Although Liam McIntyre somewhat wishes there was “never the opportunity” to headline Starz’s Spartacus: Vengeance, since he was a fan of the show, he’s glad to have the blessing of original Spartacus Andy Whitfield. “Andy did call up the [producers] and said, ‘I do want the show to continue,’” McIntyre related during the series’ San Diego Comic-Con panel. “He gave his blessing. Obviously, I’m grateful for that.”
Filling Whitfield’s sandals is “a really nice challenge… a great privilege and a great honor,” he continued. “It’s a great responsibility.”
Showrunner Steven S. DeKnight is more than happy with how his new lead is doing. “He looks pretty damn good,” said DeKnight, who only met McIntyre in the flesh the day before the panel. As for Whitfield’s health as he battles non-Hodgkin lymphoma, “He’s doing very well, from what I hear,” said DeKnight. “Obviously, he’s very private about [it].” DeKnight and Whitfield have even talked about working together again, though the actor requested that it be in something where he’s not taking off his clothes again, a sentiment that elicited boos from the Comic-Con crowd.
Following McIntyre’s casting, the conversation turned to the new season, now titled Spartacus: Vengeance, which the star promised “is so big” with expanded scope. After killing off nearly the entire cast, DeKnight said his plan for the next round “is to kill more people.” Lest anyone think him joking, he added, “There’s an episode where we kill a lot of people. This season is just epic. It’s grand scale. They’re out and about. It’s just a gigantic, gigantic season.”
Spartacus’ journey will evolve in Season 2 toward his historical destiny. He’ll also have vengeance on the mind, as the title suggests, and he “won’t be the only one” out to settle a score, DeKnight teased. Could Lucretia also be out for blood following the death of her husband and unborn child? “She looks a little off,” DeKnight noted, referencing the new trailer. Added portrayer Lucy Lawless, “She’s absolutely bereft [and determined] to claw my way to some platform of power.”
Widowed Lucretia will also find someone new to fill the void, so to speak. “Ilithyia becomes a very potent friend,” teased Lawless. “Our relationship takes many extreme twists and turns. You can’t even imagine what’s to come.”
Also on tap, when the series returns in early 2012: Look for a power struggle to emerge between Spartacus, Crixus and Gannicus. “Three alpha males together don’t always get along,” revealed McIntyre. “It’s going to get heated.”
Enough about war; what about love? Will the show keep its sexy side in the new season? “Rebels are out in the world, meeting new people,” replied DeKnight. “They don’t kill all of them. Some of them, they make the sweet, sweet love.” Lawless in turn promised “a whole lot of new beefcake” for the viewers.
Interestingly, there’s no rivalry between Spartacus and a certain sexy-violent newcomer on HBO, of which McIntyre revealed he is a fan. “I love Game of Thrones,” added DeKnight. “I think it’s fantastic. I can’t wait for the next season.”
Watch the Spartacus: Vengeance trailer here!