"Spartacus" will end its run with its upcoming third season, entitled "Spartacus: War of the Damned," Starz announced Monday.
The final season will air in January. It ends a run that began with the first season, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," in January 2010.
"We did not come to this decision lightly," said creator and executive producer Steven S. DeKnight. "It was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for my partners and I. Yet, in the end, the story was best served by rolling all of the remaining action and drama of Spartacus' journey into one stunningly epic season that will be extremely satisfying for everyone who's been along for the ride."
The show nearly came to an end after its first season when original Spartacus Andy Whitfield was unable to return because of his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was replaced by Liam McIntyre, and died in September 2011.
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Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said in January of 2011 that the network debated whether to bring the show back. On Monday, he called it "one of the most groundbreaking shows we have ever seen."
"’Spartacus’ is a landmark series for the network which has enthralled millions of viewers and fans around the world," he said. "We are in agreement with our partners in the decision to conclude the story after ‘War of the Damned,’ as we believe it is the best way to maintain the integrity of the series and secure its legacy.”
The series, which airs in 150 countries in more than 15 languages, is currently shooting its third season in New Zealand. It takes place as Spartacus' rebellion swells following the defeat of Roman commander Gaius Claudius Glaber.