While Andy Whitfield is undergoing a treatment for his cancer, and thus cannot shoot the already pre-ordered second season of the ultra popular and mega successful "Spartacus: Blood and Sand", Starz has found an interesting solution. While their main actor is recovering, they will shoot a prequel to the original series in six episodes which will start shooting this summer in New Zealand and will air in January 2011.
Lucy Lawless and John Hannah will take the center stage in the prequel which will tell the story of the rise of the House of Batiatus and its champions before Spartacus arrives as a captured Thracian slave.
John Hannah will return as Batiatus, owner of the ludus, along with his wife Lucretia, played by Lucy Lawless. Other returning actors include Peter Mensah (Doctore), Manu Bennett (Crixus), Antonio Te Maioho (Barca), Nick Tarabay (Ashur), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Naevia) and some new characters will also be added, most notably the gladiator who was champion of the House of Batiatus before Spartacus or even Crixus, who will help fill in the story about the people and politics in the House of Batiatus and ancient Capua as a whole.