In September 2010, Andy Whitfield (Spartacus) announced that he would not be able to appear in the second season because he had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was pursuing aggressive medical treatment. In January 2011, the Starz network announced that Australian actor Liam McIntyre had been chosen to replace Whitfield as Spartacus. In September 2011, Whitfield died at the age of 39.
Within the first two seasons, viewers see Glaber's ambitions at making a name for himself within the Senate and the Roman Military in order to leave his mark on history. In reality, the only thing that history knows of Praetor Claudius Glaber, is that he was the first of many Generals to fail at stopping Spartacus.
For the orgy scenes, the producers hired a New Zealand company that works on sexual gatherings professionally and instructed them to do whatever they wanted on camera. Then they would edit what was too much for Starz.
The Late Andy Whitfield died at the age of 39; roughly the same age as his on screen character Spartacus at the time of his death. Some historians have dated Spartacus to have been between the ages of 37 and 40 at the time of his death in 71. B.C. The most commonly agreed age, was 38 years old.
Recent research on gladiator tombs in present day Turkey indicates that the fighters may have been on vegetarian diets consisting of grains and beans. This diet would increase their body sizes around their abdomens and essentially add a layer of body fat and muscle to protect their internal organs when stabbed or sliced. Some murals depict gladiators with literal barrel-like chests.
Oenomaeus, Gannicus, Crixus, and Spartacus were each Champions at one point, but came to it differently. Crixus and Gannicus were both Champions of the House of Batiatus before becoming Champion of Capua. Oenomaeus was solely Champion of the House, never becoming Champion of Capua, and Spartacus was never Champion of the House.
The wooden training swords used by the gladiators appeared to be very light and easy to handle. Historically speaking, wooden training swords for Gladiators were actually made to be heavier than steel swords in order for their handling of a Gladius to be more efficient.
Prominent Gladiators in the series had names describing either their victories or their fighting prowess. Arkadios was "The Scourge of Athens." Barca was "The Beast of Carthage." Crixus was "The Undefeated Gaul." Theokoles was "The Shadow of Death." Spartacus had a few names: "The Bringer of Rain" (the most frequently used) "Slayer of Theokoles," "Slayer of the Shadow," and "Bringer of Death."
A feature-length movie was planned, it was to take place between season 2 and 3, but the writers realized that too much would need to be cut in order to avoid an NC-17 rating in the United States, so the idea was scrapped.
The brutal decimation scene is historically accurate. The only thing that the writers took liberties with is the character of Tiberius; everything else - the rogue sentry attacking Spartacus (and losing), the survivors running away - are all true. Crassus brought back decimation to ensure that his men would never run away again.
The final credit sequence ends with a shot of Liam McIntyre, which then briefly stays on screen as Andy Whitfield comes on before disappearing. It is the first - and only - time two men who portrayed the legendary gladiator were in the same scene as the character.
According to 'Steven DeKnight', the network wanted more of a 300 (2006) style of direction. This is why the pilot episode feels so out of place and the earlier episodes are uneven. DeKnight had to fight for control over the show.
Throughout the first season, Spartacus is ridiculed by his fellow Gladiators because of his Thracian heritage. Everything from his fighting prowess, to the alleged "filth" of his homeland fell under scrutiny; particularly from the Gauls. Some historians, however, believe that Thrace was among the more difficult provinces for the Roman Republic to conquer due to the fabled skill and savagery of the Thracian warriors.
Water is a very important theme throughout the series: the House of Batiatus was in debt (or was dry) during Crixus' run as champion but became wealthy when Spartacus took up the mantle after his victory ended the drought; and several characters die during a rainstorm or when one is approaching.
Despite this being an American series, the only actors who are American are Katrina Law (Mira), Erin Cummings (Sura), and Ellen Hollman (Saxa). Nick Tarabay (Ashur) is an American citizen, but he was born in Lebanon.
Dan Feuerriegel is the only actor from the original cast to appear in the final battle. Spartacus and Naevia both appear, but Liam McIntyre and Cynthia Addai-Robinson both took over their respective roles from Andy Whitfield and Lesley Ann-Brandt.
The character Barca was initially written as Oenomaeus the Gaul. However, Antonio Te Maioha who had been cast for the role, was only available for six episodes of filming. His characteristics (mainly his bond with Crixus) were re-written to the new character Barca. The writers then changed the identity of Doctore to be revealed as Oenomaeus.
The character Barca ("The Beast of Carthage") shares the name of Hannibal Barca, the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps on elephant back to attack Rome. Hannibal also had a younger brother named Mago. In the episode "Legends," it is revealed that Barca earned his title by slaying the leader of his people, named Mago, who was rumored to have also been Barca's father.
