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'Spartacus' to end after upcoming third season

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Spartacus is to end after its upcoming third season, which is to be subtitled War of the Damned.

The series has scored impressive ratings and is cable channel Starz's biggest hit, but Spartacus creator Steven S DeKnight told IGN that it is time to conclude the show after three full-length seasons and the much-lauded 2011 prequel miniseries.

Spartacus Vengeance: Liam McIntyre

© Starz



"Starz always does the unexpected. This show has been challenged, to say the least, in many, many ways. We've faced many difficulties and tragedies on the show," DeKnight said. "My original plan was to attack the show in a five to seven season arc. Once we got into it and after Andy [Whitfield]'s passing and looking at the historical story of Spartacus, we came to the decision to basically end on a high note."

The writer further explained: "We certainly could have continued for a few more seasons and stretched it out, but we really wanted to end high and not feel like we were treading water - and really just condense the rest of the history into one amazing ten-episode, badass final season. You know, the whole show was a huge risk from the start for Starz, and it was another huge risk when I decided to try to keep the show going after Andy's passing.

"Any normal studio would have just cancelled the show at that point and not risk the financial downside of it not working. But Starz, thankfully, really stuck by the show, and they really wanted it to be told all the way to the end. They didn't want to cheat the viewers and just suddenly pull the plug."

Spartacus: Blood And Sand

© Starz

Lucy Lawless in 'Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena'

© Rex Features / Starz/Evertt



He added: "So they gave us this opportunity to wrap up the story, and we're certainly taking that opportunity and running with it. This is by far the biggest season we've ever attempted."

DeKnight went on to say that the decision to end Spartacus was made in cooperation with Starz.

"There was a lot of conversation. We knew towards the end of making the last season - we were 90% sure that we would be wrapping it up," he said. "Then there were a lot of questions and back and forth about do we do ten episodes, do we do 12, do we do 16, do we do 20? Ultimately, when we looked at it from all angles both financially and creatively, we decided, 'Let's do ten. Let's take history, take the best parts of the story and really just try to end this as strong as possible'."

Lucy Lawless in 'Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena'

© Rex Features / Starz/Evertt

Spartacus: Vengeance: Liam McIntyre as Spartacus

© Starz



DeKnight continued: "I think the last thing Starz would want to do is, because it's a success, drag it out and then have it end when it's on the downslide; when people start to get tired of it and less interested and we start repeating ourselves.

"That would just be a horrible way to go out. But the thing about this show is, I think it is an incredibly risky thing to end it now. We'll have to wait and see if that's a good way to go or a bad way to go."

Starz also confirmed the end of Spartacus on Monday (June 4), with CEO Chris Albrecht paying tribute to the legacy of the epic drama programme.

"Spartacus is a landmark series for the network which has enthralled millions of viewers and fans around the world," Albrecht said. "We are in agreement with our partners in the decision to conclude the story after War of the Damned, as we believe it is the best way to maintain the integrity of the series and secure its legacy. While everyone may know the fate of Spartacus, we believe this will be a spectacular season that will startle, amaze and honour the legions of fans."

The popular series has earned numerous awards and nominations, including Lucy Lawless's Saturn Award win for 'Best Supporting Actress' in 2011.

Spartacus: War of the Damned is expected to premiere in January 2013.

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