Denzel Washington Is Joining One Of The Most Anticipated Sequels Ever And We Can’t Wait

Denzel Washington is set to star in Ridley Scott's Gladiator 2.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Denzel Washington to star in gladiator 2

Denzel Washington remains one of the hottest actors in all of Hollywood (and we’re not just saying that because he starred in Man On Fire). And Ridley Scott remains one of Hollywood’s most gifted directors who seems to be focused primarily on prequels and sequels to his most famous franchises, directing both Prometheus and Alien: Covenant and serving as an executive producer on Blade Runner 2049. Now, it looks like Scott is back at it again: Deadline reports that the veteran director has cast Denzel Washington to star in the highly-anticipated Gladiator 2.

The same year the first Gladiator film came out, Washington was wowing audiences with his epic performance in Remember the Titans (which memorably also starred Ryan Gosling). At that point, he was an established Hollywood star, but it was the original 2000 Gladiator that transformed rising star Russel Crowe into one of the biggest names on the big screen. While Crowe will presumably not be in the new film, given his grisly fate in the original, we are excited to see what Denzel Washington will bring to the epic world of Gladiator 2

In the new film, it looks like Paul Mescal will effectively replace Russel Crowe’s character Maximus as our chief protagonist. He plays a character named Lucius, who was saved at a young age by Maximus, and that event helped shape him into the man he is today. Unfortunately, whatever role Denzel Washington plays in Gladiator 2 is still a closely-guarded secret.

While we don’t know who Denzel Washington will be playing in Gladiator 2, we know that he has a great track record with director Ridley Scott. Previously, Washington starred in American Gangster, an impressive movie for which the star was nominated for a Golden Globe. And, in the kind of weird coincidence that only Hollywood can give us, that 2007 film also starred Russel Crowe.

gladiator 2
Russell Crowe in Gladiator

Ridley Scott’s track record of success is reason enough that we are hyped to see Denzel Washington in Gladiator 2, but it’s also worth noting that the actor also had a strong working relationship with Tony Scott, Ridley’s late brother and fellow director. One of those films was Man On Fire, which is widely considered one of Washington’s most iconic movies. Before that, Washington starred in Crimson Tide, a movie that was nominated for three Academy Awards and, honestly, should have won all of those and a few more as well. 

Another simple reason to be hyped up about seeing Denzel Washington in Gladiator 2 is that he has been absolutely killing it on the big screen in recent years. He was dazzling in A24’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, and when he wasn’t busy taking Shakespearean gravitas to the next level, he was helping turn The Equalizer into a full-blown vigilante franchise (a third film is currently in post-production, and it will follow up on the events and character developments of 2018’s The Equalizer 2). We hope his future roles are just as jaw-dropped as his previous ones, but if they end up being duds, we’ll have to remember what he told us in the first of The Equalizer films: “you pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud, too.”