Spartacus’ New Show Already Risks Hurting The TV Franchise’s Legacy

Summary

  • Spartacus: House Of Ashur takes strange ‘What If…?’ approach, lowering stakes for viewers and original series
  • Creating alternate history for loved show like Spartacus is off-putting, detracting from both show’s importance.
  • A typical Spartacus prequel may have been more engaging than House Of Ashur’s alternate timeline premise.



The new spin-off series, Spartacus: House of Ashur, already seems like it could be detrimental to the original historical fiction drama’s legacy. The original Starz series, which ran from 2010 to 2013, is considered one of the best historical TV shows of all time, known for its action-packed, raunchy ancient Roman adventures. In 2011, the prequel miniseries Spartacus: Gods of the Arena aired, expanding the TV series into a franchise.

All episodes of the first four seasons of
Spartacus
are currently streaming on Starz.

Like many shows, a Spartacus reboot is now in development, named after Nick E. Tarabay’s character from the original series. Spartacus: House of Ashur was announced in 2023 after years of attempting to get a spin-off made, with original showrunner Steven S. DeKnight set to return. The original Spartacus series saw the titular character meet his end in the finale, but there are plenty of riveting stories to tell in the world of Ancient Rome.



Spartacus: House Of Ashur Being A “What If…?” Scenario Lowers The Stakes

The “What If…?” Premise Takes Away Meaning From Both The New Show And The Original Spartacus

Spartacus: House of Ashur isn’t a prequel or sequel, but instead has a strange premise of being a “What If…?” scenario. Nick E. Tarabay will reprise his role as Ashur, examining an alternate timeline where the ex-gladiator hadn’t been killed in season 2. The show will ignore the events of Spartacus seasons 3 & 4, showing alternate possibilities for the historical fiction universe. Ashur was a fascinating character in the original series and one of the best villains in the show, but the spin-off’s premise is undoubtedly a strange idea.

it’s off-putting to create an alternate history for a series audiences have already seen and loved


“What If…?” scenarios are inherently engaging to discuss for media, so much so that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a whole animated series centered around them. However, the MCU’s show works because they’re essentially animated shorts, not an entire series. Of course, it’s all fiction, and none of it is “real,” but it’s off-putting to create an alternate history for a series audiences have already seen and loved. The “What If…?” premise essentially just detracts from the meaning of both shows, as now it’s uncertain which is the “real” ending that viewers should care about.

Related

Spartacus: 6 Things That Are Historically Accurate (& 6 Things That Are Completely Fabricated)

Was Spartacus real? While the Starz show was praised for its historical accuracy, that doesn’t quite mean that it got everything about the man right.


A Regular Spartacus Prequel Would Have Been Better Than House Of Ashur

Spartacus and the gladiators stand together while looking up in Spartacus

As previously mentioned, the number of stories to tell in Ancient Rome is infinite, and there are plenty of potential branches from the original Spartacus show that would’ve been more engaging. In a sense, exploring an alternate timeline would be a way to bring back the titular character of the Spartacus franchise, but there hasn’t been any news about Liam McIntyre’s involvement in the cast. He may be over a decade older than when the show ended, but he still could’ve pulled off a younger version of himself in a Spartacus prequel, alternatively.


Spartacus

Spartacus is a Starz original series that ran for three seasons between 2010 and 2013. The TV show focused on the historical figure Spartacus, who was originally played by Andy Whitfield before his untimely passing in 2011. Liam McIntyre took over the role for the next two seasons, Spartacus: Vengeance and Spartacus: War of the Damned.

Cast
nick tarabay , Liam McIntyre , Peter Mensah , Viva Bianca , Lucy Lawless , Andy Whitfield , Manu Bennett

Release Date
January 25, 2013

Seasons
3

Showrunner
Steven S. DeKnight