As hinted last week, Starz has made the decision to continue production of "Spartacus" into a second season without series star Andy Whitfield.
The producers of "Spartacus" have sent out a casting call for the title role according to Entertainment Weekly. The casting notice indicates that the producers are seeking a Caucasian male in his mid to late 30s to play the “smart, intense, passionate” title role. It also specified that interested actors must have an authentic British accent and be willing to sign a three-year contract.
Following the news that Andy Whitfield was forced to leave the series on his doctor’s advice to aggressively treat a recurrence of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the prognosis for the series was that the lead character would either be recast or the series would be ended. The decision to move forward was reportedly made with Whitfield’s blessing and he may stay involved with the series in a different capacity.
One of the possibilities floated last week was that a new character may be introduced as the focus of the series, which would potentially allow Whitfield to return down the line.
A prequel miniseries called "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" is currently in production with John Hannah, Lucy Lawless, Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett, Antonio Te Maioha, Nick E. Tarabay and Lesley-Ann Brandt reprising their roles.
While the original production schedule called for the second season of "Spartacus" to immediately begin production following the end of filming for "Gods of the Arena," it’s unknown if the current casting call will delay those plans.
"Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" will bow on Starz in January 2011.