Starz network was doing Television Critics Association Winter 2011 Session on Friday, January 7 and with it came the confirmation that Andy Whitfield will not return to "Spartacus: Blood and Sand". The news has actually been shared late last year as the network conducted a search for a replacement.
"We are looking at potential actors to play Spartacus," executive producer Rob Tapert told reporters in Pasadena, Calif. The second season was green lit without Whitfield in the picture because the actor is battling Hodkin lymphoma. "They've committed to going forward with Season 2, [and] that Andy Whitfield, who is unable to play Spartacus, will be recast," Tapert added.
Back in November 2010, the producers flew in three little-known actors, Stephen Amell, Aiden Turner and Liam McIntyre, to try out. But Tapert has no announcement on this. "We don't have casting news but, we're very confident where we are in the casting process that we will find an actor who will step in the sandals of Spartacus although we will never be able to replace Andy Whitfield," he shared.
According to Starz's rep, Whitfield is "very supportive of our decision to recast the role". Tapert said, "Nothing good came from losing Andy. But we had the luxury of building an infrastructure with having the prequel. If there us any upside to Andy's illness, it is that we are better equipped to support the the new Spartacus." The prequel "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" starts January 21.