|Liam McIntyre photo by Vanessa Dano and Tom Donato|
Meanwhile, a six-part prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, is set to debut on January 21, 2011, at 10 pm on Starz.
McIntyre takes over the role of the Thracian warrior sold into slavery in the Roman Republic city of Capua from Andy Whitfield, who was forced to leave the show due to health issues.
“Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead Spartacus forward,” comments Albrecht. “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,” Albrecht says.
Spartacus: Blood and Sand also stars John Hannah as Batiatus, Lucy Lawless (of Xena: Warrior Princess fame) as Lucretia, Peter Mensah as Doctore, Manu Bennett as Crixus and Viva Bianca as Ilythia.
New Spartacus McIntyre is currently in New Zealand, getting himself into gladiator shape in order to take on the iconic role. Production on the series is slated to resume by spring 2011.
While Season One ended with Spartacus rising to become the champion of the city, Season Two finds Spartacus and his fellow gladiators leaving Capua and engaged in the massive slave rebellion against Roman society.
Gladiator school in prequel
The prequels jumps even further back in time. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena is a six-part prequel that tells the story of the House of Batiatus gladiator school and the personal, sexual and political maneuverings in Capua five years before Blood and Sand was set.
|I am Spartacus too (at Fan Expo 2010)|
Dustin Clare plays the charismatic and self-destructive gladiator Gannicus. The prequel series adds to the cast Jaime Murray as Capua’s sexy social climber Gaia and Marisa Ramirez as Melitta, a beautiful slave. Jeffrey Thomas plays Batiatus’s father Titus, the traditional and cautious Lanista, head of the Ludus. They join returning cast members John Hannah (Quintus Batiatus), Lucy Lawless (Lucretia), Peter Mensah (Oenomaus, before he becomes Doctore, the gladiator trainer) and Manu Bennett (Crixus).
Starz digital media created a Facebook social media game that became available January 6 as well as a multimedia iPad script app from Starz iTune store that offers episodes and exclusive commentaries about Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena as of January 17.