Spartacus Prequel 'Gods of the Arena' Kicks Off January 21st

Spartacus Prequel ‘Gods of the Arena’ Kicks Off January 21st

It’s no mystery that we here at The Flickcast offices are huge fans of the Starz original series, Spartacus. Having followed the original season, Blood and Sand, as well as keeping tabs on titular character actor Andy Whitfield’s ongoing battle with a recurrence of cancer, we eagerly awaited the dynamic show’s return for its second season. Well, it’s almost here, as the 2nd season, in prequel form, is set to air on Starz January 21st at 10PM EST/PST, so be sure to set your DVR.

The events of the prequel to Blood and Sand occur 5 years prior and was filmed last year without Whitfield. With only a shortened six-episode season, Gods of the Arena tells the story of the original Champion of the House of Batiatus, Gannicus whose skill with a sword is matched only by his thirst for wine and women. Check out the full official synopsis of the new season after the jump.

These are the times a young Batiatus has been waiting for. Poised to overthrow his father and take control, he’ll freely betray anyone to ensure his gladiators are in the highest demand. And he’ll have his loyal and calculating wife Lucretia by his side for every underhanded scheme, drawing on the brazen talents of her seductive friend Gaia when it counts. Together, they will stop at nothing to deceive the masses, seize power, and bleed Capua dry in this audacious prequel to “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.”

Joining original cast members John Hannah and Lucy Lawless are new-comers Dustin Clare (“Underbelly”) as Gannicus, Jaime Murray (“Hu$tle”) as Gaia and Marisa Ramirez (“General Hospital”) as Melitta. Fan faves from last season, characters like Ashur (Nick Tarabay), Crixus (Manu Bennett) and Doctore (Peter Mensah) will also feature prominantly in ‘Gods of the Arena.’ Viewers will learn how these men came to be part of Batiatus’ ludus, or gladiator school, and the roots of Batiatus’ fierce ambitions will be explored as well.

In a bit of bad news, producers of the show made the tough decision to recast the role of Spartacus. With Andy Whitfield’s health at risk, and the actor’s own blessing to let the show continue without him, there are certainly going to be some big questions going forward as to who might be able to take Andy’s place as Spartacus.

Last week, Starz president Chris Albrecht told journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour that the network had at long last decided to move forward with a second full season (or third, depending on if you count the prequel as season two) of Spartacus. In an interview later that same day, Albrecht said a new lead actor for the drama would be announced in “weeks” and the second full season of Spartacus would probably arrive in early 2012.