Australian actor Dustin Clare has landed one of the key roles in "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," Starz' upcoming gladiatorial prequel.
 
Starz has announced the Dustin Clare, an Australian actor known for roles on "McLeod's Daughter" and "Underbelly," will play Gannicus, the first gladiator to become Champion of Capua.
 
Gannicus is the lead role in the prequel, which takes place before Spartacus became a part of Batiatus' (John Hannah) ludus. In addition to Hannah, other stars returning for the prequel include Lucy Lawless, Peter Mensah and Manu Bennett. "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" star Andy Whitfield will appear "briefly" in the prequel and then will be back in full force for the official second season.
 
Also added to the "Gods of the Arena" cast is Jaime Murray, best known for a villainous turn on "Dexter," as Gaia, social climber friend to Lawless' Lucretia. Marisa Ramirez ("General Hospital") is also new to the cast, playing Melitta, a beautiful slave girl.
 
"Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," a six-part prequel, will begin production this August and will premiere on Starz early next year.