Dustin Clare joins the cast of Spartacus: Gods of the ArenaThe Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Starz is firming up the cast and story line for its Spartacus: Gods of the Arena prequel series. This is the spin-off show to Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

Three Australian actors have joined the cast. This includes Dustin Clare who will play Gannicus. He is the champion gladiator in the House of Batiatus before Spartacus.

Starz also has cast Jaime Murray (Dexter) in the role of a Capua social climber. Lastly, Marisa Ramirez (General Hospital) will be a slave girl.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield, who was out of action for several months when he was diagnosed with cancer, is going to make a brief appearance in the prequel show. According to doctors he can now return to work.

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena is going to start production on six episodes next month. It will then air in January. The second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand is going to begin production immediately after Spartacus: Gods of the Arena finishes production. It will air later in 2011.

In the prequel, Batiatus (John Hannah) isn't the head of his family "or of the gladiator training school. Gannicus is the lead gladiator in the Ludus, but the House of Batiatus hasn't earned social respect or the right for its gladiators to fight in championship bouts. Gannicus struggles to turn around the House's luck."