Throughout most of the series, if Spartacus drops one of his two swords while fighting, he makes no effort to retrieve the lost weapon. He either continues the fight with one blade in hand, or retrieves a different secondary weapon altogether.
Crixus is the only character to be friends (at some point) with all the prominent gladiators from all three seasons and its prequel. Spartacus' only friend was Varro in the first season; Agron never met Barca; and Gannicus never met Varro.
The Late Andy Whitfield died from Non-Hodgekins Lymphoma; a rare and aggressive form of cancer. His onscreen Wife Erin Cummings, was sadly diagnosed with Breast Cancer in September 2016- 2 months after her wedding. As of March 2017, she continues to fervently battle the disease.
Every villain is tied to the house of Batiatus in some way: Lucretia, Quintus, Ashur, Ilithyia, and Glaber all lived in the house at some point for an extended period of time. Marcus Crassus is connected through his cousin, Licinia, who was murdered by Ilithyia. The show never touches on Marcus' connection.
Liam McIntyre went on to play villain Mark Mardon in The CW series The Flash. Manu Bennett, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Katrina Law, and Nick Tarabay went on to play villains in The CW series Arrow while Jai Courtney played another DC Comics villain in Suicide Squad.
Jai Courtney (Varro) and Nick Tarabay (Asher) both went on to play the DC Comics villain Captain Boomerang. Courtney played him in the 2016 Suicide Squad film and Tarabay in The CW television series Arrow.
Each season of the series features a character named Tiberius. In season 1, Blood and Sand, Tiberius is the name of one of the Gargan twins that Crixus defeated. In season 2, Vengeance, Tiberius is Nasir's slave name given to him by his master. In season 3, War of the Damned, Tiberius is the name of Marcus Crassus' son.
Toward the end of production for the series prequel "Gods of the Arena", Andy Whitfield's cancer resurfaced and he was unable to continue filming. On the last day of filming in the training square, many of the male cast lead by Manu Bennet and Antonio Te Maioha (both of the Maori tribe of New Zealand) performed the "Haka" in honor of Andy. (The Haka is the legendary Maori war chant)
There were numerous fighting styles in Gladiatorial arts, which differed mainly in weapons and armor but also in forms of attack. Some of these styles were as follows: Murmillo (Standard Mainz-Fulham Gladius, a long shield, arm/leg guards and a helmet), Thraex (Sica- A sword with a curved tip; meant to bend around an opponents shield to inflict damage, arm/leg guards, a short shield and a helmet), Secutor (long axe, no shield, helmet varying, leg guards) Hoplomachus (spear, small shield, long dagger, leg guards, no arm guards, and a helmet) Retiarius (Net & Trident, shoulder guards, no leg guards, no shield, no helmet), Dimachareus (Two swords, arm/leg guards, no shield,no helmet) and Samnite (Short sword, Rectangular shield, helmet, Chest armor and greaves.)
There is some irony surrounding the casting of 3 of the main characters. Spartacus was from Thrace, particularly modern day Bulgaira. Crixus was from Gaul (Modern day France) and Varro was Italian. Raicho Vasilev who portrays Gnaeus, is himself Bulgarian. Crixus' name roughly translates to "Curly Hair." Jai Courtney being the fair-skinned, curly haired actor would have been the "accurate visual" choice for Crixus, but instead portrayed Varro. Manu Bennet (who portrays Crixus) is of the Maori tribe in New Zealand (Many of which are visually "ambiguous" in terms of ethnic identity) and would have been the ideal "visual choice" to play the Italian Varro.
To distinguish which version of Spartacus they are talking about, fans have dubbed Andy Whitfield's portrayal as "Andy Spartacus" and Liam McIntyre's performance as "Liam Spartacus". Other variations include: "AS/LS", "Andy's Sparty/Liam's Sparty".
When Nasir is first introduced, he shares with Agron his Syrian heritage and that he had an older brother. The remote possibility of his older brother being either Dagon or Ashur is not touched upon after that conversation, nor does Nasir recognize Ashur when he encounters the rebels.
There are many actor crossovers between the Spartacus series and the DC Cinematic Universe. Nick Tarabay, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Katrina Law, Manu Bennett, Liam McIntyre and Jai Courtney all went on to play roles based on comic book characters. Courtney (as [Captain] Boomerang) in The Suicide Squad (2016) and the others in The CW's Arrow (2012) and it's spin-off The Flash (2014) (Captain Boomerang, Amanda Waller, Nyssa Al-Ghul and Slade [Deathstroke] Wilson and Weather Wizard respectively). In addition, Lesley-Ann Brandt appears in an episode of Gotham (2014). Ironically enough, Arrow's lead actor Stephen Amell was one of a handful of actors to be considered for the role of Spartacus- possibly placing third in choice behind Dustin Claire and the Late Andy Whitfield.
