11:22am PT by Jethro Nededog
'Spartacus: Vengeance' Preview: 17 Things to Expect on Season 2 (Video)
Fans have waited two years for the continuation of the Starz original series. On Friday at 10 p.m., it’s back and approprately titled Spartacus: Vengeance.
“I felt very strongly that this season’s subtitle should be ‘Vengeance,’ " series creator Steven DeKnight tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Because the best thing about that subtitle is that it’s not just talking about Spartacus’ thirst for vengeance against the Romans for what they did with his wife -- everybody has an axe to grind.”
So, big changes are ahead in the world Spartacus: Vengeance as champions become rebels and slaves become warriors. Not the least of those changes is the replacement of its titular star Andy Whitfield (who lost his fight with lymphoma last September) with Australian actor Liam McIntyre. With Whitfield’s blessing, McIntyre steps into the role seamlessly but the actor says there was much to learn from his predecessor.
“In watching him, the thing that appealed to me as an actor and just as a viewer of the show was the way Andy captured Spartacus's humanity, as a human being where it could have been very easy to play Spartacus as just a one-dimensional hero type.,” McIntyre tells THR. “The thing that I loved about watching the show that I wanted to bring to my portrayal was how human that character was, and how he was affected by his trial and tribulations on an emotional level and struggled with his decisions.”
Take a look at THR’s ultimate primer for the new season as its cast describes 17 more things to expect from Spartacus: Vengeance.
1. Spartacus’ path to leadership starts in Vengeance. “The biggest challenge that Spartacus faces is embracing that bigger cause that I guess ultimately left its mark on history,” 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.”
2. Behold the Roman Republic. Season 2 takes a fascinating look at Roman politics and its response to the threat of the rebellion. And they really don’t disappoint. “I absolutely adore all the stuff that is written about the Romans,” 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.”
3. Slaves can become warriors. In the new season, the rebellion needs all the help in can muster against the Roman forces. “They really have a responsibility to their own survival to create their own force that can stand on their own two feet,” McIntyre Says. “So getting more people on board and making sure they're fighting fit becomes very important to the rebels.”
4. Crixus is being led by his heart. After having Naevia (now played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson) snatched away from him, Crixus is hell-bent on finding her again. “You enter the season with Crixus with a very definite goal, and that is to find Naevia,” Manu Bennett reveals.
5. Agron steps up to the challenge. With Crixus set on finding Naevia, Agron will become very important in the rebellion. “He definitely has a lot of opinions and he kind of develops into Spartie's right hand man,” Dan Feurriegel discloses. “And he's definitely got Spartie's ear. But, just whether or not he gets heard or not is the big thing. But you definitely do learn a lot more about Agron in this upcoming season.”
6. Lucretia is alive, but not well. Expect a very dramatic entrance from the former lady of the House of Batiatus on Season 2. She may have survived the slave rebellion, but she’s not necessarily herself. “Lucretia's lost everything,” Lucy Lawless says. “She's even lost her marbles.”
7. Oenomaus is a lone wolf. After being the top dog of the ludus, the character finds himself unable to join the rebels. “I think that's the biggest question he faces as the season starts is not having an affiliation to anyone in particular, not necessarily believing in the cause if there actually was one,” Peter Mensah says. “He has to figure out what to do with his life and it's sort of - so this season is a journey that he undergoes to understand and find a place in the world.”
8. Ilithyia is certainly not in the clear. “This show calmly comes and bites everyone in the ass. So, you know, Ilithyia will get her own,” says Viva Bianca. “But there's going to be a real journey for Ilithyia in Season 2, where she's on a roller coaster of just when she thought she's going to break through and reach her dreams, the rug will be pulled from beneath her. And she'll feel like she's falling through the depths of the earth. So it's a real dramatic roller coaster for Ilithyia.”
9. Welcome back, Gannicus. The former champion of Capua who we met in the prequel, Gods of the Arena, will reemerge. “There is another one of loved character called Gannicus [Dustin Clare] that might make a reappearance,” McIntyre teases. “And really mix things up and, again, sort of slinks between the worlds.”
10. Twins present double trouble. “In the Roman world comes these two Seppia [Hanna Mangan Lawrence] and Seppius [Tom Hobbs], a brother and sister duo,” 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.”
Seven more spoilers from Season 2 and a sneak peek video await you after the page break below.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro
11. With friends like these, why does Lucretia need enemies? The two end up living in the Batiatus house, though Lucretia is no longer its lady. “Lucretia and Ilithyia continue to have a very fraught relationship,” Lawless says. “Which is, Lucretia has to work very hard to make Ilithyia care about her again. And or at least need her, because Ilithyia just wants her dead.”
12. Love does wait for one man: Spartacus.After holding on to hope and then ultimately losing his wife in the first season, the gladiator may find love (and not just companionship). “I think Spartacus certainly wants so, and he's going to try,” McIntyre reveals about his character’s chances for love. “But it's very, very difficult of thing for him to try and - not only move on, but move into any relationship. So, it's a constant struggle throughout the season.”
13. But, Spartacus-Mira (Katrina Law) ‘shippers, beware. “There is another woman that comes in and challenges that relationship but, it's not in the way that you'd expect,” McIntyre teases.
14. Batiatus (John Hannah) is gone, but that doesn’t mean Lucretia’s love life is over.“Somebody does in fact fall in love with her, but the course of that love never did run smooth and certainly not in this case,” Lawless says. “So I don't want to give away too much but, yes, she does have two - I don't want to say romantic partners. But she enters into relationships with two people but Batiatus is never replaceable in her heart.”
15. Ashur will make an uneasy alliance with Lucretia.Without Batiatus, Ashur has to make himself a player to survive and Lucretia may be his best bet in this new world. “Certainly he's a touchstone to her past and to her husband,” Lawless says. “So she can't remember much, but he stirs something in her and look for more developments there, because [Nick E. Tarabay] and I talk about this all the time, we find our characters very much the same, really motivated by to survive in way they can. All bets are off with the two of them, so look out as they pair up.”
“Unlike every other season, he's his own man in a way and he's under really severe circumstances that he's going all out,” Tarabay says. “He goes all - I mean seriously, he has no boundaries, he fights really for what he thinks is right, and his goals get bigger and bigger.”
16. Oenomaus’ emotional origins will be revealed.While the prequel showed his earlier story in respect to the gladiators, we’ll learn more about Oenomaus’ past that humanizes him. “Everybody meets Oenomaus in the first season as Doctore. He's pretty impassive. He doesn’t' really let on much,” explains Mensah. “And as the story unfolds you see a human person and the reasons why he was the way he was when you first meet him and I think in this season we really get to explore when all those structures are gone from him he's incredibly vulnerable.”
17. Ashur’s eye is on Crixus.While Ashur has a bone to pick with many people, there’s really one person that he most needs vengeance on. “Ultimately his all-time nemesis is Crixus in a way,” Tarabay says. “In Ashur's mind in the Gods of the Arena, the prequel, he helped Crixus in the beginning and he was kind of by his side. And then Crixus turned sides and then crippled him in the end so - and took away what he really wanted so bad, which is to be accepted and to be part of the brotherhood. And so for that - and then on top of that in Season 1, he kept on pushing him down; suppressing him and really pushing him down throughout, which that added more to that fire that made Ashur the person that we got to know now.”
Watch a sneak peek from Spartacus: Vengeance below.
Which story line are you most excited about (and we know it’s hard to choose)? Tell us in the comments section below.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro