SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE Comic-Con 2011 Panel With Lucy Lawless and Liam McIntyre

SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE Comic-Con 2011

Steven DeKnight knows how to put on a freaking show.

The gods gathered once more to watch as the Sparty Party revved its gears up for another epic run of mutilation and titillation. And by the sound of the hugely vocal crowd stuffed into ballroom #6B—holy Maximus—they were entertained!

They led off with a mind-blowingly awesome preview of Spartacus: Vengeance. Cinema-quality stuff. This team just gets better and better at what they do. The action looks a-ma-zing. And when Lucy Lawless’s Lucretia drifted into frame, a dirt-streaked specter of her former self, eyes bugged out in either a state of semi-madness or extreme sleep deprivation (or both), the room went batshit.

She looks powerful already. Lucy Flawless as Lucretia: alive and unwell.

The lights came on and the panel filed in: Katrina Law (Mira), Manu Bennett (Crixus), Dustin Clare (Gannicus), Lawless, showrunner DeKnight… and the new Spartacus, humbly filling the shoes of the ailing Andy Whitfield—Liam McIntyre. They answered a truckload of questions, took the piss out of one another, and made a general Aussie/Kiwi party out of the thing.

Some highlights:

– McIntyre has been working on the series for many months now, but only met DeKnight yesterday. Odd! But one supposes DeKnight trusts in his casting people… and has probably been busy writing insane scripts.

– McIntyre has been getting into shape for the past 6 months because he was a “skinny stick” prior. The cast went out of its way to praise McIntyre’s dedication and his performance. McIntyre passed Katrina Law a dollar after she complimented his “passion skills” (apparently Spartacus and Mira get extremely hot and heavy this season). Law then stuffed the dollar bill into her bra.

– Yes, just like in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, we have both a Law and a Lawless in the cast!

– Lawless confirmed Lucretia lost the baby she was carrying. She calls Lucretia “Driven,” and said, “She looks a little off. She smells a little off.” Lawless also made more than a few references to a possible lesbian relationship Lucretia may be having with returning Illythia (the always supple Viva Bianca).

– Lawless talked about her love for playing intense characters in Sci-Fi and Fantasy: “I do it to experience a parallel existence without the consequences.” That drew a number or saucy looks, as well as whistles from the crowd. Lawless seemed to enjoy playing a seductress’ role with both the panel and the audience. She was on her game.

– Bennett remarked that he found it “curious” that (executive producer and Lawless’ husband) Rob Tapert has twice cast him in two series in which Bennett has to be in bed with his wife. (Manu Bennett also played Anthony to Lawless’ Cleopatra in one of Xena: Warrior Princess‘s strange alternate realities.)

– When asked about the return of Oenomaus (Peter Mensah), seen being whipped while chained to two pillars in the preview, Lawless said, “It’s so intriguing, who is whipping him… and why.”

– Ashur (Nick Tarabay) will also be returning, and with a vengeance; Lawless called his character, “Wild, laugh-out-loud brilliant.”

– DeKnight wants a yacht. He said this three times. He really wants a yacht.

– “Modesty socks and merkins.” I can’t say anything more about that here legally.

– The panel moderator asked DeKnight whether or not he felt HBO’s Game of Thrones was in competition with the Spartacus series. (Good question, thought I!) DeKnight replied that he’s a fan of ‘Thrones, and no, he did not feel as though it were a competition. McIntyre also said he watched, but thought Spartacus had a quicker body count.

This was a panel that was clearly happy with the vocal fan attention, and excited to continue their work. McIntyre has basically been welcomed with open arms by both the existing cast and the fans. McIntyre stated that Andy Whitfield gave his personal blessing to him taking the role, so there was good blood and good cheer in evidence. Near the end, McIntyre led a group audience shout of “I am Spartacus!” He seems very genuine, earnest, and even slightly dorky. I think the fans will embrace him.

One fan asked about Andy Whitfield’s health; DeKnight stated he had spoken to him recently, and his [cancer] treatment was ongoing, but the matter was private. No other questions were asked about health issues, but clearly Whitfield was on more than one person’s mind. DeKnight did state that Whitfield was eager to work with him again, “But without having to take his clothes off.”

They ended by showing the trailer again. If the crowd wasn’t already pumped for Spartacus: Vengeance, they sure as hell were by the time the lights came back on.

Looks like we’re in for another eye-popping season. Can’t bleeping wait. This needs to come now! Steven DeKnight needs a yacht, dammit!

If you too want a yacht, follow me on Twitter! That’s @Axechucker, Spartypants!