Spartacus: Blood and Sand was full of blood and sand! It truly lived up to its name, and then some. Despite getting off to a slow start. They had a great ensemble cast, set pieces, and special effects for a paid cable program. I absolutely could not wait for the second season! But then Andy Whitfield, the show’s Spartacus, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
I was instantly crestfallen, not only because it looked like there might not be a second season of Blood and Sand, but the man himself had a terrible disease.
Then came news that Whitfield was in remission and that season 2 was well on its way into production! I could just see all of that excessive blood flying all over the screen in anticipation.
Once more unfortunately came the news that the Lymphoma was back, and that Andy Whitfield would in fact not be returning for the new season. Along with this announcement, we got news that the show would move forward with a new actor playing Spartacus.
I instantly thought: “Forget it, how could anyone replace the guy we’ve all been watching play the Bringer of Rain each week?”
Whitfield in my opinion was an up and coming actor, whose career now may have ultimately been cut short. No one could replace, nor even come close to the character he portrayed in Blood and Sand. Now, here I still don’t know what to think of Whitfield’s replacement, Liam McIntyre, as I’ve no prior knowledge of him. However, after re-watching season 1 again, I am ready to give this new Spartacus a chance based on the merits of the show. I mean, it’s not like they are recasting MULTIPLE characters. Right?
A recent article (via Deadline) is now indicating that Lesley-Ann Brandt who plays the love of Crixus, will also not be rejoining the season 2 cast as she is leaving to join the cast of CSI: NY. Her character Naevia had significant screen time in the first season adding intrigue to the sordid affair of Crixus and Lucretia.
Plus she was smoking hot so she will definitely be missed!
Although Brandt is leaving, IGN TV reported several days later that Lucy Lawless is returning to Blood and Sand in the excerpt below:
[quote]And while bidding farewell to Batiatus might be a bitter pill, we’ll still get to see Lucy Lawless return as Lucretia in Season 2, as it was announced last month that her character, indeed, survived the Ludus bloodbath. “It’s something we’ve talked about, going forward with each season, is trying to find that connective tissue of a villain – because obviously the hero will cross over through all the seasons – but trying to find a villain that can do it,” DeKnight said. “And I use the term ‘villain’ loosely because not all are villains, they’re just on the other side. But to find someone on the opposing side and carry them through to the next season. I was adamant that both [Batiatus and Lucretia] were going to die. And that Luctretia was going to die, but then I had this idea and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with her. And it would be a great element to add to Season 2.” So does that mean that Lucretia will now be a changed woman? Will she have learned a valuable lesson? “Oh no,” DeKnight laughed. “She learns no lesson. Lucretia survives her wound but, as you can imagine, she’s less than happy.”[/quote]
It is very promising to hear of Lucy Lawless returning. Her character, Lucretia, was an uber bitch throughout season 1 and was revealed to be even more devious than previously thought in Gods of the Arena.
She will definitely have unfinished business with Spartacus and Crixus, to say nothing of Ilithyia who was last seen as the doors were closed and sealed leaving all inside to death ad-gladium.
The second season is not scheduled to debut until 2012 which is still a year away. I would have liked another six episodes of Gods of the Arena, which has served as an excellent prequel to Blood and Sand. It has been good to see John Hannah’s portrayal of Lentulus Quintus Batiatus as he begins down a road to power littered with back stabbing and plotting.
I would highly recommend anyone who is a fan of swords, swearing, sex, and fighting to watch both Blood and Sand and Gods of the Arena. You may even get lucky and enjoy the excellent storyline which has plenty of surprises to keep you watching.