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Those About to Die: Everything to Know About Roland Emmerich's Gladiator Series on Peacock

Set against the backdrop of Ancient Rome, the new series debuts on Peacock Thursday, July 18.

By Josh Weiss

Hollywood's longtime resident master of disaster, Roland Emmerich, trades global cataclysms for gladiatorial combat in his forthcoming sword and sandals series, Those About to Die (all 10 episodes debut on Peacock July 18).

Drawing inspiration from Daniel Mannix's non-fiction book of the same name, the show was written by Robert Rodat, the Academy Award-nominated scribe behind Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. Two-time Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins headlines the ensemble cast as Vespasian, an aging Roman emperor in charge of giving the people what they want: brutal Colosseum carnage.

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"I have always been fascinated by the history of the Roman Empire," Emmerich said in April when the first teaser trailer premiered online. "So much still seems relevant for our society today — from the entanglement of politics and sports to the disciplines of the competitions, which haven’t changed much either over the last 2000 years. The most electrifying spectacles for the masses still involve two men in an arena, beating each other up, and the chariots of today are called race cars whose drivers still crash and often pay with their lives."

The show's title is derived from the famous Latin phrase (one oft-associated with gladiators about to lay their lives on the line), "Ave, Imperator: Morituri te salutant." If you're not well-versed in dead languages, don't fret, here's the English translation: “Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you."

What Is Those About to Die About?

Peacock describes Those About to Die as "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."

Who Stars in Those About to Die?

Those About to Die co-stars Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs), Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones), Sara Martins (Citadel), Tom Hughes (Infinite), Jojo Macari (Morbius), Moe Hashim (Ted Lasso), Johannes Haukur Johannesson (Vikings: Valhalla), Rupert Penry-Jones (The Batman), Gabriella Pession (Crossing Lines), Dimitri Leonidas (Centurion), Emilio Sakraya (One Night Off), David Wurawa (Project 2030), Pepe Barroso (Gran Turismo), Gonçalo Almeida (Monte Clérigo), Eneko Sagardoy (Irati), and Romana Maggiora Vergano (Cabrini).

Check Out All The First-Look Stills from Those About to Die

Vespasian on Those About To Die episode 101
Titus on Those About To Die episode 101
Kwame on Those About To Die episode 101
Fonsoa Andria on Those About To Die episode 101
Tenax on Those About To Die Episode101
Scorpus on Those About To Die Episode 101
Marcus and Antonia on Those About To Die 101
Cala on Those About To Die 101
Domitian on Those About To Die 101

When Does Those About to Die Premiere?

All 10, hour-long episodes of Those About to Die will premiere on Peacock Thursday, July 18.

RELATED: Those About to Die: First Look & Premiere Date for Anthony Hopkins' New Gladiator Series on Peacock

In addition to serving as an executive producer, Emmerich also directed five out of the 10 installments. Marco Kreuzpaintner helmed the remaining five. Harald Kloser and Gianni Nunnari, who developed the project with Emmerich, are executive producers with Stuart Ford, Lourdes Diaz, Miguel A. Palos Jr., Marco Kreuzpaintner, Robert Rodat, Herbert G. Kloiber, Martin Moszkowicz, Oliver Berben, Jonas Bauer, Charles Holland, and Namit Malhotra.