Gladiator 2: Release date speculation, cast and latest news
Paul Mescal is reportedly in negotiations to play the starring role.
A whopping 23 years after Sir Ridley Scott’s roman epic Gladiator was first released in 2000 and instantly became a huge hit, a sequel is officially on the way, with Scott reprising his role as the film’s director.
However, despite rumours swirling about a possible return, Russell Crowe will not be back for Paramount Pictures’ Gladiator 2.
Appearing recently on the Fitzy and Wippa podcast, Crowe was asked about his involvement in the sequel, to which he responded: "Yeah, we've had dinner and talked about it and all that stuff. So I know roughly how he's shaping the story."
He continued: "But yeah, if you remember, there was a young kid who wanted to beat the Gladiator, which leads to the 'My name is' speech. So that young kid has grown up, and he's now the Emperor."
Crowe went on to add that he doesn't "know what else happens at that point", though he did make clear that "it's not a remake and it's not a direct sequel. It's not like the day after, you know, 30 years later or something. And then the situation arises."
The original Gladiator was a massive hit at the box office, grossing $457 million worldwide receiving nominations for 11 Oscars, winning for Best Picture and Best Actor (Crowe).
The movie followed Maximus (Crowe), a legatus who was forced to become a slave after he was betrayed by Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), a power-crazed emperor behind the deaths of Maximus’s wife and child.
Fuelled by rage and grief, Maximum rose through the Colosseum’s gladiatorial contests, before emerging victorious against Commodus in a duel but succumbing to his injuries.
The movie was such a huge success that multiple attempts at a sequel have been made since, with numerous names attached to the project, including the writers of the original film, David Franzoni and John Logan, as well as new faces such as The Batman's Peter Craig, but the sequel has never materialised – until now...
But who could star in the sequel and what could it be about? Read on for everything you need to know.
Gladiator 2 release date speculation
An official release date for the sequel is yet to be confirmed, but it could be “ready” as early as 2024, The Sun reports, with filming set to kick off in May 2023.
A source told The Sun newspaper's Bizarre column: “This has been building since 2018 and for a long time it looked like it may never see the light of day.
“But suddenly late last year the production team really sprung into life after settling on a new script which seemed to inspire them.
“A few months later everything was up and running and now it’s well under way."
Gladiator 2 was greenlit by Paramount in November 2018, and in 2021, Scott confirmed to Collider that a script for Gladiator 2 was already completed saying: "Oh, it’s been written. It’s already been written.
"We have a good footprint, a good, logical place to go. You can't just do another Gladiator-type movie. You’ve got to follow... there are enough components from the first one to pick up the ball and continue it."
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Gladiator 2 cast: Will Paul Mescal star in the film?
The original film starred Russell Crowe in the lead role as the titular general, Maximus.
And while Crowe won't be returning, it was recently reported that Paul Mescal (Normal People, Aftersun) had been tapped to play the starring role in Gladiator 2.
While his involvement is not official, Deadline reported earlier in January that the actor was one of the first stars to meet with Scott for the role after the film’s script was finalised in November 2022.
The publication also reported that Mescal was "clearly Scott's top choice" for the role after their initial meeting, citing insider sources.
Fans of course will still be hoping that Crowe could make an appearance in flashbacks in the sequel as his character from the original epic.
Crowe previously approached singer-songwriter Nick Cave to write a script for a supernatural sequel that would have brought his character back from the dead through the body of a slain Christian martyr.
The unusual script was eventually rejected, but last year Scott said he had plans for Maximus to return.
“I know how to bring him back,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I was having this talk with the studio – ‘but he’s dead.’ But there is a way of bringing him back.
"Whether it will happen I don’t know. Gladiator was 2000, so Russell’s changed a little bit. He’s doing something right now but I’m trying to get him back down here.”
In addition, original cast members Spencer Treat Clark (Weird: The Al Yankovic Story), Connie Nielsen (Wonder Woman) and Djimon Hounsou (Black Adam, Shazam!) are all rumoured to return as Lucius, Lucilla and Maximus’s ally Juba, respectively.
Behind the camera, Scott will return to direct the sequel, and will be joined by screenwriter Peter Craig (The Batman, Top Gun: Maverick).
Gladiator 2 plot theories
Not much is known about the plot of the sequel, but it is reportedly set to revolve around Lucius Verus (Clark), the son of Roman Empress Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and the nephew of Commodus, who Maximus saved from his uncle in the first film.
Talking to HeyUGuys about the sequel back in 2019, producers Walter F Parkes and Laurie MacDonald revealed an intriguing new detail about the script.
“It picks up the story 30 years later… 25 years later," Parkes revealed.
Parkes’s comment about the Gladiator 2 timeline means the story would pick up with Lucius as a young adult.
Is there a trailer for the Gladiator sequel?
No, it's too early for a trailer yet, but keep an eye on this page.