Spartacus: War Of The Damned, 307 - Liam McIntyre
Spartacus: War Of The Damned, 307 "Mors Idecepta" - Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) ©2012 Starz Entertainment

Creator, writer, and executive producer Steven S DeKnight tells here about the conclusion of Spartacus War of the Damned and the Startacus series of a whole.

Spartacus: War Of The Damned - Steven S DeKnight
Steven S DeKnight ©2012 Starz Entertainment

Steven first told about the writing style, “I always approached Spartacus as a grand operatic canvas. And that’s where everything is, the emotion, the language, the violence, they’re all bigger than life. They’re all stylized really. In the best kind of way, in the way that I love.”

Steven told that when they came to the end of the previous season Spartacus: Vengeance “We knew there was a 99% chance that the next season would be our last season. So it gave us plenty of lead time to plan the end of Vengeance. So we could springboard into War of the Damned.

He also mentioned that “it’s a very rare thing in television – we had plenty of time to figure out where we were going to go. The only question was how many episodes we were going to do. And we went through a lot of different variations. I mean everything from let’s do eight episodes so we can spend more money on each episode, to how about 16 episodes and we’ll air it in two parts. But ultimately we thought that 10 episodes would give you the most bang for your buck.”

Steven addressed the decision to end the show and who discision it was as it’s unusual to see a show as popular and does as well in the ratings as Spartacus. “It was a combination. It really was. There was a lot of factors going into it. Factors, everything from story, just looking – my original plan was five to seven seasons. Then we got to the war years and the more and more I researched, the more and more all of the things that happened in the war were incredibly interesting. Also incredibly expensive and somewhat repetitive.”

Spartacus: War Of The Damned, 307 - Simon Merrells and Liam McIntyre
Spartacus: War Of The Damned, 304 “Decimation” – Crassus (Simon Merrells) and Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) ©2012 Starz Entertainment

“Spartacus and his band of rebels didn’t exactly have a dramatic three act structure to what they were doing. They were all over the place. They fought among themselves, they split apart, they came back together, they split apart, they went North, they went South, they went East, they went West, they went back North, they went back South. It was really a – when you read it, you really get the sense that there was no plan. It was just, you know, they were out and about.”

“Then it was one wave after another of Romans going after them and Romans getting defeated. So I really struggled with how to lay this out in an entertaining fashion for two or three more seasons. Without completely jettisoning history. And I didn’t want to completely turn my back on history and just make it fictional.

“So it was a group decision, and a bold one I think for Starz. Everything they’ve done with this show has been a bold choice. But to end – and I kept saying, you know, look we would rather end this show on a high note at its most popular than drag it out for a couple more seasons. I thought it was a great opportunity to end it and really end it strong.”

About the real history and a possible a downer ending Steven had this to say. “It’s a gut wrenching finale. But the interesting thing, and I’m so proud of the series finale. It is a beautiful, powerful, emotional ending.

“I mean, everybody knows how it ends. It would be like doing a movie about the Titanic and the Titanic doesn’t sink.”

However he went on to say “Historically most people think Spartacus was crucified because that’s what happened in the Kurt Douglas movie. (Certainly) his body was never found. So we have some leeway. We stay pretty close to history. But there will be a few surprises in the end.”

Colin Davies

The editor of Film Review Online