Charioteer races at the colosseum in 'Those About to Die'

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble in ‘Those About To Die’

Ancient Rome has fascinated us and fueled our imaginations for centuries. We have held this mighty empire’s stories in high regard for over a thousand years. Now, we return to it with Peacock’s new epic historical drama, Those About to Die.

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The new TV series is Peacock’s answer to recent epic-scale productions like House of the Dragon and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, though this is set in a historical world rather than a fantasy one. The series is adapted from the 1958 novel of the same name written by Daniel P. Mannix, a novel which already inspired the Academy Award-winning film, Gladiator. It seems we will be treated to plenty of oiled-up muscular men this year since the sequel to Gladiator is also hitting theatres in the fall.

What’s ‘Those About to Die’ about?

The series will follow the lives of various characters in Ancient Rome, focusing on those who live and die in the newly built Colosseum. We enter the corrupt world of gladiatorial competition, overseen by Emperor Vespasian, played by the award-winning Anthony Hopkins, at the height of Rome’s power and might. In a city where the rich have everything they could ever desire and the masses must be placated, the only thing left to provide is entertainment, and that comes in the form of steel and blood.

Beyond entertainment, the bloody sporting games also present an opportunity for the plebians to rise up and pull the rich and powerful off their pedestals. The recently released trailer gives us a look at the sheer scale of the production, which reportedly has cost the streamer $140 million.

The series is being directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) and Marco Kreuzpaintner (The Collini Case) with the script written by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan).

When do we head to the Colosseum?

Production was reportedly underway early in 2023, with filming taking place in Rome’s large film studio Cinecittà. The series will release all ten episodes on Peacock on July 18 and will be made available for international audiences on Amazon Prime Video ten days later, on July 28.

Who will we meet there?

The series is very much an ensemble production and the cast is pretty stacked, especially with Hopkins serving front and center as Emperor Vespasian, a real historical figure. It would seem that Peacock has poached one of Game of Thrones‘ actors to add a little more oomph as Iwan Rheon takes on the role of Tenax.

Joining them is Jojo Macari (Sex Education) as Vespasian’s son Domitian Flavianus, Dimitri Leonidas (The Monuments Men) as famed Roman charioteer Scorpus, Sara Martins-Court (Death in Paradise) as Cala, Gabriella Pession (On the Brink) as Antonia, Moe Hashim (Ted Lasso) as Kwame, and Tom Hughes (The English) as Titus Flavianus, Vespasian’s oldest son. Other cast members include Johannes Johanneson, Rupert Penry-Jones, Emilio Sakraya, David Wurawa, Pepe Barroso, Gonçalo Almeida, Eneko Sagardoy, and Romana Maggiora Vergano.

We really have been spoiled with the sheer scale of the productions we have been receiving lately, and I am totally here for epic battles, scary beasts, sordid sex scenes, and plotting and machinations. Let the games begin!

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Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, having written for digital media since 2022 and has a keen interest in all things Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and takes the little free time left to explore Japan.