Starz Developing New Series From ‘Spartacus,’ ‘Thor’ Writers

"Spartacus" creator Steven DeKnight's new "Incursion" will be an "epic science fiction action-thriller," network says

Starz is developing "Vlad Dracula," a new take on the classic vampire tale with J. Michael Straczynski, the network said Wednesday.

The network is also developing  "Incursion," a new series from "Spartacus" creator Steven S. DeKnight.

Writer/producer Straczynski, whose credits include "Thor," "Underworld: Awakening" and "Babylon 5," is teaming with producer Roy Lee, a heavy hitter in the horror genre whose credits include "The Ring," "The Woman in Black" and "The Strangers" for "Vlad Dracula," which Starz says will offer "a unique spin" on the Dracula tale that blends "the historical facts of the 15th century Prince of Wallachia." The series will trace the prince's "evolution from a revered ruler to the world's most feared vampire, and his slow downfall as he struggles desperately to hang on to his humanity, his wife and his kingdom."

Producer Rob Tapert, who has worked on Starz's "Spartacus," as well as "Xena: Warrior Princess," "Evil Dead" and "The Grudge," is also on board for the project.

Also read: "Spartacus" Ending After Season 3

DeKnight's "Incursion," meanwhile, is being described as "an epic science fiction action-thriller that follows a squad of soldiers caught in a war against a hostile alien race. Each season the battle will be fought on a new, exotic planet as humanity punches deeper into enemy territory." The series is being developed as part of DeKnight's overall deal with Starz.

"Spartacus," created by DeKnight, will end its run after its third season, which is titled "Spartacus: War of the Damned" and will air in January. DeKnight said in June that choosing to end the show was "an extremely difficult and emotional decision for my partners and I."

Also read: Hard Knocks Hollywood: J. Michael Straczynski

The series had been troubled by the health woes of its original star, Andy Whitfield, who suffered from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Whitfied was forced to drop out of the series after the first season. Whitfield, who died in Sept. 2011, was replaced by Liam McIntyre.  

Carmi Zlotnik, Starz's managing director, called DeKnight, Straczynski, Lee and Tapert "legendary talents, having created some of the most groundbreaking and iconic television series with incredibly passionate fan bases the world over.  We are thrilled to work with such sophisticated auteurs and producers as we grow the slate of unique Starz original series.”