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Trivia / Spartacus: Blood and Sand

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  • Author Existence Failure: The show suffered from this twice.
    • Original lead star Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with cancer immediately after the inaugural season aired. A Prequel second season was written to give him recovery time, and when that ultimately didn't happen, he was recast in the final two seasons. He passed away immediately after Vengeance finished production.
    • SFX Lead editor Grant Konfeld passed away sometime before the final season.
  • Billing Displacement: Many actors play prominent characters and yet aren't included (or even promoted) in the main billing.
    • Lesley-Ann Brandt (Naevia), Antonio Te Maioha (Barca) and Craig Walsh-Wrightson (Solonius) in both Blood and Sand and Gods of the Arena. Ironically, Brandt's replacement Cynthia Addai-Robinson gets the promotion to the closing credits.note 
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    • Heath Jones (Donar) and Barry Duffiel (Lugo) in both Vengeance and War of the Damned.
    • Jai Courtney (Varro) in Blood and Sand.
    • Jeffrey Thomas (Titus Batiatus) and Stephen Lovatt (Tullius) in Gods of the Arena.
    • Pane Hema Taylor (Nasir), Peter McCauley (Lucuius Caelius) and Hannah Mangan-Lawrence (Seppia) in Vengeance. Taylor was promoted the following season.
    • Gwendoline Taylor (Sybil) in War of the Damned.
  • Breakthrough Hit: The TV series significantly raised Steven S. DeKnight's profile as a showrunner.
  • Cast the Expert: For the orgy scenes, a professional New Zealand company that specialises in sexual gatherings was hired. They were told to do whatever they wanted on camera, and anything that was too much for the network would be edited.
  • Corpsing: The infamous Bed Trick scene in the episode "Whore" took twelve hours to film, not helped by the fact that Andy Whitfield and Viva Bianca kept bursting into hysterical laughter while their characters were having sex.
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  • Creator Breakdown: In an interview before the premiere of War of the Damned, Manu Bennett lamented his belief that the show could go for one more season (seeing that said season is a Compressed Adaptation, he may have had a valid point).
  • Dyeing for Your Art: The actors playing the gladiators had a strict boot camp and diet to ensure their physiques. The women had a strict diet and workout too, but obviously not the extent of the gladiator one. However, there are specific examples:
    • Liam McIntyre came onto the series severely underweight from another role, and had to bulk up.
    • Manu Bennett actually grew his hair and beard twice for the series.
    • The naturally blond Anna Hutchinson had to dye her hair red to play Laeta.
  • Executive Meddling: A truly bizarre case, mingled with Cast the Expert above. For the series' first big orgy scene (episode 6 of Blood And Sand), the director had noted that Starz kept telling the production crew that they could go farther with the sex, nudity, blood, violence, and profanity. So the director deliberately went as far he could think to go in filming the orgy scene to try and make the Starz executives finally say "okay, that's too far." The bulk of what was shot ended up in the episode.
    • In a smaller example, Starz not only gave permission, but encouraged the use of Male Frontal Nudity. This led to Manu Bennet deciding to play his first scene as Crixus with Spartacus completely nude, which gave Crixus' bluster a much different tone.
  • Fake Nationality: Nobody is from any of the areas of the Roman Republic where their characters would have originated:
    • Welsh-Australian Andy Whitfield and Australian Liam McIntyre play a Thracian, who inhabited south-eastern Europe, beyond the borders of Ancient Greece (modern northeastern Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey).
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    • Scottish John Hannah plays an Italian.
    • New Zealanders Lucy Lawless, Craig Parker and Anna Hutchison all play Italians.
    • Australian Viva Bianca plays an Italian.
    • American Erin Cummings plays a Thracian (no modern equivalent, though from southeast/eastern Europe and Near East.
    • American (of Italian-German-Taiwanese descent) Katrina Law plays a Hispanic woman.
    • Mixed-race Australian/New Zealander Caucasian/Maori Manu Bennett plays a Gaul.
    • Australian Dan Feuerriegel plays a German.
    • Maori New Zealander Pana Hema-Taylor plays a Syrian.
    • Maori New Zealander Antonio Te Maioha plays a Carthaginian.
    • American Nick Tarabay (of Lebanese descent) plays a Syrian.
    • Australian Dustin Clare plays a Celt.
    • English Jaime Murray and Simon Merells both play Italians.
    • Mixed race South African Lesley-Ann Brandt and black English-American Cynthia Addai-Robinson play a Phoenician.
    • Australian Eka Darville plays an Egyptian.
    • Australian Todd Lasance plays historical Italian dictator Julius Caesar.
    • Mixed race New Zealander Temuera Morrison plays an Egyptian.
