothing about this story sounds like good news for fans of the hit Starz show, Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

It’s being reported that the network has begun reaching out to various casting directors in an attempt to see if they can find someone that could replace star Andy Whitfield on the show.

Whitfield, for those who don’t yet know, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma a while back, which delayed production on season 2, understandably. While waiting for their star to make a full recovery, Starz decided to make a 6-part prequel series this past summer, in which Whitfield, who seemed to be on the path to recovery, was set to make a small appearance. The prequel series is set to air in January, but it’s unclear whether said small appearance was still included or not.

Sadly, Mr. Whitfield has had an unexpected turn for the worst, and now requires a second aggressive treatment for his sickness, meaning even more of a delay. As much as every cast, crew, and executive involved in this show wants the actor to return, it’s also understandable that this is a business and the longer the delay is, the more damage it could do to the popularity of this, one of the network’s most successful series.

Whitfield himself is even said to be behind getting the show moving again, even if it requires re-casting his character. And if this difficult decision is made, Starz has already made it very clear that they intend to keep Whitfield employed with them and have him working on the show in some aspect.

At the moment, it looks like Starz has a few options here as well. It would be risky, but they could decide to cast someone in a different role, to become another central figure to build the show around. Then there’s the worst case scenario option: cancel Spartacus: Blood and Sand all together and not risk re-casting. Lastly, they could just decide to wait as long as it takes to get Whitfield healthy and back in action. Sources say that a decision is expected to be made in the next eight weeks.

As a huge fan of the show, I really don’t like the idea of re-casting. Whitfield was too good and too pivotal to find a completely different person to step into the role. If I had a vote in the matter, I’d say wait as long as they need to wait for the actor to be given his clean bill of health, and then move forward. Unfortunately, a lot of workers are involved here, and it’s really hard for them to accept new jobs while unsure of the future of Spartacus.

I do also like the idea of bringing in a new actor as an important character and build something around them. But instead of turning it into the main storyline, maybe do an entire season dedicated to this character as a side storyline. By the time that’s completed, hopefully, Andy Whitfield would be healthy as ever and then they could jump into season 3, merging the storylines of their first two seasons together. If the delay is as long as it seems to be looking, this idea makes the most sense, but I’m not familiar with the outlines they have in place and the current state of the production, and this might not be something that’s doable for them.

Obviously, the most important thing here is that Whitfield makes a full recovery. Anything other than that is not important in comparison. Nevertheless, Starz has some hard decisions to make, and I for one really hope that whatever they do, the actor will be able to return when he’s well enough to.

If you’re a fan of the show, what would you like to see happen? Would you be willing to wait as long as it takes, or are you so itchy for more Spartacus that you’d be okay with a new actor in the role? Is there another option you think would work best?

[Source: The Live Feed]


  1. I love this show. I was hoping the prequel would help but now that Whitfield needs more time, how about spending some time with the other characters. Not sure how much time the prequel will look into the past of the other characters, but I would still watch that while we wait for Whitfield to get healthy again. I wish him much luck on his recovery.

    Comment by Jill — September 28, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

  2. I think Starz should wait for Andy Whitfield to make a full recovery. He was brilliant in the role and I don’t think he would be easy to replace. When Lucy Lawless broke her pelvis whilst Xena was still being filmed, the producers/writers used a plot device to explain her absence in order to give her chance to recover. Maybe, especially as it was Rob Tapert who managed that so skillfully with Xena, the same could be done with Spartacus. The most important thing is that Andy Whitfield makes a full and speedy recovery and I wish him all the best

    Comment by Claire — September 28, 2010 @ 6:32 pm

  3. Nobody can replace Andy – he’s too good and perfect for his role. Do another story around it until Andy comes back or you will loose the momentum. They said so themselves, Andy IS Spartacus…

    Comment by Jane — September 28, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

  4. I’m a huge fan of this program. Everything about it is excellent: the acting, directing, script, costumes, casting, photgrapy, editing and staging. My compliments to the crew.

    Personally, however, I won’t be watching any prequel, and I would prefer to wait for Mr. Whitfield’s return.

    Don’t know whether he will ever see this, but if he does, Good Health and God Speed Sir.

    Comment by Gary @ Austin, Texas — September 28, 2010 @ 7:07 pm

  5. Andy Whitfield IS Spartacus…there is no show without him, and hopefully Starz will come to the same realization and drop the search. I would rather see the series canceled than watch another actor try fill Andy’s shoes.

