Andy Whitfield, star of the television show Spartacus, passed away on September 11th of 2011. His battle with cancer led to the “prequel” storyline of season two, with hopes that he would be able to return as the titular character in Season three. Despite a period of remission, Mr. Whitfield succumbed to the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This left the series in question, as well as the cliffhanger from season one.
Liam McIntyre has been cast as Spartacus, and Starz has a short sneak peek up of Spartacus Season 3: Vengeance up on YouTube.
I have mixed feelings.
On one hand, I am glad the series will continue. Despite laughing through the first few episodes with Sedagive?, we came to really enjoy the characters and the storylines. Season two was pretty good as well. I look forward to the watching the rest of the storyline unfold.
On the other hand, we really liked Mr. Whitfield. I thought he portrayed the transformation of Spartacus quite well. There is a particularly emotional scene at the midpoint of the first season, and Whitfield’s acting was top notch. I think my viewing of Liam McIntyre is biased; stepping into the Whitfield’s shoes is no easy task. Even without Whitfield’s dramatic passing, Andy’s physique, movement, and persona makes replacing him a daunting endeavor.
There are a few times in the sneak preview where I swear McIntyre is Whitfield. Their backs are very similar, and from a distance their faces are similar enough to pass as brothers. However, there is something missing in his eyes and overall I find his body less “heroic” looking than Andy’s, even though the latter was beginning to suffer from the effects of his cancer at the end of the first season’s production.
There are enough main characters from the first two seasons to keep us interested, and we look forward to watching the next chapters in the story. However, it’s going to be tough watching another man struggle in another’s shadow.