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Some might consider this good news, while I’m sure plenty of others will still wish that there were no reason to recast Spartacus in the popular Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand but word is out that the deal is done and Starz has a new leading man to fill Andy Whitfield’s shoes.
Whitfield, who played Spartacus in the first season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand had to drop out of the role due to his ongoing struggle with cancer. Starz has since decided to move forward with the production of Season 2 and recast the titular role as opposed to focusing the story on a different character.
Australian actor Liam McIntyre was among the mentioned actors up for the role (as well as Prison Break’s Dominic Purcell.) Today Starz announced that McIntyre was officially cast in the role.
“Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead ‘Spartacus’ forward,” Starz, LLC, President and CEO Chris Albrech noted, when making the announcement. “It was important to us to have Andy endorse the idea of recasting this part, which he did in the same heroic manner that he’s dealt with his whole ordeal. And that, coupled with our fortune in finding a young actor with the gladiator credentials and the acting ability of Liam, makes it easier for us to keep this hit franchise going.”
McIntyre appeared in Aussie series Neighbours and Rush and recently appeared in HBO’s mini-series The Pacific.
The prequel season Spartacus: Gods of the Arena will premiere this Friday night. Season 2 of Spartacus, which will follow Spartacus and the other surviving gladiators out of Capua and headed toward a “massive slave rebellion against Roman society,” will go into production this spring.
I know I’m not alone in wishing Andy Whitfield were healthy and well enough to return to the role but I’m glad to see the series will be moving forward and that there’s a new leading man to take over where Andy left off. In the meantime, our thoughts continue to go out to Whitfield that he makes a full recovery.