NEW YORK - A prequel to the hit series Spartacus: Blood and Sand is in the works.
Andy Whitfield played the gladiator hero in the Starz channel's breakout first season in the US and will briefly appear in the prequel. But co-stars Lucy Lawless and John Hannah take centre stage for the six-episode miniseries leading up to Spartacus' arrival as a captured Thracian slave.
Shooting begins in New Zealand soon.
Production of the Spartacus series' second season was postponed this spring when Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
The cable television network says Whitfield is responding well to treatment.
The network said yesterrday it looks forward to continuing the Spartacus saga.
The still-untitled prequel is scheduled to start airing in the US next January.