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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 The show’s lead, Andy Whitfield, has withdrawn from filming the second season.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?

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{ 120 comments… read them below or add one }

debbers April 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm

My husband and I love this show. I think if they can wait for Andy to come back they should. Can’t imagine anyone but him as Spartacus. But please do more prequels.
This is a amazing show, the best out there!!!!


Bonquiqui April 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm

The creator should DEFINITELY keep the series going wether Whitfield can continue or not. Well wishes to Whitfield but Spartacus must go on.


leah hall March 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Life is not pleasant without Spartacus! Love this series…


Patty Brock March 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Best wished for renewed health to Mr. Whitfield. Prayers for good report of health for him & his family.

Hope that the Spartacus Series will be able to continue with him in the lead role. I agree with several other posts that maybe another season going into some of the other characters’ backgrounds or whatever can be filmed until Mr. Whitfield’s return. This series is awesome (although gruesome) and hopes of it’s continued success & speedy return.


Mladen March 21, 2011 at 8:13 am

When friends told me about the movie, I thought alike with Andy. I want to know how to attend the casting for the role in the film.
mladen hadjiev

Thank you!


robin March 20, 2011 at 3:05 pm

pleas continue the show, season 2. I could not stop watching the series once i started.
if you do decide to recast, please get a good spartacus, like andy. i wish him a speedy recovery. I would ather see him come back.


John March 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Gratitude toward the concept of doing a prequel. There simply cannot be another Spartacus. Andy Whitfield is the only actor that I care to see send Legatus Glaber to the Underworld. Get well, Spartacus.


Linda March 17, 2011 at 10:31 am

Please continue the Spartacus series. I believe Andy wishes it to. Maybe Sam Worthington from Clash of the Titans and Avatar would like to play Spartacus. Regardless who plays the part it will still rise and continue to be a spectacular series. It would be another great series cut short of its prime if its canceled. There are alot of great actors waiting for a great chance like this role.


corie & Sharon March 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm

We are so sorry to hear about Andy Whitfield’s health concerns. What an amazing actor and the entire casting is absolutely incredible!!! We have become completely adicted to the series and hope to see Andy back and fighting. But right now Andy, you take the time that you need and get yourself completely healed! We love you and the entire show. Our best wishes to a speedy full recovery. (( )) Big hugs!
Corie & Sharon, Keswick, Ontario


john and maureen kirby March 13, 2011 at 11:41 am

please continue with this series one of the best ever even if spartacus is not in it (get well soon as possible andy)its an amazing series , there are still lots of sub stories to continue
john and moe calgary canada


Daniel March 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm

The sequel to spartacus should be postponed until he gets better, because he will!
That is one of the best series I have ever seen.and he did an amazing job.


Donna J. Cruz April 10, 2011 at 12:22 am

I just watched the entire Season 1 or Spartacua on DVD. It was so well done and exciting. The lead, Andy Whitfield, was so perfect for the role of Spartacus. I now learn that he is fighting cancer. I wish him all the very best. I can’t imagine anyone else in the role he created. Please, Starz, postpone filming Season 2 until Mr. Whitfield can resume. I will be watching to get my hands on the prequel as soon as it gets out in dvd.


Noppie March 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I do not watch a lot of TV but I like the Spartacus TV series. I hope the lead actor gets well and will eventually return to the show and other jobs. Then I suggest STARZ do another back story. Many the characters would have interesting stories that lead them to the arena.

Think good thoughts, and get well.



Matthew March 7, 2011 at 9:44 pm

It would be a shame if the Spartacus series had to end so briefly after two amazing hit seasons. Hopefully Andy may return for the next season but if not possible then I do hope that Starz can find a way to keep the saga alive.


kathy March 7, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Andy, get well and get back to the series – it just won’t be the same without you. My husband and I have become addicted to the series and have just now (after watching Season 2) found out about your health issues. This is the best series ever!!! Thank you for your fine performances – I hope you can get back to work soon!


Ronaldo Grullon March 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Spartacus is the best serie I ever seen!!! I hope all those comments go to the Starz’s producer and continue with the the third season…. I’m a Spartacusholic, the live of Crixus before been a Champ could be an interesting story…. Andy, i wish you the best and hope you come back to the Final final final…. season


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