The upcoming third season of "Spartacus" will be the last for the series. On Monday, June 4, Starz announced the decision to cancel the Liam McIntyre starrer with a 10-episode season which is subtitled "War of the Damned".
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Steven S. DeKnight admits they make a "bold move" by ending the show when it still delivers high ratings for the cable channel. Still, he argues that they want to conclude "the show when you're on top and the audience still wants more instead of dragging it out until it starts to wane and you kind of limp to the finish line."
"My original thought was that this show could go five to seven seasons, but we realized the actual history is very scattershot," he goes on explaining. "The rebels went north, south, east, west, then back north, then broke apart, came back together. We thought, instead of repeating ourselves with one wave of Roman senators after another going after Spartacus, getting defeated, going after Spartacus, getting defeated, why not really condense the story, give the juiciest parts to Marcus Crassus (Simon Merrells)."
DeKnight additionally reveals that their decision to end the show next season "was one of the factors in the wholesale slaughter at the end of last season." He elaborates, "Where the story was going, for instance Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) and Ilithyia (Viva Bianca) really didn't fit in world of Marcus Crassus and Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance) in any kind of natural, organic storytelling way. There was a bit of housecleaning at the end of that season to prep for this final season."
On how he pictures the final frame of "Spartacus", DeKnight gushes that their goal is "to end with a defeat but with a ray of hope," as he thinks, "It'd be a disservice to the audience to spend four years watching the struggle, murder everybody and say, 'Well, they lost.' You definitely need to end on some sense that the struggle was worth it, whether win, lose or draw; that it's worth standing up to oppression."
Asked if he would do a Julius Caesar spin-off after bringing the historical figure into season 3 of "Spartacus", DeKnight doesn't rule out the possibility. "We are open to, down the road, revisiting this world, whether it's Julius Caesar, whether it's set in the same time period or whether it's a little later in the time period. The look and the feel of the show would be a natural candidate for a spin-off down the road," so he claims.
To tease fans of the final season, Starz has unleashed the poster via Entertainment Weekly. Meanwhile, the first promo video was debuted last weekend, promising more blood battle scenes. The production is currently underway in New Zealand for a January 2013 premiere.