The Starz Network’s Starticus series, created by Steven S. DeKnight, began with Spartacus: Blood and Sand, aired in 2010. This new imagining of the Spartacus story was filled with stylized violence and sex. Unfortunately, its star, Andy Whitfield, was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma near the end of the first season.
A flashback episode had been planned for the show’s second season. DeKnight expanded this material into the six-episode prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which aired in 2011. (Although a flashback, it was framed by events occurring at the end of Blood and Sand, preventing it from being a true prequel.) Whitfield gave his blessing for the show to continue without him, and he was recast with Liam McIntyre — one of the very few times a television lead has ever been recast. Whifield died on 1 September 2011.
A new season, subtitled Vengeance, aired in 2012. The show’s third and final full season (not counting Gods of the Arena) aired in 2013.