EXCLUSIVE: While Starz‘s drama Spartacus is heading into its final chapter with the upcoming Season 3, Spartacus: War Of The Damned, Starz may not be ready to close the book on the successful franchise. I’ve learned that there is talk about a potential Spartacus spinoff series centered on Roman leader Gaius Julius Caesar. The spinoff idea, which is in the nascent stages, is being shepherded by Spartacus executive producer Robert Tapert. Spartacus was the brain child of Tapert and creator/executive producer Steven DeKnight, who is busy with another project, the hot sci-fi drama Incursion, which is on fast-track development at Starz.
Caesar is being introduced on the upcoming third and final season of Spartacus, which premieres January 25. The character, played by Australian actor Todd Lasance, is adding star power and a formidable new nemesis for the famous gladiator despite the fact there is no hard evidence that Caesar actually was involved in the campaign to put down the Spartacus-led slave rebellion, as he is on the show. Spartacus: War Of The Damned could serve as a nice starting-off point for a spinoff as it features a young Caesar who is yet to begin his ascent toward ruling the Roman state.
Related: Starz’s ‘Spartacus’ To End Run After Third Season
Spartacus, Starz’s biggest original series with more than 6 million viewers tuning in for each episode on various platforms, already spawned a successful prequel limited series, Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena. The series also was able to overcome the loss of its original star, Andy Whitfield, who died of cancer, and continued for two more seasons with Liam McIntyre in the title role.
At the top of Starz’s portion of the TCA summer press tour, the network’s president and CEO was asked about the decision to end the costume drama Spartacus after the upcoming third season. Albrecht said he joined Starz when the network was editing the first season of the show. “When I saw the ending of the first season, I said: ‘Uh-oh’, Spartacus just exited the franchise; it exited the Upstairs, Downstairs aspect of gladiators and Romans living together”. With the gladiators taking to the hills and the Romans in town, “we had to tell two distinct stories, and that is never the ultimate way to do a TV series”, Albrecht said. The series also had to deal with the departure of beloved original star Andy Whitfield. “Ultimately, rather than trying to string the story with one more argument, one more villain showing up, we decided to follow the historic trajectory and bring Spartacus’ story to an end. Better leave viewers wanting more than diminish the overall impact of the franchise”.
Spartacus creator Steven S. DeKnight, who is under an overall deal at Starz, is already working on his next project for the pay cable network. “Steven just returned from Hawaii where he shot ‘proof of concept’ for a show he’s developed”, Albrecht said. That show is sci-fi drama Incursion, which Albrecht described as “Band of Brothers meets Halo” and involves a lot of creatures.
Albrecht also gave an update on Starz’s upcoming series. Da Vinci’s Demons, which is currently in production, is eyed for the end of first quarter or second quarter of 2013. The series stars Tom Riley as young Leonardo Da Vinci. The Michael Bay-produced pirate drama Black Sails is currently in pre-production in South Africa where standing sets are being erected with the goal to also build one or two boats. The series is looking at a launch in early 2014, possibly inheriting the Spartacus slot. Read More »
The upcoming third season of Starz’s flagship series Spartacus will be its last. The pay cable network also has set the title for the upcoming final season, Spartacus: War Of The Damned. It will premiere in January … Read More »
Emmy voters received official ballots in the mail today with instructions that they must be returned by 5 PM on June 28. However, voting can’t actually take place until ballot listings are posted at a secure Emmy address online after … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Kirk Douglas will join Spartacus: Vengeance creator-producer Steven S. DeKnight and star Liam McIntyre at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on May 31 to discuss the cultural impact of Spartacus then and now. … Read More »
Although Starz appears to be off the market for now, CEO Chris Albrecht told investors today that his channel should still be in the catbird seat as digital media grow. But “it will take money” to produce the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jai Courtney, who starred in the first season of the Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, has landed a lead in One Shot, Paramount’s Christopher McQuarrie-directed drama based on the Lee Child-penned Jack Reacher novel series. In One Shot, … Read More »
Starz will pay tribute to former Spartacus star Andy Whitfield, who died of cancer last Sunday. The tribute, which will air this Sunday at 9 PM, will include five episodes of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, including the premiere and finale … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Spartacus will not be the only recast role on the second season of Starz’s flagship series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I hear Lesley-Ann Brandt, who played Naevia, body slave to Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) and lover of Crixus (Manu Bennett) … Read More »
It looks like with Spartacus, Starz not only has a breakout series on its hands but also a solid franchise. On Friday night, the premiere episode of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, a prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand, drew … Read More »
The search for a replacement of cancer-stricken Spartacus star Andy Whitfield is over. Australian actor Liam McIntyre has been named the new star of the Starz drama series, which became a breakout hit for the pay cable channel when it first launched a year ago. McIntyre was one of 3 actors who were flown to New Zealand to audition in November. He was the only one that remained in consideration after the test while the network continued to see other candidates. Starz brass reportedly liked his acting abilities but he was asked to bulk up his thin frame in order to pass off as a believable gladiator. In announcing McIntyre’s casting, Starz said he “has excelled at a grueling and rigorous audition process to claim the title role in the second season” of Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The series’ prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, debuts on Friday. Here is more from the network’s release:
McIntyre takes over the role of the Thracian warrior sold into slavery in the Roman Republic city of Capua – where he rises to become the champion of the city – before leading the slave revolt that ended Season 1. The part was played in the first season of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” by Andy Whitfield, who was forced to leave the show in order due to health issues. Whitfield gave his blessing to the recasting.
“Since no one can really replace Andy, we realized that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead ‘Spartacus’ forward,” Straz’s CEO Chris Albrecht notes. “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.”
Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: With … Read More »
Spartacus: Blood and Sand will continue. Ending months of speculation, Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht confirmed that the costume drama will proceed with Season 2. “We are officially going ahead with the long planned but unfortunately delayed second season of Spartacus,” he said at the opening of Starz’s TCA … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE THURSDAY UPDATE: I hear that none of the three actors who screen tested for the Spartacus lead this week, Stephen Amell, Aiden Turner and Liam McIntyre, got the role. However, Starz is still holding onto McIntyre, the Australian, while the other two have been released. He may still get to be the next Spartacus, succeeding the ailing Andy Whitfield. But I hear Starz brass is considering all options for its hit series, including the possibility of ending it or bringing in someone else for the lead. Read More »
Dustin Clare, a virtual unknown in the U.S., but a popular TV actor in his native Australia, has landed the lead in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Starz’s six-part prequel to hit series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Jaime Murray and Marisa … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Starz has decided not to renew comedy series Party Down and Gravity. I hear the pay cable network may make the announcement later today. Both shows were developed and launched by Starz’s previous regime, but new president and CEO Chris … Read More »