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Good news and bad news, fans of “Spartacus” on the Starz network: we now know that the upcoming third season, set to premiere early next year in January 2013, has been given a subtitle — “War of the Damned”.
Bad news? The show’s third season will also be its last.
Now before you start that writing campaign, it turns out this is less of a cancellation and more of a decision by the producers and the Starz suits. In fact, to hear producer/showrunner Steven S. DeKnight tell it, they knew even before the end of Season 2, “Vengeance” that they were going to end the show with the third season.
The producer tells IGN:
My original plan was to attack the show in a five to seven season arc. Once we got into it and after Andy’s passing and looking at the historical story of Spartacus, we came to the decision to basically end on a high note. We certainly could have continued for a few more seasons and stretched it out, but we really wanted to end high and not feel like we were treading water – and really just condense the rest of the history into one amazing ten-episode, badass final season.
So when did they make the decision?
We knew towards the end of making the last season – we were 90 percent sure that we would be wrapping it up. And then there were a lot of questions and back and forth about do we do ten episodes, do we do 12, do we do 16, do we do 20? Ultimately, when we looked at it from all angles both financially and creatively, we decided, “Let’s do ten. Let’s take history, take the best parts of the story and really just try to end this as strong as possible.”
IGN has a very extensive interview with Knight, so if you’re a fan of the show, I recommend giving it a whirl. It’s quite revealing about the process that went into the ending of the show, as well as what to expect from the coming season.
Meanwhile, Starz has released a new promo trailer touting the new subtitle and the show’s final season. It’s essentially the same promo as the one we posted earlier, but with new titles.
Update: Here’s DeKnight making the announcement on the cancellation himself.