Andy Whitfield

Starz is "starting to explore ideas" to recast Andy Whitfield's titular role in Spartacus: Blood and Sand with the cancer-stricken star's blessing, a source told TVGuide.com.

Spartacus star Andy Whitfield leaves show after cancer recurrence

"Everything's kind of happened quickly and it's too early to say what we're doing definitively, but we're starting to explore ideas for recasting with Andy's involvement," the source said.

Whitfield dropped out of the epic drama's second season last week after doctors advised him to resume aggressive treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was originally diagnosed in March and had been in remission as recently as July.

Spartacus star diagnosed with cancer; production halted

The source said no decision has been made on the show's future yet. "We're still digesting everything since this happened a week ago, so we honestly don't know what's going to happen yet. Hopefully clouds will part and we'll have some clarity soon."

Spartacus six-part prequel to air on Starz in January

Spartacus halted production in March after Whitfield was initially diagnosed. Starz then produced a six-part prequel to give Whitfield time to recover before starting work on Season 2. The prequel will premiere in January as planned.