It has been 20 years since Ridley Scott’s Gladiator carved its way onto the movie circuit. It has also been 20 years since of talk of making Gladiator 2 began. So, here we are, 20 years later, and it looks like we are still talking about a Gladiator 2. Only this time, the action movie’s sequel may actually be happening.
GLADIATOR 2 RELEASE DATE
Gladiator 2 does not have a release date yet. With director Ridley Scott creeping up in age, one would think the sooner the better.
The good news is that the movie has been officially announced, there is a screenwriter with a possible plot, and Scott continues to be attached as the director.
The bad news is, we’ve heard this story for about 20 years. Have we passed the time for a sequel to an amazing original movie? We have seen plenty of examples of sequels appearing long after the original, Hollywood has a funny way of making this happen. It’s time to make Gladiator 2 happen.
DIRECTORIUS AND WRITERUS
Ridley Scott has always been attached to Gladiator 2 and still is. But the prolific director of Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Black Hawk Down, and Alien is now 82 years old. To his credit, he has not stopped working. At the moment he is working on The Last Duel, a film written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he’d be able to tackle a second helping of Gladiator.
The original movie was written by David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson. Those three won’t be returning, as producers Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald announced when they confirmed a Gladiator 2 back in 2018. “We’re working with Ridley. That’s one we wouldn’t touch unless we felt in a way to do it was legitimate. We’re working with an amazing writer as well — Peter Craig.”
So, Craig, who also brought The Hunger Games novels to life, gets the task of bringing another huge swords and sandals movie to its long-waiting fans.
THE FOCUS OF GLADIATOR 2
What exactly could be the plot of Gladiator 2? Parkes gave a hint, “It picks up the story 30 years later…25 years later.” Well, that’s not a lot of information he dropped but the story is rumored to center around Lucius, who is the son of Lucilla, played by Connie Nielsen (Hippolyta in Wonder Woman). Lucilla is Maximus’ former lover and sister to Commodus. With the story picking up 25-30 years later, Lucius will be a grown man.
GLADIATOR 2 RETURNING CAST
Even though both Crowe’s and Phoenix’s characters died in Gladiator, you never know what the writers could have in store for Gladiator 2. Ridley Scott has been hinting that he’ll bring Maximus back. When asked about it Ridley Scott said: “I can bring him back. I know how to bring him back. I talked him into how I’m bringing him back. I use the [body] of a dying warrior as a portal that could bring somebody back.“
Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla could for sure return and probably would. She seems to be part of the process already. Nielsen offered this update on where Gladiator 2 is at to EW: “So, we did hear from the producers. I think it’s just a question of which film is coming first in Ridley’s very tight schedule. And then I think it’s a question of COVID and can we get back to work. But I would be interested in doing [the film], for sure. I mean, it’s obviously a wonderful project, so of course I would be interested.“
Another possible return could come from Djimon Hounsou (Shazam!). He played Juba, a Numidian tribesman, fellow gladiator, and eventual friend to Crowe’s Maximus, teaching him how to battle in the arena. Chances are Hounsou could return in a mentor role to Lucius.
Other than that, the field is wide open. If or when this movie goes into full production, it will be interesting to see what actor will be playing the lead role of Lucius. It will also be interesting to see how they have Lucius follow in Maximus’ footsteps as a gladiator.
THE FIRST MAXIMUS
Russell Crowe and company are credited with reviving the swords and sandals genre. The massive 2000 hit Gladiator was a wonderful example of brilliant storytelling, action, adventure, gore, and love. So of course there’s still interest in Gladiator 2.
It starred Crowe as Maximus, a General who has had many victories on the battlefield. He is on his way home after another impressive victory, intending to live a quiet life with his wife and son. Upon his return, Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who considers Maximus like a son, tells him that his own son Commodus (played brilliantly by Joaquin Phoenix), is unfit to rule. Aurelius’ wish is to have Maximus fill his shoes, save Roma and restore the Roman Empire.
Little do they know, Commodus hears this plan. Commodus then takes it into his own hands and kills his father. He then asks Maximus for his loyalty, which Maximus refuses. Maximus is arrested but is able to escape and get to his home, where he finds his wife and son murdered. Crowe’s adventure as Maximus then turns to slave, then to gladiator, then to revenge.