Gladiator 2 Delayed Again, Will It Ever Happen?
Gladiator 2 has been delayed for two weeks over Paul Mescal's existing theater commitments.
Gladiator 2, the frequently-delayed, nearly-mythical sequel to Ridley Scott’s 2000 epic historical film Gladiator, has had its filming date pushed back two weeks. According to a report by Deadline, the producers of Gladiator 2 have agreed to delay the start of filming on the movie in order to accommodate star Paul Mescal’s commitment to an ongoing production of the classic Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire. The play (for which Mescal has been critically acclaimed) is moving to London’s West End, i.e., the big time, and will run through February.
Paul Mescal was announced to star in Gladiator 2 a few weeks ago, after Thor: Love and Thunder’s Chris Hemsworth was initially approached to lead the project. Mescal will play Lucius, the son of Connie Nielsen’s character Lucilla and nephew of the sadistic Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), who was portrayed as a child by Spencer Treat Clark in the first film. The plot of Gladiator 2 is being kept carefully under wraps, so it is unknown precisely what Paul Mescal will be doing in the movie, but it stands to reason that he will be involved in some gladiatorial contests and probably shout something memorable to an assembled bloodthirsty audience of Romans.
In most circumstances, a delay of two weeks might not be all that significant for a major film, particularly after Hollywood has seen hugely successful sequel projects like Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water be delayed over and over. However, Gladiator 2 has been in development for over 20 years at this point and pretty much any bump in the road seems like it could derail things. Ridley Scott has previously committed to working on Gladiator 2 after the conclusion of production on Napoleon, his latest film with Joaquin Phoenix, so hopefully it works out this time.
Development of Gladiator 2 began all the way back in 2001, when it became clear that the Russell Crowe film was an enormous critical and commercial success, eventually grossing over $500 million and winning five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. The sequel was initially announced as basically being about Lucius searching for the truth about his biological father (hinted to be Russell Crowe’s Maximus, which was apparently to be confirmed). Then Crowe got his ideas into the mix and suggested that Maximus be brought back to life and things got weird.
At one point, Australian musician/screenwriter Nick Cave was commissioned to write a script for Gladiator 2, which would involve Maximus being resurrected by the Roman gods to prevent the rise of Christianity, then killing his son Lucius, being cursed to live forever and fight in every war in history (much like X-Men Origins: Wolverine), and eventually ending up as an employee in the Pentagon. It is safe to assume whatever version of Gladiator 2 we eventually get, it will not be that one.
Hopefully, Gladiator 2 will not be delayed any more than two weeks and we finally get to see what has been brewing this whole time.