The good news is that the Starz series Spartacus is not cancelled. The bad news is that this upcoming season – titled Spartacus: War of the Damned – will be its last.

Beginning new episodes in January 2013, War of the Damned will conclude the story of Spartacus that began in 2010 with Blood and Sand and ran through two additional seasons, Arenas (a prequel) and Vengeance.

“It was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for my partners and I,” series creator/executive producer Steven S. DeKnight said. “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.”

Spartacus has already defied odds lasting as long as four separate seasons. After Blood and Sand, Spartacus actor Andy Whitfield took a leave and later died of cancer. He was replaced by Liam McIntyre in the series that is executive produced by The Evil Dead’s Sam Raimi.

The final season will include returning cast members McIntyre (Spartacus), Manu Bennett (Crixus), Dustin Clare (Gannicus), Dan Feuerriegel (Agron), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Naevia) and Ellen Hollman (Saxa) as well as new additions Todd Lasance as Gaius Julius Caesar, Simon Merrells as Marcus Crassus and Anna Hutchison as Laeta.