Last week it was revealed that Starz was in the midst of making a very difficult decision regarding their hit show Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Their star, Andy Whitfield, has been battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma in an attempt to return for a second season of the show, but a recent setback has his doctors recommending another round of aggressive treatments. This forced the network to look at their tough options: delay longer, recast Whitfield, or cancel the show altogether.
It appears that Starz has made their decision, and though it seemed to be the most likely choice, it will take a while for fans to accept it. An official casting call has been sent out, looking for that all-important actor to fill the massive sandals that Whitfield created in the great first season. The notice details that they’re looking for someone in their mid to late 30s who can speak in an authentic British accent, can effectively portray the “smart, intense, and passionate” title role, and who’s able to sign a three-year contract.
At first the option to wait it out sounded like one of the options, but with this news it looks like the only options they were really considering were to recast or cancel the show. This is a little hard to swallow for those of us who had hopes of them doing a season concentrating on another character and seeing how things looked for season 3. Nevertheless, this is a business and recasting is what Starz feels is their best bet. There’s no doubt that as much as this will break the fans’ collective hearts, recasting and getting more Spartacus is a much better option than losing the show completely. It will take time to warm up to whomever they bring in, but over time, viewers will surely warm up to the new face.
It’s worth keeping in mind that Andy Whitfield was completely behind this decision, and for all we know it was his decision to step away so the show could move forward. As reported earlier, Starz has made it very clear that Whitfield will still remain employed on the show in a yet-to-be determined role — a very admirable gesture by the network.
Knowing this now, let your voices be heard: who out there fits the casting description that you’d like to see take on the role of Spartacus?