March 21, 2023

Everything We Know so Far About the Long Awaited Sequel

Few films can match the massive financial and critical success of Ridley Scott‘s period piece epic, Gladiator (2000). Just when you thought films about warriors in Ancient Rome reached their peak with movies like Ben-Hur (1959) and Spartacus (1960), in came Ridley Scott with a modern action spectacle that set a new bar for production design in filmmaking and featured revolutionary special effects. If the technical aspects weren’t already enough for the movie to make its mark on film history, Gladiator also came complete with a powerful and engaging plot.

As many probably know, Gladiator tells the historically fictitious story of Maximus (Russell Crowe) – a Roman general who becomes the victim of a coup by Caesar Marcus Aurelius’s own son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). Maximus is stripped of his rank and sentenced to be a slave in the fighting pits of Rome’s gladiatorial industry, all while Commodus orders the execution of Maximus’s wife and child. Fueled by vengeance over the slaying of his family, Maximus uses his combat training and military expertise to quickly rise through the ranks of Rome’s fiercest gladiators, eventually becoming a symbol of hope for Rome’s persecuted citizens before coming face to face with Emperor Commodus.


The result of the film’s impressive sense of scale, filmmaking prowess, and thrilling plot led to the film receiving nominations for 12 total Academy Awards, ultimately taking home five including the coveted Best Picture prize. Since then Gladiator is remembered as an acclaimed classic in the eyes of both critics and audiences. With the film’s final duel resulting in the death of Maximus, it seemed that the story of Gladiator was completely over and done with. As we’ve now learned, Ridley Scott still has plans for the story of Gladiator to continue.

Whispers and plans for a second Gladiator film have been circulating ever since the success of the original film, with Russell Crowe himself stating that conversations about a follow-up never truly ceased. Allegedly past ideas have included Gladiator 2 taking a page out of the bible and resurrecting Maximus as well as an idea for things to take an even more supernatural approach with Maximus engaging in gladiatorial combat against mythological foes in the Roman afterlife. As the long-awaited continuation is finally entering production, only time will tell if Gladiator 2 will stay true to its grounded roots or introduce more fantastical elements.

To learn all the details for the surprising sequel and when you can expect to enter the arena, here is everything we know so far about Gladiator 2.

Image via Universal Pictures

Related:Ridley Scott’s ‘I Am Legend’: What It Could Have Been and Why It Never Was

Does Gladiator 2 Have a Trailer Yet?

Pre-production on Gladiator 2 has only just begun. With its lead actor set, a tentative release date in place, and a screenplay completed, the highly anticipated sequel is prepped and ready to begin filming around late March 2023. Because of this, no footage or set photos exist at this time, so we’ll have to wait to see what’s in store for Ridley Scott’s mysterious continuation.

Will Gladiator 2 Be Released in Theaters or on Streaming?

Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus in Gladiator

The first Gladiator film grossed a whopping total of $503 million USD at the international box office, exactly quintupling its budget of $103 million USD. With numbers like that, it seems extremely unlikely that Gladiator 2 would even think of forgoing a theatrical release. Not to mention a spectacle like gladiatorial combat is surely something that patient fans would want to see on the big screen rather than on their computer. That being said, we wouldn’t rule out a streaming release, and given that the Gladiator intellectual property is owned by Paramount Pictures, it seems a release on Paramount+ would be fairly likely.

What Is the Release Date of Gladiator 2?

Get ready to be entertained by another trip to ancient Rome as Gladiator 2 officially arrives in theaters on Friday, November 22nd, 2024.

What Is the Plot of Gladiator 2?

Spencer Treat Clark and Joaquin Phoenix sitting side-by-side as Lucius and Commodus in Gladiator
Image via Paramount 

Explicit details on what’s in store for Gladiator 2‘s plot have not yet been revealed, but the recent casting of its lead actor does offer some clues on where the series will go after the conclusion of the first film. With the casting of recent Oscar-nominee Paul Mescal, the lead character will be someone we know from the original Gladiator. A key supporting character in the original movie’s storyline is Lucius (Spencer Treat Clark) – a young boy who is the nephew of the villainous Commodus and the son of Commodus’s sister, Lucilla (Connie Nielsen). Despite only meeting him a handful of times, Lucius quickly grew an admiration for Maximus as he became a hero in the eyes of the many spectators in the Coliseum. From that point on, Lucius decided he didn’t want to be the next in line for the Roman throne, but instead wanted to be a symbolically heroic gladiator like Maximus. When he witnessed Maximus and Commodus, seeing his brave sacrifice in the face of a maniacal ruler must have truly affected him.

Paul Mescal will be playing an all-grown-up version of Lucius, and if the word “gladiator” remains as part of the title, we can imagine that Lucius will have really taken after Maximus and decided to enter the fighting pits rather than become Caesar.

Who Is Making Gladiator 2?

Ridley Scott

Arguably the biggest star returning for Gladiator 2 is the man in the director’s chair, Ridley Scott. Scott is a prolific filmmaker who requires no introduction, with examples of his acclaimed directorial work including Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), Black Hawk Down (2001), The Martian (2015), and many more. Penning the screenplay for Gladiator 2 is David Scarpa, who previously collaborated with Scott as the writer for All the Money in the World (2017).

Other major crew members include other frequent collaborators of Scott’s, such as individuals who worked on the original Gladiator like production designer Arthur Max and costume designer Janty Yates, as well as Prometheus (2017) cinematographer Dariusz Wolski.

Related:Ridley Scott’s ‘Black Rain’ Is an Action-Packed Neo-Noir That Shouldn’t Be Forgotten

Who Is Starring in Gladiator 2?

A young man walking down a white hallway in Aftersun.

As mentioned above, the lead role of Lucius in Gladiator 2 will be Paul Mescal, who just recently received his first Academy Award nomination for his performance in Aftersun (2022). Mescal is also reportedly set to be joined by another 2023 Oscar nominee following news that Barry Keoghan is in talks to join the film, following his Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance in The Banshees of Inisherin (2022). Should Keoghan join the cast, reports suggest that Keoghan will be playing Emperor Geta, a real-life Roman Emperor who held control over the empire from 198 to 211. Whether this Emperor will be a villainous successor to Commodus remains to be seen.

While Keoghan’s casting isn’t set in stone just yet, a major actor confirmed to appear in Gladiator 2 with two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington. This marks the first time that Washington has starred in a Ridley Scott film in over fifteen years, having previously starred in American Gangster (2007). The character that Washington will be playing has not yet been revealed.

The rest of the cast has not yet been disclosed, be they new faces for the Gladiator series or returning members whose characters survived the previous film like Connie Nielsen and Djimon Hounsou.

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