Stretching out Comic Con coverage because we can (and apparently people actually read it), coming to you in what will hopefully be among the very last name-drops of SDCC, is some news from the Spartacus panel. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Starz original series which is bursting with blood, breasts, and a word for penis that also starts with B. Perhaps too easily dismissed by many as a 300 styled rip-off or An Idiot’s Guide to Rome, this gladiatorial series is actually quite deft at mixing politics and vicious action.
This years panel, the show’s first, was focused mostly on revealing some information about the upcoming prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. For those unfamiliar, star and Spartacus himself Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with cancer after the completion of the first season. Rather than replace him or move forward with a pathetic second season or leave fans waiting forever, the producers, lead by Steven DeKnight, decided to create a prequel to the hit show.
The panel started with Andy Whitfield taking the stage with thunderous applause, looking tan and healthy. What came next was perhaps the best news out of the panel – Whitfield was cancer free. More applause, and worthy of it too. Any time someone slays cancer, or kicks the ass of any disease trying to usurp the throne of life, it deserves a round of applause.
Joining him on stage shortly thereafter was Steven DeKnight, John Hannah, Lucy Lawless, and Viva Bianca, a handsome, beautiful, and talented cast if ever there was one. Yes, even you, John. Kisses.
As the assembled answered questions about breaking through, with most of them having been in relatively minor roles abroad before Spartacus, I realized something strange for the first time – none of these actors, so happy to now be acting in the big time in America, were American. This is by no means a bad thing, or even something I would normally notice – but every single person (Steven DeKnight excluded) had an accent and had all trekked to America to make it big. The land of opportunity!
Among the first questions, which felt obvious to me, was how Whitfield got into Spartacus shape. His complex answer of ‘eat less food and exercise more’ floored the audience and he later added that during Season 1 he weighed in around 185lbs, but for the wanted to add on some more mass for the second season, which we were assured would be bigger and bigger in terms of fight sequences, meaning Spartacus will need all the muscle he can get.
In prequel news, the Gods of the Arena will air in 2011 and strongly revolve around Batiatus (Hannah) and Lucretia (Lawless) and their Ludus. Definitely back for the prequel are Doctore and Crixus, and things are expected to start off very hot and feature all the blood and gore that we can handle – which is saying something, since I can handle a lot.
Lawless, who definitely was not interested in swinging a sword around (a fact that potentially crushed her Xena fans), said that the backstory revealed in the prequel is great, full of twists, and unexpected. Probably also featured in the prequel will be the curse “Jupiter’s Cock,” which is something of a catchphrase for the show, which Steven DeKnight said was inspired by his own wang while showering one day.
DeKnight apparently swings his well endowed member around in attempts to further the brand of Spartacus, as a new comic book is being planned right now for launch and he is pursuing a console video game and action figures. While there are no official plans for either at the moment, DeKnight revealed he “couldn’t say” anything more about a video game, other than he wanted one, potentially hinting that one is being discussed currently.
After one fan managed to embarrass both the lovely Lawless and the stunning Bianca by, more or less, telling them he uses their images to masturbate (he said he canceled his Playboy subscription after watching the show), or slightly before actually, we did get to see a teaser of the Gods of the Arena, which revealed no new footage, but looked cool anyways.
Spartacus: Blood and Sand comes to DVD and Blu-ray later this year and you should check it out. It’s far deeper and more complex than you think, but it’s also brutal, bloody, and sexy as hell.