When Starz released Spartacus (Full title Spartacus: Blood and Sand) in 2010 the graphic historical genre was riding a 10-year high after hits like Gladiator, 300: Rise of an Empire, Deadwood and Rome had people talking. Each one seemed to be even more graphic than the previous one and Spartacus took it over the top and it was one of my favorite shows.
The series is loosely based on the true exploits of the gladiator/slave Spartacus who led a slave revolt in 73 B.C., known as the Third Serville War. Since very little is known of the real Spartacus Starz improvised with plenty of sex and blood with the lead character played by Andy Whitfield. After the first season ended Whitfield was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, normally a very survivable cancer (My brother is a survivor) so Starz decided to do a prequel during Whitfield’s treatment. Sadly, Whitfield lost his battle in September 2011 and Starz decided to go on with the series for the originally planned three seasons with Liam McIntyre taking over the role of Spartacus for the final two seasons. But the show wasn’t the same, though entertaining, without Whitfield as Spartacus the origination storyline seemed broken.
Starz did include previous unreleased scenes of Whitfield through the series and after the series finale after the credits rolled they showed Andy Whitfield screaming “I Am Spartacus!” which was very appreciated by fans.
Rittenhouse released sets for each of the Spartacus seasons which some included Andy Whitfield autographs, though they were extremely outside of my price range, but when I came across an Andy Whitfield shadowbox In Memoriam card I had to have it. These were inserted as box toppers in the 2012 Rittenhouse Spartacus Gods and Arenas (the prequel) release and because the very limited boxes were released with $750 SRP (I believe there were 250 total boxes produced) these shadowbox cards rarely show up, though they are not very expensive when they do sell.