Anthony Hopkins is our Roman Emperor in new Those About to Die teaser (Everything to know)

Peacock is reviving "sword and sandals" spectacle with the new series Those About to Die! Here's what to know about this fantastic new epic show!
THOSE ABOUT TO DIE -- Pictured: "Those About to Die" Key Art -- (Photo by: Peacock)
THOSE ABOUT TO DIE -- Pictured: "Those About to Die" Key Art -- (Photo by: Peacock) /

Get ready for the return of the sword-and-sandal spectacle to television! Peacock has unveiled the first teaser trailer for Those About to Die, its epic new take on Ancient Rome with a huge star as the Emperor! Here’s what to know about the series!

Way back in the 1980s, TV was dominated by networks doing epic mini-series events. Several of them were what were called “swords and sandals,” exploring the world of ancient Rome. They included A.D., The Last Days of Pompeii and more. Like many TV trends of the 1980s, this died out when the mini-series lost favor with audiences. 

The idea of ancient Rome for drama does remain with HBO’s Rome and Starz’s hit Spartacus series. Now, Peacock is trying to revive it with the new drama Those About to Die. 

What is Those About to Die about?

So far, Peacock is a bit tight-lipped on the main plotline other than it’s based on Daniel P. Mannix’s non-fiction book of the same name. It was developed by Robert Rodat and directed by Roland Emmerich (Godzilla) and Marco Kreuzpaintner (The Lazarus Project), two men known for spectacle.

The series is set in 70 AD, following Emperor Vespasian, who tries to bring stability to the Empire. This is also a time of gladiators, criminals, and politicians all vying to survive in their own ways. As the various characters mix together, they paint a unique view of a Rome that’s trying to lead the civilized world when corruption is at its heart. 

The trailer showcases all anyone expects of Rome, with gladiator battles, political rivalries, and steamy situations to show that love and combat aren’t much different in blood. 

"Based on Daniel P. Mannix’s nonfiction classic of the same name, the series stars Hopkins as Emperor Vespasian during the height of the Roman Empire. The epic drama is set in the corrupt world of the spectacle-driven gladiatorial competition, exploring a side of ancient Rome never before told — the dirty business of entertaining the masses, giving the mob what they want most…blood and sport. The series introduces an ensemble of characters from all corners of the Roman Empire who collide at the explosive intersection of sports, politics, and dynasties."


The big name of the cast is Anthony Hopkins, and the two-time Oscar-winning legend is well-cast as Vespasian. Tom Hughes plays his son and heir to the throne, with Dimitri Leonidas as Scorpus, a top charioteer. Iwan Rheon is Tenax, a ruthless crime boss, with Liraz Charhi as Berenice, queen of the conquered Judea, held captive in Rome. Gabriella Pession is Antonia, an aspiring ruthless politician, Rupert Penry-Jones is Marsus, a wealthy patrician and retired general who desires the throne and the rest of the cast of mostly European actors promise to showcase more of this wild time. 

  • Anthony Hopkins as Vespasian
  • Dimitri Leonidas as Scorpus
  • Jojo Macari as Domitian Flavianus
  • Gabriella Pession as Antonia
  • Iwan Rheon as Tenax
  • Sara Martins-Court as Cala
  • Moe Hashim as Kwame
  • David Wurawa as Gavros
  • Tom Hughes as Titus Flavianus
  • Lara Wolf as Berenice
  • Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson as Viggo
  • Rupert Penry-Jones as Marsus
  • Angeliqa Devi as Caltonia
  • Kyshan Wilson as Aura

The entire ten-episode series is due to premiere on Peacock on Thursday, July 18. While a larger trailer is expected to come, this peek is a great first look at how Peacock appears set to revive television’s fascination with ancient Rome. 

Those About to Die premieres Thursday, July 18 on Peacock.