It seems that the epic of Spartacus is coming to an end after the forthcoming third season according to none other than series’ creator Steven S. DeKnight. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, DeKnight explained that it wasn’t costs, ratings, or even the untimely death of the series’ leading man that’s bringing the show to a close, it’s just simply time to wrap the story up:
“It’s a bit unheard of to end a show when it’s doing better than ever. It’s a bold move and we talked about it with Starz. How long do you run a show? Do you run it until you can squeeze every last bit of revenue out of it or do you end it on a high note? That was part of the decision to wrap up the show. The idea of ending the show when you’re on top and the audience still wants more instead of dragging it out until it starts to wane and you kind of limp to the finish line. I’ve always thought that five seasons was the perfect number; you’ve got enough time to tell a great story but there’s not so much real estate that you start to get a little flabby in the middle. This is ending a season early. Spartacus is a bit of an unusual duck. We’ve always had an ending—it’s written in history—so we knew where we were shooting for.
“My original thought was that this show could go five to seven seasons but we realized the actual history is very scattershot: the rebels went north, south, east, west, then back north, then broke apart, came back together. We thought, instead of repeating ourselves with one wave of Roman senators after another going after Spartacus, getting defeated, going after Spartacus, getting defeated, why not really condense the story. … It’s like The Princess Bride: cut out all the boring bits and just make the best, most rip-roaring-est tale we can to wrap up the series.”
The next season of Spartacus, “War of the Damned,” will premiere in January on Starz.