    Andy – God Speed in your war with cancer. You could not play one of the worlds greatest warriors as well as you have, if that warrior did not already reside with in you. You can beat this!

    Comment by AKG — September 28, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

  6. Hey there,
    I just started watching the show when it came on DVD. I love this show…I can’t wait until the prequel in Jan. I cant image watcing this show and not have Andy Whitfield as Spartacus. He is the only Spartacus to us fans….I think we should focus on another character…my suggestion maybe the character of Peter Mensah (Doctore)and what happened to him before he was to be a gladiator. Then hopefully when season 3 starts hopefully Andy will be 100% recovered. I will be praying for him and his family for a great and speedy recovery God Bless You!

    Comment by Rachel — September 28, 2010 @ 10:22 pm

  7. Andy is an important aspect for this show and re-casting him would definitely leave a massive dent for the show’s popularity. Without him, there is no Spartacus. As it is important for the show to continue… why not turn the attention of the storyline to Varro’s character or Crixus or even Iliythia’s character? Varro’s character was very short lived and it would be an honor to watch him come back to life while Andy is recovering from his treatment. To think of re-casting Andy’s character is an outrage. The Starz directors, producers, and the rest of the crew members for Spartacus are very creative and I hope they will find an alternative way to keep the show alive and the audiences intrigued. Don’t you agree???

    Comment by Hanna — September 28, 2010 @ 10:56 pm

  8. Recasting is the only option. People act like his recovery is certain. It is not. He didn’t break a leg (or a pelvis) and there is no timetable for his healing. His aggressive treatment will last a year and his recovery from that horrible treatment will last at least another full year.

    At that point they will have lost EVERYONE from the show, from the writers to the amazing ensemble cast.

    So I, for one, am willing to accept the bitter pill that we’ve all been fed and give my loyalty and trust to Starz. They’ve been beyond loyal to Andy Whitfield through all this. It’s time we, as a fan base, return the favor.

    Comment by Sam — September 29, 2010 @ 1:44 am

  9. I will wait as long as it takes Andy Whitfield to recover. No one could take his place. He IS Spartacus. Period.

    Comment by Nancy — September 29, 2010 @ 2:26 am

  10. Dude, very well put- in every aspect. Ultimately, Andy is the man. Bring on the side stories and hope for a full recovery!

    Comment by Wes — September 29, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  11. I’ll wait as long as it takes for Andy Whitfield to recover. But in the mean time doing back story on some of the other characters is a good idea. I would tune in to that also because the other gladiators could have some really interesting back grounds.

    Comment by Lisa — September 29, 2010 @ 11:00 am

  12. While Andy is recovering, it would be great to do a season on Crixus’ story. This would make for an easy merge when Andy is able to resume his role as Spartacus. I agree. Andy IS Spartacus. This will, without a doubt, become his signature role. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Andy. We miss you.

    Comment by Katy — September 29, 2010 @ 11:02 am

  13. I like the idea of new character becoming a pivotal figure for season 2 and then (hopefully) Andy can rejoin the show for Season 3.

    But thinking of another actor replacing Andy – well, that’s doomed to failure, since only Andy is the “real” Spartacus.

    Andy we miss you! Get well soon!

    Comment by Loretta — September 29, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

  14. Andy isn’t even the only actor to have played Spartacus.

    They’ll recast. The new guy will do great. The show will go on.

    And Andy will heal and return to take over the Bond franchise.

    Comment by Sam — September 29, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

  15. I will wait as long as it takes for Andy to get well and come back to Spartacus.

    Comment by sharon — September 29, 2010 @ 10:57 pm

  16. I’m definitely a fan of SPARTACUS, but in this thread I seem to be in the minority about recasting. I say — find another worthy actor for the role of our beloved Thracian gladiator and continue with the epic tale! I’m a fan of the show and the story, not of any single casting choice.

    Waiting for Andy Whitfield to become available at some indefinite future date just doesn’t sound like a viable option. It’s very, very unlikely that any network would resume a series after putting it on hold for a year or more — and unfortunately, cancer is cancer, so there’s no guarantee that Whitfield ever will be available again for such a physically demanding role.

    And even if Whitfield could come back in a year or two, what about all the other actors? For example, would you be happy about recasting Lucretia, or losing her character altogether? I wouldn’t.

