‘Spartacus’ Sequel a Go at Starz

Starz is bringing one of its foundational original series — along with one of its characters — back to life.

The premium cabler has given a series order to Spartacus: House of Ashur, a continuation of the franchise that last aired a new episode in 2013. The pickup comes nine months after Starz announced it was developing a revival/sequel — and a day after actors union SAG-AFTRA announced a tentative agreement with studios and streamers, ending a four-month strike.

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Series creator Steven S. DeKnight will serve as showrunner, and Nick Tarabay will reprise his role of Ashur from the former series.

“A decade ago the groundbreaking original Spartacus captivated viewers worldwide and we’re excited to deliver more enthralling, high-octane drama that our fervent fans have been anticipating,” said Kathryn Busby, president original programming at Starz. “It is an honor to team up with Steven again as he expands upon the storytelling within this thrilling, action-packed universe.”

The description for House of Ashur reads as follows: “The series poses the question: What if Ashur hadn’t died on Mount Vesuvius at the end of Spartacus: Vengeance? And what if he had been gifted the gladiator school once owned by Batiatus in return for aiding the Romans in killing Spartacus and putting an end to the slave rebellion?”

“To be afforded the opportunity to return a decade later to a series you loved is such a rare, wonderful opportunity,” said DeKnight. “I could not be more excited to craft this next chapter in the Spartacus saga with Starz, Lionsgate, and the incomparable Nick Tarabay.”

Spartacus: Blood and Sand premiered in January 2010 and was a breakout series for Starz, setting ratings marks that would stand for several years (shows like Outlander and Power eventually surpassed it). Blood and Sand starred Andy Whitfield as the title character, the Thracian gladiator who led a slave uprising against the Roman empire.

After Whitfield was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma following the first season, Starz filmed a prequel miniseries, Gods of the Arena, featuring some characters from the main series. After Whitfield’s death in 2011, Liam McIntyre took over the role of Spartacus for the final two seasons, subtitled Vengeance and War of the Damned.

Starz parent Lionsgate Television is producing Spartacus: House of Ashur. DeKnight is executive producer and showrunner.

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