With its addictive combination of nudity, sex, action and plots even thicker than the blood spurting in its gladiatorial battles, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" was a big hit for Starz when it premiered in 2010. But when Andy Whitfield, who played the title role, was stricken with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the prequel miniseries "Gods of the Arena" was made in the interim in the hope that he'd recover. Tragically, Whitfield succumbed to the disease last September, and the role was recast with Liam McIntyre. "Spartacus Vengeance" premieres Jan. 27, with Spartacus spearheading a slave rebellion -- and Roman troops under Gaius Claudius Glaber the man responsible for Spartacus' wife's death -- on a mission to crush it.
"It's not an easy journey, both interacting with the other members of the group and for him personally, a man that never really wanted this mantle," said creator/writer Steven S. DeKnight during promotion for the series that included a Hollywood premiere, noting that the reluctant hero transitions "from a more singular individual to, by the end, a leader of men, and that journey is very difficult."(Read more...)