Andy Whitfield tragically cannot return to the role of Spartacus because his cancer has come out of remission. At the Television Critics Association panel for the prequel series, "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," series producer Rob Tapert updated us on the status of their search for a new Spartacus.

"We are looking at actors to play Spartacus," Tapert said. "They’ve committed to going forward with a season two. Andy Whitfield who’s unable to play Spartacus will be recast. That’ll be a separate announcement in the coming months as to who is the new Spartacus."

The prequel came out of the hope that Whitfield could return after a round of treatment, so they could do a shorter run without him. Even though it did not work out for his return, Whitfield leaves a legacy that will benefit the next Spartacus.

"Nothing good came from losing Andy in terms of the guy for that role," Tapert said. "We have had the luxury now of building an infrastructure and having the prequel which sharpened the performances, the skills, the actors and brought them all together. If there’s any upside to Andy’s illness, it is we are better prepared to support the new Spartacus when he comes into the role, what will be a very epic season two. It’s a different world and a different set of shoes to film so we feel confident, as does Starz, that we’ll find the right person."

"Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" starts January 21 on Starz.