  • Fake Brit: Combining most of the above with The Queen's Latin results in this trope.
  • Follow the Leader: The influence of 300, Rome and Gladiator is pretty obvious here.
  • In Memoriam: The first episode of Vengeance had an ending dedication to Andy Whitfield, the series' original lead. He is honored again in the Grand Finale, this time along with the show's VFX lead editor Grant Konfeld.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: This show shares practically half of its cast with Legend of the Seeker.
  • Method Acting: Cynthia Addai-Robinson was crying for real during Crixus' death scene, using the death of her father (who had recently passed away from cancer at the time). Manu Bennett, who didn't know how he was going to play the scene, said once she told him what she would be doing, he realized he didn't have to do anything but react to her. The look of support Crixus gives Naevia is actually from Manu to Cynthia.
  • The Other Darrin:
  • Playing Against Type: To most American audiences, John Hannah. Widely known as bumbling brother Jonathan in the Mummy movies, he shows a very dark side in the fifth episode. To a lesser extent, Lucy Lawless as his conniving wife. The two actors enjoyed playing against type so much that they both came back to reprise their characters for the upcoming prequel mini-series.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Liam McIntyre had been a huge fan of the show.
  • Reality Subtext: As mentioned in Method Acting above, Cynthia Addai-Robinson has just lost her father to cancer prior to filming War of the Damned, which she used in making Naevia's grief at losing Crixus in the last two episodes feel genuine.
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: The late Andy Whitfield is considered the star of the show by pretty much everyone despite only appearing in the inaugural season (two if you count flashback cameos in the prequel). Even Liam McIntyre outright stated upon being cast that he hated the fact that he had to replace him.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Many fans don't seem to know how to spell Ilithyia's name correctly.
  • Star-Making Role:
  • Those Two Actors:
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Varro was supposed to die in "Mark of the Brotherhood", but Jai Courtney's friendship and chemistry with Andy Whitfield led to his death being pushed back.
    • "Delicate Things" was initially intended to be largely a flashback episode showing Spartacus's and Sura's relationship from their first meeting until the beginning of the show.
    • In "Revelations", Solonius was meant to try to flee from Spartacus and die a coward, but the writers changed their minds due to the actor's good work and impressive physique, leading to Solonius fighting back and dying a warrior's death.
    • During Titus Batiatus' death scene, his son Quintus Batiatus was meant to be present. With his dying breath, Titus would request Oenomaus be freed. Quintus would then decide not to honor this last request.
    • In "Libertus", when the rebels infiltrate the arena to bring it down, it was planned that Tullius' corpse be found at one point, OR Tullius would have somehow survived, but gone mad and be eating rats in the depths of the arena. Also, the spear that killed Cossutius was meant to have gone into his mouth and out the back of his head, as a fitting Karmic Death for a rapist.
    • The penultimate episode, The Dead and the Dying, was originally meant to be closer to the historical event in which Spartacus would have captured several Romans and forced them to fight each other in gladiatorial combat to honor Crixus, which would culminate in a battle between Ceasar and Tiberius. The writers decided that they couldn't have the second to last episode be nothing but the protagonists sitting down watching other people fight, so it was rewritten so that Spartacus, Gannicus, and the others fought the Romans themselves.
    • Mira was originally going to survive "Wrath of the Gods", and would have eventually become Gannicus' lover.
    • Agron was planned to die in the ludus massacre instead of Duro, but producers realised it would have more emotional impact if it was the latter. This is hilarious considering Agron is one of the few characters to survive the series.
    • A movie was planned, taking place between Vengeance and War of the Damned, but producers realised too much would have to be censored to get an NC-17 rating in the US.
    • Stephen Amell, Aidan Turner, and Prison Break alumns Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell were the ones considered to replace Andy Whitfield as Spartacus before Liam McIntyre was cast. A lot of the show's cast would later appear on Amell's own Arrow and its spin-offs, including McIntyre (as well as both Miller and Purcell, strangely enough).
    • Lucretia was supposed to have died in the Season 1 finale along with everyone else. However Lucy Lawless proved popular on set and producers loved her performance so much, she was brought back for Season 2. According to Viva Bianca, Illythia was meant to die in the ludus massacre too - but when Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with cancer and Lesley-Ann Brandt chose not to renew her contract, Steven S. DeKnight wanted to keep as many familiar faces around to help viewers with the transition.
    • Barca was written to be Oenomaeus originally and the brotherly bond with Crixus was intended for him. However Antonio Te Maoiha was only available for six episodes, so they rewrote the character to be Barca, and then had Doctore revealed to be Oenomaeus.
    • Steven S. DeKnight had stories planned to go a few more years, but the network decided to end after Season 3. They told him in advance, so he could wrap up the story.


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