July 14, 2012 7:56pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Comic-Con 2012: 'Spartacus' Team on the New Trailer, Honoring Andy Whitfield (Video)
When Starz and Spartacus creator Steven S. DeKnight announced that the series' upcoming season would be its last, they insisted the scope of the production during final run would take the series to a new level.
And from the looks of the first trailer for War of the Damned, which debuted at Comic-Con, Spartacus' battles with Rome should top anything previously seen in the arena.
DeKnight and stars Liam McIntyre, Manu Bennett, Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Lucy Lawless all stopped by The Hollywood Reporter’s exclusive Comic-Con video lounge to talk about the especially rigorous shoot -- at least for those whose characters are still alive.
"We just left the set," says Bennett of the New Zealand shoot. "We're red in the face and exhausted."
VIDEO: 'Spartacus' Final Season Trailer Bows
McIntyre, whose hands were still covered in soap-resistant makeup, thinks the scope makes for a fitting end.
"You could sort of tell from the scripts that they were going to wind things up, but in a pretty amazing way by the way things looked in episodes two and three," he says.
One cast member whose character has already been dispatched is Lawless. She's still attached enough to make the trek to their San Diego panel and gets a little giddy when the conversation turns to Lucretia's end.
"I thought it was a magnificent way to go out," she says, pointing out the parallels to Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in Alien 3. "I knew how this would play out, and it was really important to know what her end game was, and that everything was part of that prophecy to take her baby to the afterlife."
And though War of the Damned doesn't inspire much confidence in the final season's mortality rate, DeKnight says nothing is set in stone.
VIDEO: Inside THR's Comic-Con Video Lounge Featuring the Festival's Biggest Names
"Their fate is quasi set... we take some liberties for dramatic reasons," he says. "Most people think because of the Kirk Douglas movie that Spartacus was crucified. Historically, his body was never found."
Wrapping up the series' historic storyline is just one of their priorities moving towards the end. The entire Spartacus team emphasizes the work of original star Andy Whitfield, who died of Leukemia last September, at every opportunity.
"As we come to the end of our show, it's really important to recognize what an important job that Andy Whitfield did," says Bennett, sporting a t-shirt that reads "Be Here Now." It's the same phrase Whitfield had tattooed on his arm during his cancer treatment and the name of an upcoming documentary about his life.
Watch THR's complete interview with the Spartacus cast above -- including the chaos that ensues when someone's cellphone goes off.