"Spartacus" creator Steven S. DeKnight once indicated that his historically inspired action series on Starz could potentially run for several years beyond the second season. But apparently that is no longer the plan.
DeKnight and Starz have jointly announced that the upcoming third season, "Spartacus: War of the Damned" will be the end of the series as Spartacus' story comes to its bloody and tragic conclusion.
“It was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for my partners and I,” said DeKnight in a statement. “Yet, in the end, the story was best served by rolling all of the remaining action and drama of Spartacus’ journey into one stunningly epic season that will be extremely satisfying for everyone who’s been along for the ride.”
“'Spartacus' is a landmark series for the network which has enthralled millions of viewers and fans around the world,” added Starz CEO Chris Albrecht. “We are in agreement with our partners in the decision to conclude the story after 'War of the Damned,' as we believe it is the best way to maintain the integrity of the series and secure its legacy.”
"Spartacus: War of the Damned" is currently in production down in New Zealand as Liam McIntyre starts his second season in the title role after the demise of Andy Whitfield; the actor who originated the TV incarnation in "Spartacus: Blood and Sand." Cast members Manu Bennett, Dustin Clare, Dan Feuerriegel, Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Ellen Hollman will also return for the third season alongside new cast members Simon Merrells as Marcus Crassus, Anna Hutchison as Laeta and Todd Lasance as Gaius Julius Caesar.
When the third season begins, Spartacus' army of former slaves and gladiators will have grown to include 30,000 warriors as they amass several military victories over their Roman oppressors. However, as with the historical Spartacus' forces during the Third Servile War, fortune will ultimately turn against them.
Starz has also confirmed that "Spartacus: War of the Damned" will debut in January 2013.