From his distant days as a Thracian warrior fighting for Rome to his time as the slave who became the champion gladiator of Capua, Spartacus is now the unlikely but fated leader of one of history’s first revolts for freedom. Spartacus fights to keep the bonds of his fractured band of former gladiators and slaves from fraying. To do this, he must strike a balance between the rigorous sacrifices required of a leader and his personal thirst for bloody vengeance against the Romans who robbed him of his former life.
Lucretia is the Roman widow found alive in her ruined villa, having survived the bloody gladiator revolt that took the life of her husband, the gladiator owner Batiatus. The traumatic devastation that was visited upon her has upended her world and her mind struggles to adjust to a new reality. Where once she and her husband maneuvered to ascend the social ranks of the Roman hierarchy, Lucretia is now left alone to hang on and merely survive.
Crixus is the former champion gladiator ousted by Spartacus who at a crucial moment came to his rival’s aid and facilitated the escape from Batiatus’s ludus. Crixus is looked up to by his fellow Gauls and is thus a crucial figure in Spartacus’ attempts to hold together the ethnically diverse group of rebels he commands. But Crixus burns for no higher cause than finding his lost love Naevia. If he can’t find and save the woman that was taken from him he’ll lose his reason for living and the rebellion will lose one of its fiercest fighters.
Gannicus is the former champion of Capua in the time before Spartacus, whose freedom was earned not by rebellion but by victory in the arena. Though free, he has been shorn of the gladiatorial glory that was once his and is now a rogue wanderer haunted by the guilt he feels for betraying his best friend Oenomaus and the death of Melitta. Gannicus seeks to atone for his mistakes but betrayals are not easily forgiven in the midst of rebellion and vengeance.
The man once known as Doctore and proud of the mantle, Oenomaus is no longer a trainer of gladiators but a man now searching for his place in the world. Bereft of a wife and an occupation, he finds himself caught in the middle between his former loyalties to the Roman way of things and the rebellion against that way by the men he used to command. Oenomaus is a man with nothing left to lose; whose ferocious talent for fighting and teaching could potentially be a powerful gain for Spartacus’ cause.
“In the Roman world comes these two Seppia [Hanna Mangan Lawrence] and Seppius [Tom Hobbs], a brother and sister duo,” Lucy Lawless teases. “And they're a funky little pair and something weird is up with them so keep watching those two. They're going to be trouble one way or another.”
With his master Batiatus dead, the ever devious Ashur seeks a powerful new patron who will appreciate his cunning gifts. He offers the experience gained from his years among the gladiators before they escaped from the House of Batiatus, which makes him an essential link between the mutinous Spartacus and the powerful Romans who seek his destruction. Beholden only to his own desire for enrichment and power, Ashur reveals a new layer of treachery that any who cross him will have to contend with.
Ilithyia is the alluring and cunning wife of Glaber. Wanting nothing more than a life of comfort and upward mobility in Rome, she is dismayed to be bound to her husband’s unfortunate burden of extinguishing the rebellion in Capua. Returning to the city where she witnessed, and caused, so much bloody intrigue threatens to destroy the standing she has long thought rightfully hers.
Profoundly dedicated to Spartacus, Mira (Katrina Law) is a freed slave who played a vital part in helping Spartacus plot and execute the escape from Batiatus’ ludus and thus helped to trigger the uprising that now grows in strength.
Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) is the former body slave to Lucretia who was banished from the ludus for engaging in a love affair with Crixus and taken away in Season 1. “You enter the season with Crixus with a very definite goal, and that is to find Naevia,” Manu Bennett reveals.
Gaius Claudius Glaber is the Roman commander who condemned Spartacus and his wife to slavery. Now holding the high rank of praetor within the senate, Glaber must put an end to the budding rebellion, to defuse the threat to the Republic and fend off the political rivals that stand to outmaneuver him. If he can successfully put his capacity for ruthlessness and hatred for Spartacus to work, he might win the glory and fame he’s always craved.
“The biggest challenge that Spartacus faces is embracing that bigger cause that I guess ultimately left its mark on history,” Liam McIntyre says. “Which is that of taking these disparate people - these rebels, and building them into a force that is for a while certainly the match of Rome.”
“I absolutely adore all the stuff that is written about the Romans,” Liam McIntyre admits. “I was so jealous reading those scripts as they came through; I'm like that's awesome. Because, there are so many twists and turns and so many power plays and so many shifts in direction for all of those characters.”
Who better to judge the best movies of all time than the people who make them? Studio chiefs, Oscar winners and TV royalty all were surveyed as THR publishes its first definitive entertainment-industry ranking of cinema's most superlative. View gallery