The action series "Spartacus" has been renewed for a third season, the network Starz, announced on Monday, November 7.
"There is no denying the impact 'Spartacus' has had in the marketplace with fans across the globe thirsting for the continuation of the epic tale," Starz Media managing director Carmi Zlotnik said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Production of the third season will begin in 2012 in New Zealand. "The executives at Starz have been extremely supportive in giving us creative freedom and allowing us to tell the story in a rich, yet bold way that leaves an indelible mark on its fans," Steven S. DeKnight, the series show runner, told the industry paper.
The renewal might come as a surprise considering the second season of the series, titled "Spartacus: Vengeance" is set to premiere on January 27, 2012 at 10 p.m. The new season features Liam McIntyre in the title role. McIntyre replaced former star Andy Whitfield, who dropped out of the role to resume aggressive treatment of his Stage 1 non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Whitfield died on September 11 at the age of 39. He died in Sydney, Australia. His wife, Vashti, called her husband a "beautiful young warrior" who died on a "sunny Sydney morning" in the "arms of his loving wife."
Whitfield was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in March 2010 and began treatment. Production on the second season of the "Spartacus" was put on hold and a prequel series called, "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," was created to bridge a gap.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Andy Whitfield," Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht said in a statement on September 11. "We were fortunate to have worked with Andy in `Spartacus' and came to know that the man who played a champion on-screen was also a champion in his own life."
McIntyre has appeared on Australian TV and was seen in HBO's miniseries "The Pacific."
Check out a preview of McIntyre in "Spartacus: Vengeance" below.