In the first episode of "Blood & Sand", Spartacus asks Glaber about joining the Roman Auxiliary. He strongly questions "to what end?" Glaber replies "Victory." This is a vague foreshadowing of Spartacus' future; the outcome of this conversation lead to the unfolding events of the entire show, which "ends" in the final episode "Victory." (From the season "War of the Damned")
Even after becoming Champion of both the House and of Capua, Crixus never took the Champion's Cell on the other side of the training square, nor indulged in most of the benefits of being champion. Whether this was intentionally scripted or not, the character's sense of comradery for his fellow gladiators would not allow him to place himself above them regardless of his status and he chose to reside alongside them.
Creator Steven S. DeKnight originally planned for the series to have five seasons total, including the Gods of the Arena prequel. Seasons 3 and 4 would have seen the slow build of Spartacus's army and defeating other generals in battle, with the Romans scheming and plotting against each other. The fifth and final season would have seen Spartacus finally confronting Crassus.
Agron, Ashur, Nasir, Donar, Lugo, Varro, Hamilcar, Barca, Duro, Heracleo, Rhaskos, Pietros, Nemetes and Kerza are the only male characters of note whose names do not end with the letters (or pronunciation of...) "us." Equally, Kore and Sibyl are the only female characters of note whose names do not end with the letter "a" and the pronunciation of "uh."
Spartacus and Oenomaeus share a few things in common: Both fought in the pits, both fought in the style of Dimachaerus, both faced Theokoles and lived, both were Champion and unfortunately, both buried their wives at Batiatus' Ludus.
While he was a slave, in spite of her hatred for Spartacus Lucretia consistently winced whenever his life was threatened or his victories were mocked in front of Batiatus. She knew what great value Spartacus held for Batiatus and for the sake of her husband, viewed him as an investment worth protecting.
The series premiered 1 year before another graphic hit TV series Game of Thrones (2011). Like Spartacus, the series has graphic violence, explicit sex and nudity and profanity. But, unlike Spartacus, Game of Thrones was not based on ancient history and took place in the fictional medieval fantasy world of Westeros. Both series featured antagonists whom lust for power and commit murder and betrayal to achieve their goals and both series have regular characters brutally killed off.
The series premiered 15 years after the premiere of Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi and Lucy Lawless's earlier TV series Xena: Warrior Princess (1995), which Lucy Lawless starred as the title protagonist. The series took place in ancient Greece.
The season 1 title "Blood and Sand" shares it's title with Blood and Sand (1941) a sports drama film about bullfighter Juan Gallardo (Tyrone Power). "Blood and Sand" depicts Spartacus's enslavement and his rise as a champion gladiator.
Lucretia is considered by a few to be the Cersei Lannister of Spartacus: Blood and Sand (2010) (TV Series). Cersei Lannister is one of the main characters and central antagonists of Game of Thrones (2011) (TV Series) is played by Lena Headey. Both characters are powerful women and share a similar arc.
Anna Hutchison joined the third and final season "War of the Damned" after finishing work on The Cabin in the Woods (2012). Anna Hutchison's co-star in that movie Chris Hemsworth played Thor the god of thunder in the Marvel comic book movies Thor (2011) and The Avengers (2012). The films and the comic books they're based on are inspired by the Norse myth. The Spartacus television series is inspired by and based on the history of Spartacus.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Andy Whitfield (Spartacus) stated numerous times that the reason his on screen friendship with Jai Courtney (Varro) felt genuine is because it was. The two remained best friends until Whitfield's death.
In the scene where Spartacus dies, the script called for Laeta to kiss Spartacus goodbye. It was changed at the last minute so that Agron would be the one who kisses Spartacus' forehead at the behest of Dan Feuerriegel. The actor felt it would be more emotional coming from someone Spartacus considered a brother.
Crixus and Spartacus fight each other at least 8 times throughout the series. Seven of those fights occur within the first season and one occurs in the final season. Of these fights, 3 were fueled by anger, 3 were sparring sessions and 2 were scheduled matches.
Crixus' moniker was "The Undefeated Gaul." Defeat for a Gladiator meant either death or giving the missio, the two finger signal for mercy. Crixus experienced neither in the arena, and therefore died with his title intact.
Vettius is the only villain from the series (including the prequel "Gods of the Arena) who's ultimate fate remains unknown. He along with Crassus and Caesar are the only main villains who are not killed during the duration of the show.
Agron was originally supposed to die during the massacre instead of Duro; the writers changed their minds since Agron was always saving his brother, they felt it would be more emotional if Duro repaid the act.
