‘Those About To Die’ Season 1: Everything To Know About Roland Emmerich’s Series About The ‘Dirty Business’ Of Ancient Rome

In a weird twist of 2024, Ancient Rome is alive in well at the movies and on TV. Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2 will revisit the world once traveled by Maximus and Commodus. The Boys has also thematically referenced Julius Caesar in its lead up to Amazon series’ fourth season. And now, there’s Roland Emmerich with a full-on TV series about the nitty-gritty of arena dominance.

That would be the same Roland Emmerich who destroyed cities and the world in movies like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow and who also likes to blow sh*t up almost as much as Michael Bay does. What can we expect from Emmerich taking the historical-epic route on television? He likely had a difficult time restraining himself while directing several episodes in an hour-long format, but he got the job done. Here’s what we can expect.



Russell Crowe’s infamous “Are you not entertained?” line from Gladiator will come to mind with this show, which portrays (as revealed in a new Entertainment Weekly feature) the “entertainment underbelly” of Ancient Rome. In particular, the real-life Flavian dynasty will take center stage with Anthony Hopkins as ruler Flavius Vespasian , whose sons — Titus (Tom Hughes), a military officer, and Domitian (Jojo Macari), a slimy politician — are at odds over who will eventually ascend to the leadership position.

As Hopkins told EW, Flavius took on his duties while attempting to save the Roman empire from its corruptive practices. He used “bread and circuses, he entertained the people.” From there, the dynasty “fortified a strong empire,” but oh, the brutality. Expect, as always, for Emmerich to spare no spectacle while directing several episodes in the first season in this series created by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan). From the synopsis:

Those About To Die is an epic drama 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 vast ensemble cast is headlined by Anthony Hopkins. Expect to also say hello (and possibly quick good-byes) to Tom Hughes, Jojo Macari, Moe Hashim, Johannes Haukur Johannesson, Rupert Penry-Jones, Iwan Rheon, Sara Martins, Gabriella Pession, Dimitri Leonidas, Gonçalo Almeida, Eneko Sagardoy, Romana Maggiora Vergano, Emilio Sakraya, David Wurawa, and Pepe Barroso.


Release Date

On July 18, Peacock will release all 10 episodes of the first season.


This teaser trailer previews the battles to come: