Welp, Spartacus fans, I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some very bad news for ya. The good news is that Starz has released a lot of details about and some promo stuff for the forthcoming new season of Spartacus. The bad news is that Starz has officially confirmed that the coming new season of the show will be the last. Boo. Click below to get your first look at the poster artwork and promo video for the new season of Spartacus, titled War of the Damned, and learn more about the series end.
Spartacus’ final battle is coming sooner than you think. Starz is set to announce that the next season of its historical drama Spartacus will mark the show’s final outing. The upside: Creator Steven S. DeKnight promises the remaining episodes will be spectacular. “This season is bigger than anything we’ve attempted,” DeKnight says. “The scope and scale is just amazing. We’re dealing with massive battles between thousands of people. We hope to leave people feel satisfied.” DeKnight says he’s been 90 percent certain for months that the upcoming third season — subtitled “War of the Damned” — would be the last for Spartacus. Creatively, the writer-producer assures that the timing will result in a strong tale. The historical foundation for the rebel leader’s journey, he says, lends itself to wrapping up the show sooner rather than later. “Looking at the story in the history books, it’s wave after wave of Roman senators going after Spartacus who are defeated until [Roman general Marcus Crassus] comes in,” DeKnight says. “So let’s pick out the most interesting moments in this struggle and lay out a clear narrative for Spartacus and his rebellion. I wanted to lay out a strong forward narrative with a strong antagonist.” Spartacus has had a wild and difficult run since it launched on Starz two years ago. The show’s first season was a phenomenon. Its violent comic-book imagery may have been inspired by the hit film 300, but Spartacus‘ operatic computer-assisted visual style and profanely quotable Shakespean-esque dialogue quickly established the show as singularly unique. Ratings started modest, then climbed with nearly every episode, eventually hitting about 6 million viewers when including all encore airings and viewing platforms. Tragedy struck after the first season when the show’s breakout star Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Pre-production on season two was halted. A short-order prequel sans Whitfield, Gods of the Arena, kept the show functioning while producers and the network hoped for the actor’s recovery. Eventually, the role of Spartacus was turned over to newcomer Liam McIntyre, who led the show’s recent second season. “This show has always been a challenge,” DeKnight says. “I’m particularly thankful to Starz. Any other network, if the show’s lead actor had fallen ill and eventually passed away, they would have canceled the show. Starz felt like we owed it to the audience and to Andy to finish the tale” … Spartacus will leave behind a legacy of having stretched the boundaries of series television, between expanding the use of green-screen technology (the show has never shot one frame outdoors) and proving hard-R sex and violence can draw an audience when mixed with compelling storytelling. There was, and remains, nothing quite like the show on TV. “I would much rather end a series with the audience wanting more than limping to the finish line, with only the die-hard fans sticking around for the wrap up,” DeKnight says. “We want to make the 10 best episodes we can. I can’t wait for everybody to see it.”
Blah! As bummed as I am that the series will be ending after the next season, I agree that it is better to go out on a high note. The loss of Andy Whitfield was beyond tragic, for more reasons than one. The need for a prequel season really threw a wrench into the whole masterplan (and very likely had much to do with the show’s inability to find longevity). Even tho the series will be ending, at least we know that the producers plan to go out with a bang:
The upcoming season of Spartacus will be the show’s last … The first season was called “Blood and Sand,” the prequel was “Gods of the Arena” and Season 2 was “Vengeance.” This is the best subtitle of them all: “War of the Damned” … You can bet Game of Thrones fans will compare this [poster] to the HBO hit’s season 2 poster (both have a hand gripping a gold object against a black background with a war-themed red tagline). Regardless of what you think of the comparison, Spartacus drawing the gaze of Thrones‘ legion of fans could help boost interest in the show’s final season.
Spartacus is one of my favorite TV shows and I am very sad to learn that we will only get one more season. I hope the show does really, really well so Starz will be FORCED to keep the show going for another season or two :) But, no matter when the series comes to an end, we can be sure that we Spartacus fans are going to get our money’s worth. I’m very excited about War of the Damned. I have no doubt it’s going to be a season of entertainment that will not disappoint.