Breaking News: Spartacus To End After One More Season
Spartacus: Vengeance | Photo Credits: Starz
Fans of Spartacus: Vengeance were stunned when six major characters, including Lucy Lawless' much-loved Lucretia, were killed off in the Season 2 finale last March. But that's nothing compared to this shocker! Starz has decided to end Spartacus after just one more season even though it's the cable channel's highest-rated show and a smash around the world. What are these people thinking? TV Guide Magazine got the scoop from the program's creator Steven S. DeKnight.
TV Guide Magazine: We're told this is all your idea. What are you doing to us Spartacus fans? This is devastating news!
DeKnight: I know! It's very sad news, and I've been living with it for quite a while now. My original plan was to go five to seven seasons but I want to leave on top. [Laughs] That's something new in television but we're going to give it a whirl!
TV Guide Magazine: Why did the plan change?
DeKnight: I guess things started to alter when we lost [the original Spartacus] Andy Whitfield. We've had some real challenges and tragedies with this show, and that was definitely part of what shifted our plans. Also, the more I delve into the history of Spartacus, the more repetitive it gets. From this point on in the real story, it's wave after wave of Romans chasing him here and there. Spartacus and his rebels didn't seem to have much of a plan — they went north, south, west, east, then north again. They were roaming all over the place. So we decided to go with just the best parts. We're going to condense all that into a 10-episode final season —Spartacus: War of the Damned — that's full of fantastic surprises and we will wrap up the story in a grand way. It'll leave you wanting more.
TV Guide Magazine: You're confident this is the right decision? You don't wake up in the middle of the night going, "What the hell have I done?"
DeKnight: [Laughs] Oh, all the time! There's always a twinge of doubt and regret, especially with a show that's still working so well and is still so popular and still so much fun to make. You just hope you're doing the right thing. For me and my partners, Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi and Josh Donen, the most important thing, when the smoke clears, is that the audience is satisfied. Did they have a good journey? You don't want them saying, "Thank God, that's finally over!" It would be the worst thing to stay one season too long. And many shows do.
TV Guide Magazine: When exactly did you make this decision?
DeKnight: We were 90 percent sure about this as we were wrapping up Vengeance.
TV Guide Magazine: Didn't any of your partners or anyone at Starz try to talk you out of this?
DeKnight: It wasn't so much a matter of talking me out of it but there was a lot of debate about how to end things. There were a couple of months where we went through various permutations. Should we wrap it up with 16 episodes and show them in two blocks of eight? Should we do 20 episodes? Finally it was decided that a really spectacular 10 was the best way to go. Starz completely supported us, just as they always have. Every single season of Spartacus has been a gamble. Season 1 we did by our bootstraps — "Hey, let's put on a show!" — and we got off to a rocky start before we became something special. Then, unfortunately, when Andy fell ill, we had to roll the dice on a prequel, which everybody thought we were nuts to do. Then we had to find a new Spartacus, Liam McIntyre. This show has always been a crapshoot, but that's one of the things that makes it so exciting. Starz has been amazing at every step. If the star of your show —the guy who plays your title character — falls gravely ill, most other networks or cable channels would have rolled up the sidewalk and cancelled the show. But Starz really wanted to tell the story through to its end. They didn't want to leave anything hanging.