Starz have announced that the third season of their highly-rated Spartacus (or fourth if you count the prequel miniseries) will be its last. The final season, Spartacus: War Of The Damned, will premiere in January 2013 and conclude the story, inspired by the real-life tale of a rebellious gladiator.
Showrunner Steven S. DeKnight: "It was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for my partners and I. Yet, in the end, the story was best served by rolling all of the remaining action and drama of Spartacus' journey into one stunningly epic season that will be extremely satisfying for everyone who's been along for the ride."
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht: "Spartacus is a landmark series for the network which has enthralled millions of viewers and fans around the world. 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."
Spartacus: War Of The Damned is currently filming in New Zealand, and will reveal that Spartacus and his rebels will have amassed a 30,000-strong army since the events of Vengeance's finale. The new season will introduce new characters Gaius Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance), Marcus Crassus (Simon Merrells) and Laeta (Anna Hutchinson).
What do you make of this news? I think it's perfect, because there were already signs in Spartacus: Vengeance that the show's getting staler the longer it's around. I'm glad the series will build to an epic conclusion while fans are still passionate and excited about the story, instead of lingering around for years and years because Starz refuse to let their biggest hit end. (ahem, HBO and True Blood). Kudos to everyone involved in this decision-making.
I hope we get a fitting end to the story. Something tells me it'll be a bloodthirsty one!