    The casting director of SPARTACUS did an excellent job of finding appropriate actors throughout Season 1. Apart from such obvious stars as Lucy Lawless and Peter Mensah, we got to see talented unknowns like Jai Courtney, Viva Bianca, and yes, Andy Whitfield, who was basically a fashion model who did some acting, before he landed SPARTACUS.

    So I trust the show’s creators to find a good replacement for him — maybe even somebody who not only acts well, but also is physically convincing in the role a champion gladiator. Not that I’m finding fault with Whitfield, or that I’m happy to see him go. Far from it. I just want Sword & Sandal to remain a viable TV genre, and recasting seems the best shot at that target.

    Comment by Bucky — September 30, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

  17. I’d watch the show even if they re-cast the guy, but that’s the very last option I would choose. My preference is for them to go to season 2 centered on a different main character as the article mentioned.

    Delaying too long may kill the momentum, and everyone else involved deserves to get paid so that they won’t leave the show. It shouldn’t be a prequel though. Just move the story along in a different direction while Andy recovers, and then merge the stories together.

    Comment by Riki — October 3, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

  18. I think, I will not watch it without Andy. I wish him to recover soon.

    Comment by gülsüm — October 21, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  19. Andy is Spartacus their is no one that could ever take his place. I say we have been waiting for spartacus all this time we can wait longer till he gets better and recovers. Andy deserves it and I think 95 percent of his fans agree and are sticking by him to not be replaced.They will be making a hudge mistake if they try to replace andy because their will be a hell of alot of people not watching the show anymore if they replace andy then people that are watching the prayers are with you andy get better and beat the cancer and come back were you belong as spartacus. All us true fans love you take care of your self and get strong again, we will be waiting for you no matter how long it takes.

    Comment by Lisa R — October 22, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  20. i agree with Katy – why not make season 2 the entire backstory of Crixus, and Varro. Cover Varro’s gambling past, and so much rich ground there for Crixus(although this might be covered in the prequel).
    On the other hand, there is only so much you can prequel – A new character would be ok but for christ’s sake dont try and make him become the main character for the rest of the series.

    There is absolutely no way to replace Andy, especially after such an incredible season 1.

    Comment by john kastelein — October 26, 2010 @ 10:56 am

  21. Wait for Andy, replacing him would be a mistake, he is Spartacus and i for one can’t see anyone else in that role, go with another storyline in the meantime. get better Andy.

    Comment by Cheryl F — November 4, 2010 @ 11:14 pm

  22. There is not a show with out Andy. I hope you have a good recovery. Andy your the MAN

    Comment by James H — November 23, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

  23. Whitfield was perfect for this role. Delay season two until he recovers or do prequels with crixus and others if you can. BUT if this goes forward without Whitfield I will still watch – this show is AWESOME

    Comment by Jojo — November 28, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

  24. I don’t think that there is Spartacus without Andy Whitfield. All the fans have gotten used to seeing him be Spartacus, and replacing him would be a huge blow and disappointment to the show. I think that starz need to focus on another character like Crixus until Andy recovers. I hope Andy a happy recovery and wish to see him soon.

    Comment by Karl John — December 19, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

  25. I am not one who ever is involved in series or shows. But to be honest Spartacus was amazing and I would love to watch more of it with Andy in it. Otherwise, the show will lose a lot of what it has. Make a prequel or whatever and hopefully Andy will have time to get back in it. Hope he gets better.

    Comment by jordan — January 25, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

  26. Cory and I decided that if there were to be a third season without my main man Whitty, it should be about The romans and build the enemy’s background. This way when Andy returns we can enjoy watching him get revenge even more due to our now GREAT HATRED for the butthead roman guy. Maybe even make it another mini series.Other then that…If theres no whitfeild theres no john and cory…thank you

    Comment by Costanza,Cardini — February 12, 2011 @ 9:21 am

  27. Cory and I think Starz should do a half season or full season of Animaus in his prime….When he fought theocoles.He is a bamf and i would enjoy watching him fight until Spartacus returns.

    Comment by Costanza,Cardini — February 12, 2011 @ 9:24 am

  28. WAIT FOR ANDYand bring on the side stories. i wish him much luck and speedy recovery

    Comment by Timspp — April 3, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

  29. WAIT FOR ANDYand bring on the side stories. i wish him much luck and speedy recovery

    Comment by Timspp — April 3, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

  30. Spartacus Without Andy is no longer Spartacus

    Comment by Spartacus Fan — May 9, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

  31. Spartacus Without Andy is no longer Spartacus

    Comment by Spartacus Fan — May 9, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

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