In 2012, two years after the series initially debuted, the second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand – entitled Spartacus: Vengeance will finally see its way to television screens everywhere. Though it is still several months away, fans can take a glimpse of the newly-cast Spartacus, Liam McIntyre, with these recently-released photos and hear him in the short teaser.

Although it seems like ages ago, it was only 2010 that Starz dipped into the forays of original programming with their exceedingly stylistic take on tale of Spartacus. Executive produced by Evil Dead duo Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert, and heavily inspired by the film 300, the blood and sex-filled series quickly became a hit for Starz. It seemed the show, and its star Andy Whitfield, were primed for a long, successful run.

However, those plans had to be put on hold – and much to the network’s credit, they were. Shortly after the first season, Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma – the ongoing treatment of which caused him to eventually cede the role to McIntyre.

While placing the ongoing series on hold, Starz crafted an incredibly well written, cast and acted mini-series Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which acted as a prequel to the first season. Not only did Spartacus: GOTA prove that prequels could actually be good, the six-episode series further enriched the Spartacus universe by focusing on the owner of the ludus Batiatus (John Hannah) and his wife Lucretia (Lucy Lawless) – while providing a deeper glimpse at key characters like Crixus (Manu Bennett) and Oenomaus/Doctore (Peter Mensah), before they had reached their prime.

The mini-series also displayed the forethought of the writers by introducing Gannicus (Dustin Clare) in a major role, which will eliminate the need for nasty exposition should he (hopefully) be seen again once Spartacus is in need of generals to assist in his impending war.

After the success of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, it was obvious that fans were still eager to have more gladiatorial action. Although many fans may be turned off by the thought of replacing Whitfield, it is the hope of all involved in the series that the audience will quickly warm up to McIntyre as the overall story progresses.

Series creator Steven S. DeKnight recently acknowledged the fans’ hesitation by saying, “I absolutely expect resistance. It’s absolutely impossible to replicate your lead actor and not expect some reluctance [from the audience].”

Perhaps one important note may be that McIntyre has inherited the title role with Whitfield’s blessing. DeKnight said the actor “got in touch with us and said, ‘I love this story, I love the character, and I want to see it played all the way through, and you have my full support to do that.”

Check out the full image of McIntyre as Spartacus:

Not everything has changed, however. The aforementioned Crixus and Doctore will be back, as will many of the supporting characters like Ashur (Nick Tarabay), Claudius Glaber (Craig Parker) and Ilithyia (Viva Bianca).

One return many will certainly welcome is that of Lucy Lawless’ character, Lucretia – thought dead at the hands of Crixus during the first season’s bloody climax. It seems Spartacus and his band of slaves won’t be the only ones looking for a little vengeance come early 2012.

Take a look at the teaser below:

Look for plenty more news on Spartacus: Vengeance at the show’s Comic Con panel featuring DeKnight, McIntyre and Lawless.

Spartacus: Vengeance airs on Starz in January 2012.

Source: Entertainment Weekly, The Wrap