McIntyre is the new Spartacus

Whitfield was forced to quit the sequel to the hit series Spartacus: Blood & Sand in September (10) after learning his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma had returned – just months after doctors gave him the all-clear in June (10).

TV executives initially considered calling off the show due to Whitfield’s health setback, but then decided to recast the lead role of gladiator slave Spartacus.

Prison Break star Wentworth Miller was an early choice but now McIntyre has been announced as the new lead.

A statement from a spokesman at Starz – the U.S. cable network behind the gritty, violent show – reads, “Since no one can really replace Andy, we realised that we should instead find an actor who can truly lead Spartacus forward.”

Starz bosses insist Whitfield “endorsed” the idea of his part being recast.