Spartacus: Whitfield Has to Quit; Future of Starz TV Show Uncertain

Andy WhitfieldThe future of Starz’s Spartacus series is now in doubt. The show’s lead, Andy Whitfield, has withdrawn from filming the second season.

The first season, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, tells the story of the classic gladiator and stars newcomer Andy Whitfield as the title character. The show also stars Antonio Te Maioha, Craig Parker, Erin Cummings, Lucy Lawless, John Hannah, Manu Bennett, Nick E. Tarabay, and Peter Mensah.

Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March and, after treatment, was declared cancer-free in May. He was training hard to get back into filming and, at Comic-Con, Whitfield said he felt “better than ever.” He’s now been advised by his doctors to resume aggressive treatments immediately.

In a statement, Whitfield said, “It’s with a deep sense of disappointment that I must step aside from such an exceptional project as Spartacus and all the wonderful people involved. It seems that it is time for myself and my family to embark on another extraordinary journey. Thank you sincerely for the support so far.”

Spartacus was renewed for a second season even before the first started airing. Shooting of the second season was postponed so Whitfield could undergo treatment. To fill the absence, Starz ordered a prequel called Spartacus: Gods of the Arena which focuses on co-stars Lawless and Hannah. It tells the tale of the rise of the House of Batiatus before Spartacus’ arrival in Capua.

Whitfield was supposed to return to shoot Spartacus next month. No decisions have yet been made about the future of the series thus far. “Right now, we just want to extend our concern and support to Andy and his family,” said Carmi Zlotnik, managing director, Starz Media. “We will address our programming plans at some later date.”

The second season of Spartacus was expected to air next September. On a positive note, the prequel is currently filming in New Zealand and will debut in January 2011 as planned.

What do you think? What should Starz do? Suspend production of season two until Whitfield can hopefully return? Recast the role, do another prequel, or cancel the series altogether?

Canceled and renewed TV show

121 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Joe says

    I m sorry to hear about andy whitfield and I hope he has a speedy recovery. but this show must go on, it has a bunch of great actors in it. this show is too good to be cancelled. doctore’ a is a great character.Whether you do a prequel or a second season if whitfield can’t make it back starz should center the show around Doctore’ and also crixcus about him trying to find his woman.I have so many ideas for the second season. starz should hire me as a writer. I’m very creative

  2. Capt. Jack says

    I rented the entire series at BlockBuster and watched it for the first time start to finish over a week of evening viewing while on vacation. I love this series. My heart goes out to Andy and his family. I hope the show continues. I also agree with Miguel R., Doctori’s life can also be explored in a prequel to give Andy additional time for treatment.

    Capt. Jack
    52-male

  3. miguel r. says

    this is one of the best series ive ever seen…i really want it to continue…please make a prequel untill andy is ready… we still havent seen the doctori’s life before he entered the batiatus house…please and thank you.

  4. Corey says

    It’s sad to hear of Andys condition, as a actor he played his part great. How ever there are other actors that depend on these series as well, with equally interesting roles. As a fan of the show I hope to see them continue it. And if God willing Andy gets better Place him back in the show.

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