Starz’ “Spartacus” Gets A Prequel Series

The team behind Starz Network’s hit series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” are at work on a six-part prequel to the series.

Lucy Lawless and John Hannah’s characters take center stage in the story of the rise of the House of Batiatus and its champions before Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) arrives as a captured Thracian slave.

Production on a second season of the series was recently postponed to allow star Andy Whitfield to be treated for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in New Zealand. Doctors indicate that the actor is responding well.

The ‘prequel’ series idea allows production to continue sans Whitfield, though he will be involved in a “limited capacity”. Once the actor returns to full health, a proper second season will likely head into production.

All the key cast and crew will remain intact and, due to it being a prequel, several slain characters look set to return. The pre-Crixus champion of the House of Batiatus will be a major new character, a role that has yet to be cast.

Production kicks off shortly in New Zealand with airing to get underway January 2011.