Dustin Clare, Spartacus: Vengeance

Gannicus! Gannicus! Gannicus! The original Champion of Capua returns to Spartacus: Vengeance on Friday (10/9c, Starz), and like the last time he entered that arena, many will die. But will they perish at his hand?

It's been five years since he left a free man, no longer a gladiator for the House of Batiatus. "He's definitely matured," Dustin Clare, who plays Gannicus, tells TVGuide.com. "He's been a journeyman with the rolling sea and that pack on his back. Since philosophy was a big part of that period of time and men were challenging thinking, I'd like to think that he'd had experience with someone like that along his journey, with families, different cultures, different races."

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His altered appearance reflects the mishmash of cultures that he's encountered. "We really tried to incorporate that and worked quite closely with the costume designer, who really wanted to play with different textures, fabrics and metals," says Clare. "It was in terms of looking at maps and what cultures were in the vicinity of where he would have been at the time and different accoutrements he would have collected. We just wanted to see a man who's experienced a lot."

But don't expect a kinder, gentler or less debauched Gannicus. "I think his obvious weakness is alcohol," Clare says. "He uses it like he did in the past, to distract himself from realities, in the same way he's used sexual gratification."

And even though he's no longer required to enter the arena, Gannicus has kept in fighting form. "He does a lot of walking and sometimes he has to swim," Clare jokes, before clarifying, "It's not that he hasn't been fighting at all... I mean, he's the kind of guy who wouldn't back down from a fight."

Check out Gannicus prepping for his next fight in this promo for Friday's episode, "Libertus":

Somehow, Gannicus has become the Romans' chosen executioner of Spartacus' three captured men. And considering he once wronged his best friend Oenomaus (Peter Mensah) by sleeping with his wife Melitta (Marisa Ramirez), who later died, he should be trying to make it up to Oenomaus, not kill him. "It's a long time passing, but there's definitely going to be guilt there," Clare says. "The circumstances that bring him back to Capua, it's a calling, it's something he has to do to right wrongs in his past."

Allegiances will be uncertain this season. Although Gannicus is a former slave and gladiator, that doesn't mean he'll automatically side with Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) and the rebels. "He probably has stronger ideals than he did before and that is really where he clashes with Spartacus when they finally do meet," he says. "They have different ways of seeing what they feel is right and what they feel is just in the world. I don't think that either of them are wrong; they're just different opinions."

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Both men struggled to win their freedom. Spartacus overthrew the House of Batiatus in a bloody massacre, while Gannicus won the Primus and was awarded the rudis -- a wooden dagger etched with the names of the men he's defeated in the arena -- that represents his hard-earned status. "It's his ticket that he can show and prove his freedom," Clare explains. "It means a lot to him, and he keeps it close to him."

Spartacus: Vengeance airs on Fridays at 10/9c on Starz.

Are you glad Gannicus is back? Why do you think he's facing Oenomaus in the arena? Should Gannicus team up with Spartacus?