Not one character or actor appeared in every episode of the show (including the prequel mini series Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena). Crixus (Manu Bennett) is in the most episodes, being absent from only the final two. Even the titular character Spartacus is completely absent from the prequel series and the character of Naevia is portrayed by two different actors and the character is also absent from two episodes.
Among the numerous Gladiators from the House of Batiatus who were taught that death in the arena at the hands of a Gladiator was a "glorious death" only 6 achieved such deaths (including characters from the show's prequel, but were all under less than ideal circumstances). The first Doctore, was killed by Oenomaeus (but not in the arena). Auctus was killed by Crixus in the arena (however, Crixus entered the Arena absent the mark of the Brotherhood and did not become a Gladiator until he slew Auctus). Dagon was killed by Ashur (but Ashur sabotaged Dagon first during elimination rounds in training and again during the battle royale). Gnaeus was killed by Spartacus in a fit of rage (but not in the arena). Varro was killed by Spartacus at Numerius' birthday celebration (during a match that was meant only to be exhibition and only through the machinations of Ilithyia). And finally, Rhaskos was killed in the arena by other Gladiators (but it was during his execution, not a fair match).
The majority of the rebels find their demise in a similar fashion. They are either attacked when they are off guard or attacked from behind. Brictius is killed from behind. Spartacus and Crixus both sustain injuries from behind that lead to their death. Lugo gets stabbed from behind which quickens his death. Chadara gets shot with an arrow from behind unintentionally. Naevia and Diona die in a similar fashion, killed from behind while on their knees. While Saxa gets killed from the front while she is distracted.
At the end of Victory (#3.10), Spartacus, when he succumbs to his spear wounds, was buried with the shield/sword that Nasir fashioned for Agron, as his grave marker. In the history of Spartacus, after Spartacus died, his body was never found.
Foreshadowings of several character deaths occur within the first few episodes: Spartacus is shown being an expert with the spear - that is what kills him; Varro and Spartacus have a discussion about who Spartacus wants dead in the ludus but Varro is not one of them - Spartacus kills Varro; Ilithyia wonders what keeps the gladiators from breaking free and killing everyone - gladiators slaughter the guests in a massacre.
In a way, the series has been done like a trilogy: Blood and Sand (Series 1) depicts Spartacus's enslavement, his rise as a Gladiator champion and the fall of the House of Batiatus. Vengeance (Series 2) depicts Spartacus as he begins the slave rebellion and sets out to get revenge on Gaius Claudius Glaber and War of the Damned (Series 3) depicts Marcus Licinus Crassus as he sets out to crush Spartacus, eventually defeating Spartacus and crushing the slave rebellion and the death of Spartacus.
Originally, Lucretia was to die at the end of season 1 as she succumbed to her stab wound. Lucy Lawless had become popular among cast and crew and she was praised for her performance as the evil Roman woman. For Spartacus: Vengeance, writers included that Lucretia survived but her baby died.
Glaber's soldier Iovis who was the first to fight Spartacus in the Blood & Samd episode "Revelation", was portrayed by Josh Randall who also fought Spartacus in the pits. He also played one of Marcus Crassus' men in "War of the Damned."
Though they are seen on screen together numerous times, the characters Spartacus and Sura are only actually in each other's presence for no more than 6 scenes throughout the entire series. They are together the night of the Thracian counsel's decision, the morning that Spartacus leaves for war, the evening that Spartacus returns to rescue her from the Getae, the morning that they are ambushed by Glaber, in a flashback of their first meeting/the first time they have sex, and finally when Sura dies in his arms. Most of their time together was in dream sequences.
In the backstory behind Lucretia and Crixus' love affair, Quintus Batiatus is infertile and cannot impregnate Lucretia. She initially decides to use Crixus to give her a child, as Gauls were fabled to be highly fertile. Eventually Lucretia becomes attached to Crixus; making him her sex slave and nearly ignoring the chance of getting pregnant. All of this is revealed in the prequel "Gods of the Arena."
It was believed that Gods of the Arena, the six-part prequel to Blood and Sand, was the second season. However, Gods of the Arena took place around five years before Blood and Sand, before Spartacus was enslaved and became a gladiator.
It is Crixus's fault that Spartacus and the rebels are defeated by Crassus in Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Victory (2013). In Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Separate Paths (2013) Crixus decides to breakaway from Spartacus and decides to fight the Romans on his army and leads a group to Rome, but the group is killed and Crixus is killed by Tiberius. If Crixus had not separated from Spartacus and fought the Romans on his own, Spartacus and the rebels could had won in the final battle with Crassus. But, Spartacus and the rebels didn't stand a chance without Crixus.