Ridley Scott, the director of Gladiator 2, discusses why the epic sequel took so long to come to fruition after the initial film. The 2000 epic film Gladiator was a major economic and critical triumph, becoming the year’s second highest-grossing picture after Mission: Impossible II. It gained widespread acclaim at the 73rd Academy Awards when it won Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe’s performance as the enslaved gladiator Maximus.
Scott discussed the 23-year gap between the first Gladiator and the sequel in an interview with Total Film magazine (via GamesRadar). Gladiator 2 didn’t have a solid script until the notion of focusing on Lucius (Paul Mescal), the son of Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla, occurred, according to the director.
What We Know So Far About Gladiator 2
While narrative specifics for Gladiator 2 are few, Scott indicated that the film will centre on Lucius’ path as an adult and will take place years after the events of the first edition. Maximus died in a confrontation with Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) to save Lucilla and Lucius in the original Gladiator finale. Spencer Treat Clark initially played Lucius in Gladiator, but Paul Mescal will take the role in Gladiator 2.
Some characters from the first Gladiator will be reprised in the sequel, including Nielsen’s Lucilla and Derek Jacobi’s Gracchus. Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Joseph Quinn, Fred Hechinger, Peter Mensah, Matt Lucas, and Moon Knight’s May Calamawy will all appear in the sequel, as will seasoned veterans and rising talents. Washington’s presence in the film will represent a reunion for him and Scott, who collaborated on 2007’s American Gangster.
Gladiator 2 also marks Scott’s return to partnership with screenwriter David Scarpa, who wrote the next Napoleon. John Mathieson, who won an Academy Award for the original Gladiator and is a longtime collaborator of Scott, returns as well as costume designer Janty Yates. The film’s production has been halted indefinitely owing to the SAG-AFTRA strike, although Gladiator 2 is still set to debut in November 2024, ending a two-decade wait.